Listen with Your Eyes
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The blog of designer-maker Laura Thompson who specializes in fibre art, including art dolls, bowls, art journals and artful clothing.  Creativity, kindness, understanding and patience. 

 

 

Miniature Sugar Cookies & Moulded Fudge Dinosaurs

My daughter is getting married in a few weeks and I'm making the cake. It will have three round tiers of our family favorite carrot cake, using the tried and true Canadian Living recipe. There won't be any fondant or gooey icing because it's to be a naked cake. In case you're not familiar with naked cakes, they have minimal icing, somewhat like the crumb coat on traditional cakes, with lots of the cake itself peaking through. I'll be using a Swiss meringue buttercream instead of a cream cheese icing because I know it will remain firm and cream cheese may not. The decorations will beIt will be fresh flowers, sugar cookies, and at the request of the bride and groom, owls and dinosaurs (their long-time favorite animals).  

My daughter is getting married in a few weeks and I'm making the cake. It will have three round tiers of our family favorite carrot cake, using the tried and true Canadian Living recipe. There won't be any fondant or gooey icing because it's to be a naked cake. In case you're not familiar with naked cakes, they have minimal icing, somewhat like the crumb coat on traditional cakes, with lots of the cake itself peaking through. I'll be using a Swiss meringue buttercream instead of a cream cheese icing because I know it will remain firm and cream cheese may not. The decorations will beIt will be fresh flowers, sugar cookies, and at the request of the bride and groom, owls and dinosaurs (their long-time favorite animals).  

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.