I gazed around the aisle, praying to the Sugar Gods for inspiration that would justify purchasing a bag of baking bliss. My eyes rolled across the section of Cake Boss brand items and came to rest on the packaging for one of the uniquely shaped cake pans: Buddy had paused while piping string frosting on a cake to look at the camera. Piping string frosting on the cake…
A bag of milk chocolate dropped in my basket and I whispered a silent promise to return for the others.
The fun part of baking, other than taste testing and eating the fabulous results, is decorating. Cupcakes look a hell of a lot sexier with a little something-something to dress them up. The only problem is, once you've spent the better part of an hour baking and frosting you tend to run out of give-a-sh** about decorating. Slap on the store bought sprinkles and tell the cupcakes to piss off at that point.
This sucks since usually I bake because I want to decorate.
The answer: make the decorations whenever I feel like it and store them until I want to bake! What stores in the freezer better than chocolate??? Well, ice cubes, of course. Don't be a smart ass.
So out comes the sketch pad. As you recall: I am a passionate artist. A plethora of art supplies are at my disposal. I was tempted by my drafting markers; they were dusty and really wanted to come out to play. In hindsight, they knew what they were talking about and I should have listened. I chose, instead, a pencil. You'll see soon why this was a poor choice.
Let's start with something simple and easy, I thought. Nothing simpler than a heart!
So I drew out a concept, added some flair, then went so far as to design a slotted look down the center. The theory was: if a 2-dimensional heart is cool, a 3-dimensional heart is epic.
On to the chocolate! Build a quaint disposable piping bag out of parchment paper, snap the cap on the tip coupler, handful of chocolate pieces (which tasted freaking awesome, by the way; right up there with Dove) and pop that baby in the microwave. Well, this is easy! Squish the melted chocolate to the base of the piping bag, remove coupler lid and snap a nice little tip on.
I had taped a square of parchment paper over my sketch while microwaving chocolate. Now, I rested the tip of the piping bag against the parchment and began to squeeze the chocolate gently through the piping tip and along the lines of my design.
I was biting my lip the entire time as I discovered that parchment paper is not enough protective insulation to keep the melted chocolate from searing the palm of my hand. I would not be defeated, though; I took the burn and kept going like some psycho workout instructor!
My first attempt was a little squirrelly and uneven. This was to be expected. I had two more squares of parchment ready for attempts two and three. I chose to brush some silver petal dust on one completed heart; no reason, I just wanted to play with the petal dust. About 10 minutes on the counter to set then into the freezer to chill.
I was excited to find that the parchment paper separated quite easily from the chocolate. Just pick an edge and roll it back slowly;l the chocolate piece let it go like an old dress and stretched out in the still aching palm of my hand. When the first chocolate heart snapped in my fingers, I heard the drafting markers laughing from the office: the lines were far too thin. Also, the slot for fitting the two hearts together was far too narrow.
Too long since I did 3-Dimensional art I suppose. Next time, we’ll get it next time.
The silver-petal-dust-lining? Chocolate re-melts easily. I tossed the broken pieces into a ziplock bag and they await their next grand adventure!
All [creativity] is not lost...
Corissa has been an artist her entire life and attended the Art Institute for design after completing a Bachelor’s in Accounting from National American University. She validates the contradicting combination with “I love my art but I don’t have to starve for it.”
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