Miniature Sugar Cookies & Moulded Fudge Dinosaurs
I made dozens of tiny and very tiny heart shaped cookies using my favorite sugar cookie recipe. The larger ones are about 3/4" and the smaller 1/2". This, it turned out, was the easy part.
There will only be a few owls and dinosaurs on the cake and I felt they should be of a similar size AND not so big they'll overpower the cake. After lots of searching I found two candy moulds with which to experiment.
My first thought was to try sugar cookie dough. I pressed lumps of dough into the moulds and slid the back of a table knife across the top to even it off.
I cooled them in fridge for a few hours and they popped out of the mould with ease. So far they looked great. But, I know that cookie dough expands as it cooks, so I popped them into the freezer while the oven was heating up. I baked them according to the recipe (about 10 minutes at 375F).
Although they baked up easily, a lot of the detail was lost as the dough expanded while they baked. I set them aside and moved to plan B.
My second thought was to make sugar cubes. I mixed about 1 teaspoon of water in 1/2 cup of brown sugar until it was the consistency of sand, then pressed it into the moulds. After letting them rest in the moulds for several hours I removed them. The owls came out easily (although I'm not that happy with their appearance) and the dinosaurs just fell apart! On to plan C.
Soon-to-be son-in-law is a huge Nutella fan sooooooo, I found a simple recipe for Nutella fudge. I made a batch and instead of pouring it into a pan I pressed it into the moulds and scrapping off the excess with a knife (just like I did with the cookies dough). I put it into the fridge for 4 or 5 hours.
To my delight, they turned out beautifully! (They also taste great . . . gotta' love Nutella!)
After filling the moulds the first time, there was quite a bit of fudge left over. I spread it on a cutting mat and left it to cool while the first group was in the fridge. When the first batch was finished I started to clean up the leftover fudge and realized it was still very soft and pliable. I quickly filled the moulds a second time and put them back in the fridge. The second batch came out just nicely. Perseverance pays off!!
The hearts, owls and dinosaurs are now nicely tucked away in the freezer until they're needed to decorate the cake.