Swimming in the deep end of the kitchen without inflatables
The products of the day
So, my friend Jen and I, in our ultimate good judgment decided to make Petit Fours. These are really cute little cakes that are individual sized and very fancy, usually layered and filled with some type of jam or frosting and fondanted to make look like little presents or what have you. So, of course we decided that, even though we don’t often succeed in our baking, we could do this. No sweat, right?
Like I said, we have great judgment of our skills in the kitchen (insert unjustified overconfidence). Really what we want is to make things that look really pretty and taste really good. See, that shouldn’t be so hard, right? Um…well I guess if we had any idea of what we were doing we would do better but…usually we get good taste OR pretty but never both. And sometimes we get neither.
A little background since this is the first post that I am writing on this topic even though Jen and I have been baking for a few months. We started doing this because we were both interested in learning how to bake/cook things we don’t normally cook but couldn’t find any classes around here to attend. So we figured, it can’t be that hard, right? We will just teach ourselves. Oh, and watch Alton Brown for the occasional hint or tip. Pretty much the blind leading the blind.
Anyway, like I was saying, we decided to make petit fours. Click here if you would like to see how they should actually look when done correctly. These are not our petit fours. These are our petit fours.
Our petit fours...
And you will have to forgive me because I just decided to start writing about this so I didn’t take pictures throughout the whole process which would have been much more amusing for you for sure. I mean, we had stuff everywhere. I mean, I read all of the reviews of petit four recipes and read how much trouble and effort was other bakers put into theirs, the good and bad results, all the tips and hints and warnings not to acutally do this. And what did we decide to do? We did it anyway and still thought we would end up with something beautiful and tasty. Did we take other bakers (who probably have more time and experience than us) advice? No.
Anyway, I started out by making marshmallow fondant (all the advice I read about fondant out of the box says it tastes like sugary cardboard) on Thursday morning before I left for work. I couldn’t have taken pictures if I wanted to, I ended up with hands that the staypuff marshmallow man would have pined over. It was really sticky and gooey and awesome. Anyway, the fondant turned out okay. Jen was in charge of making the cake ahead of time and we froze it to get it to not be so moist. Then we cut it, things were going well. It was once we tried to frost it to put on the fondant that we started to realize that this might not be such a good idea.
It looks like a candy cube of some type
We got about 6 done in half and hour and I decided that we should sample the wares, especially since they were not looking the beautiful part, hopefully they would taste the delicious part. The taste wasn’t bad, it was just super duper sweet. Like instant sugar headache. We kind of gave up at this point, refusing to decorate the super sweet sugar clumps that we had created. My suggestion if you want to make petit fours is: go to a bakery and get professional ones. They look and taste much better.
So, what do we do? Emergency back up plan. We made cake pops. These turned out really good, they weren’t too sweet and it was a good way to use up the extra cake.
Well, they aren't super cute but...
Cake pops are pretty simple, you take leftover cake, add some melted butter and cream cheese and milk (we used soy milk) and mix it all together until it will stay in a ball. Make little balls and put them in the freezer to solidify them, then dip them in melted chocolate (or in our case white chocolate). The recipe calls for sucker sticks but we modified it to use pretzel sticks (mostly because we couldn’t find any sucker sticks at the last minute and we were struck by ingenuity or despiration or both). So, it all worked out really well but as usual we did not succeed in our plans to rule the baking world. Oh well, there is always next time.
It's the pretzels that make them gourmet
Written by Alouette