Christmas Pretzel Wreaths

I have this bright idea of decorating my Christmas tree with edible objects every year. I decided on pretzel wreaths this year – simple, effective and long-lasting.

Pretzel Wreaths

This isn’t a particularly original idea – I saw this on Pinterest a while ago but wanted to make my own and put my own spin on them. I used up my extra leaves and flowers from a different project and did some of the others with a variety of sprinkles.

Pretzel Wreaths

Ingredients and Materials

Chocolate, melted (read how I melt chocolate the easy way)
Mini pretzels
Waxed paper
Sprinkles or desired decorations
Ribbon

Method

Watch the YouTube video I made below:

And here they are on my Christmas tree! I thoroughly enjoyed the process and I hope you did as well!IMG_0550

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Halloween Gingerbread Tree


A while ago, I made some sugar diamonds for fun. I told my assistant that I didn’t know what to do with them and she suggested using them as leaves. And that was how this gingerbread tree came to being.

I decided to let a spider live in the tree, and his name is Alexander. Because I couldn’t think of any other names that rhymed with spider.

Halloween Gingerbread Tree

Gingerbread Tree

Ingredients and Equipment (for one tree)

Gingerbread Tree Template (click link to acquire)
70g butter
50g brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
150g plain flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (fan-forced).
  2. Cut tree template out and set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, melt butter, brown sugar and golden syrup together until it becomes a thick sauce. Add flour and ginger and mix until it forms a dough.
  4. Roll dough out immediately in between two non-stick baking sheets and place template on top of dough.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut the outline of the tree and remove all the surplus dough. Do not transfer tree cutout. The tree should be baked on the very same sheet it was cut on to reduce any distortion. Repeat with second tree template.
  6. Place baking sheet on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or until firm and slightly brown. Leave to cool before removing from tray.

Royal Icing

Ingredients

1 egg white (not all will be used)
100g icing sugar
Food colouring of choice

Method

  1. Add food colouring to icing sugar and using a teaspoon, gradually add a little egg white at a time while mixing until the desired consistency is achieved.

Ombre Sugar Diamonds

I will be doing a separate post on this later this week so stay tuned for that!

Chocolate Decorations

Gingerbread Tree Close Up

Equipment and Ingredients

25g dark chocolate, melted
5g white chocolate, melted
Black food colouring
Cocktail stick
Waxed paper

Method

  1. Pipe chocolate on waxed paper into the shape of a spider’s web. I did it free-hand but if you would prefer to have a template one is easily available by doing a Google Image Search.
  2. For the spider, pipe a round circle and then draw out 8 legs out from the body. Leave to set. Then, use white chocolate to pipe the eyes of the spider. Dip the tip of a cocktail stick into some black colouring and dot the eyes on.

Assembly

The video at the top of the page outlines the assembly of the tree. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!

Photography

Gingerbread Tree 5

I didn’t do anything special for the photography this time – just cardboard as the background and light coming from the right hand side of the image.

Settings

ISO:100
f: 2.8
Lens: 60mm 2.8f
Camera: Canon 7D
Exposure: 1/50 seconds
Temperature: 6000K

This was my very first Halloween project. In Australia, it isn’t a very big thing so nobody really goes all out but I have to say that I enjoyed it and might try to squeeze another one in before October ends. Maybe. Can’t believe it’s almost the end of the year!

Chocolate Butterfly Tutorial

Guess what? I finally bought myself a camera after years of sponging off my housemate!

To celebrate the fact that it can record HD videos, I decided to make a chocolate butterfly tutorial. I have actually made a template for it in a previous post (Butterfly Chocolate Tart) but I figured this time I’d actually do a tutorial on it as well! You can probably tell I am quite the amateur (half the video was out of focus… oops!) but hopefully they get better as I go along.

The chocolate cakes were tasty – soft on the inside with a slightly crunchy texture on the outside. The addition ganache made everything taste even better – it always does!

Recipe as follows:

Mini Butterfly Chocolate Cakes

Chocolate Sponge Cake

Ingredients (makes 6 small cakes)

1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup self raising flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter, melted
Cooking spray

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (fan-forced).
  2. Grease baking tin with cooking spray.
  3. Whisk egg and sugar together until light in colour and thickened in texture (3-5 minutes).
  4. Fold in flour and cocoa powder.
  5. Pour in butter and fold until incorporated.
  6. Place mixture into a piping bag and pipe into cupcake pan or mini bundt tins.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cakes spring back when pressed.

Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients

30g dark chocolate
50ml cream

Method

  1. Place chocolate and cream in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 20 seconds.
  2. Remove from microwave and stir. Repeat step 1 until mixture is smooth and shiny.

Chocolate Butterfly

For this project, you will need a Butterfly Template (click on link to acquire).

Tips on how to melt chocolate easily also available if required.

Video tutorial link at the top of this page.

Assembly

  1. Pour ganache over chocolate cakes.
  2. Place completed butterfly on cake.Chocolate Butterfly Tutorial

Photography

Chocolate Butterfly Photo Set UpAbove is my photography set up for this project. It was a frantic race against the sunset and I have to say the good news about that is that I’m forced to take a photograph – any photograph – instead of wasting half an hour rearranging various things. The background is a very well worn baking sheet, which you will all be familiar with by now. The light is coming in from the right hand side of the photograph.

Settings

Lens: 60mm 2.8f
ISO: 100
f: 2.8
Photo editing: Lightroom 4

I’m actually getting very sick of my props but I just have not had the time to go and acquire more!

Am hoping to make more video tutorials from now on so if you are interested in that sort of a thing, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I’m pretty excited about it all.

How To: Make Bumble Bees

I have finally gotten round to making a tutorial! A video would probably be better but for now sequential photos will have to do – I’m already very proud of the fact that I didn’t miss any crucial steps the way I usually do. Baby steps!

I have actually made these bees  before in the past (Bee Lime Tart) but never made an actual step by step thing on it. Anyway, here they are on my Daisy Bee Cupcakes! Please refer to my Daisy Tutorial if you are interested to learn how to make the flower too.

Bumble Bee Tutorial

Supplies required

Floral wire, medium gauge
Sugarpaste
Black edible ink pen
Yellow and black gel food colouring
Pink lustre dust
Cotton buds
Fine sable brush

Method

  1. Tint some sugarpaste with the yellow food colouring and roll into teardrop shapes approximately 1.5cm long.
  2. Wrap the floral wire around a pen or cylindrical object to shape it into a spiral.
  3. Dampen the end of the wire and insert into the sugarpaste teardrop shape. Leave for at least 12 hours to dry and firm up before moving onto the next stage.
  4. Using a black edible food pen or black food colouring and a brush, paint stripes onto the body of the bee.
  5. Pinch a very small amount of white sugarpaste and roll it in between your fingers. Use the tip of the brush to dampen the surface of the eye area of the body and then stick the white sugarpaste on.
  6. Roll some small amount of sugarpaste into a ball and flatten into a teardrop shape to form the wings. Dampen the top of the bee and place the wings on, making sure they take on a curved shape. Leave to dry.
  7. To finish the bee off, swab a very small amount of lustre dust onto the bee’s cheeks using a cotton bud. Then, using the black edible ink pen, draw in the features as desired.

The most fun part of this project is definitely the features as it gives the bees some character. It is not too difficult either, just a little time consuming due to the wait in between drying times. Hope some of you find it helpful!