Friday, 13 December 2013

Knowing About Fondant




WHAT IS FONDANT?

Fondant is one of several kinds of icing-like substances used to decorate or sculpt pastries or cakes. It is a creamy white sugar, a thick mass used in different forms for the purpose of confectionary and cake decorating.
In the culinary arts, the word fondant can refer to one of two types of sugar-based pastes: Rolled fondant used in preparing and decorating cakes, figures, covering cakes, pastries and confections. Poured fondant is a sweet, creamy paste that can be used as a filling or icing for pastries. 
Rolled fondant is almost like very sweet dough, made from powdered sugar, corn syrup and water, to which is also added glycerin and some sort of gelatin. 
For covering cakes we use rolled fondant as it leaves a perfectly smooth, satiny surface and is ready to use, hence the common product description ‘Ready to Roll’ or ‘RTR’. The fondant is rolled out flat into sheets which can then be colored and used to decorate cakes. Fondants are sometimes flavored and there are a variety of different brands. Vizyon White sugar paste, is one of the brand which is available in India.
You can purchase pre-made, ready-to-use fondant from a variety of sources: 
Wilton
Satin Ice
Fondarific
FondX
Or you can make your own from scratch:Rolled Fondant Recipe
Rolled Marshmallow Fondant Recipe


About Fondant/ Sugar Paste:

The first think you need to know is fondant dries out quickly, so you need to store it wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. I like to wrap mine in plastic wrap and then put it in a zip-top bag for extra protection against air exposure.




Working with fondant is very hands-on so you MUST wash your hands before you begin! Also, be careful what you wear. Any lint or hair particle on your shirt will show up in your fondant as you work. For this reason, knit tops and dark colors are usually avoided. Or just wear an apron!

When you first open your fondant, it won't have much elasticity. If you pull the fondant in opposite directions, it will just break as shown in the pictures below.






So you have to knead it for a while until it become stretchy and elastic.



Now, you're ready to work with it!

You can do so many things with fondant, including but not limited to:
Cover Cakes with Fondant
Decorate Cookies
Add Fondant Accents/Cut-Outs to Buttercream or Fondant Cakes
Make Fondant Bows , Make Fondant Pleats


For many of these applications, you'll need to roll the fondant out to a thin sheet. If you're just beginning, you may want to use Wilton's rolling pins with guide rings. On the rolling pin pictured below, the purple rings allow you to roll your fondant to 1/8 of an inch thick and the pink rings let you go all the way to 1/16 of an inch thick. Using these guide rings helps you get an even thickness throughout your fondant sheet and ensures that you get the thickness you're aiming for.

Before I begin rolling the fondant, I always "smoosh" it with my hand. Just flatten it a little so it's easier to roll.






And now you have a sheet of freshly rolled fondant to use for whatever your little heart desires!


IMPORTANT RULES: You will need to follow some very important rules when managing fondant icing.
  1. Your icing will dry out very quickly so it is important to work quickly to avoid your icing becoming cracked and difficult to use.
  2.    When you are not using your icing (even for a minute) put it in a plastic bag or covers it with vinyl to avoid it drying out.
  3.  If you have hot hands this will tend to make your icing sticky and then you will be tempted to over use corn flour that will dry your icing. Cool your hands under cold water and keep your corn flour to a light sprinkle.
  4. Weather will affect your fondant icing - humidity will make the icing sticky and very cold weather will make it as hard as rock. We often wait a day if we have bad fondant weather.
  5. NEVER EVER refrigerate your icing when it is on a cake. Fondant will sweat in the fridge. Once your cake is covered it is perfectly fine to store in a cool place (20 degrees) or in an air conditioned room. If you kept your fondant covered and decorated cake in the fridge, when you take out it will sweat,don’t touch on it. Keep in a cool place ( in a a/c room is best or underneath fan) untill all the sweat dries out.
  6. Your excess fondant icing is best stored in a sealed bag or container. 
  7.  Safety: Always work the icing in small amounts and try and get above your icing when you knead it on the bench. If you are short, get a stool so you can use your body weight to help you knead. If you try and knead large amounts of icing you will put undue pressure on your wrists and make your job very difficult.
  8. Never cover a cake straight from the fridge. To achieve a professional finish only cover cakes at room temperature.
  9.  Never use icing that is too dry or over kneaded. This will make the corners crack very easily.
  10. When making dark colours (such as red, black, brown, purple) make them the day before so the icing has time to relax and rest. Don’t keep the fondant in direct sunlight. Keep it in a cool place.

Covering Cakes with Rolled Fondant

Rolling Fondant
Kneading and rolling fondant is an important part of cake decorating. We use old-fashioned elbow grease and rolling pins to roll our fondant out to the perfect consistency and thickness. A clean, smooth surface is ideal for rolling.

Constantly add CORN FLOUR to your surface to ensure the fondant doesn’t stick, but only add this to the surface of the table, not the top of the fondant. The ideal thickness of fondant to cover a cake is 3mm, because let’s face it, no one wants a thick blanket of fondant to overpower the delicious cake inside. A pasta machine can be used to roll out even sheets of fondant if you are adding decorations and details to your covered cake.

TIP: Kneading icing is not like kneading dough. If you keep pummeling it will stick to the board and become unmanageable. Treat your icing a bit like play dough, keeping folding it in until it is smooth and warm to use but does not stick to the bench.






How do you cover a cake with fondant that's perfectly smooth, without wrinkles or air bubbles? The flexibility of fondant is your secret weapon. Just follow our instructions for the right ways to knead, roll out and lift the fondant, and you'll find that covering a cake is easy.
Steps


Step 1 Prepare cake by lightly covering with buttercream icing.
Step 2
Before rolling out fondant, knead it until it is a workable consistency. If fondant is sticky, knead in a little confectioners' sugar. Lightly dust your smooth work surface or the Roll & Cut Mat and your rolling pin with confectioners' sugar to prevent sticking. Roll out fondant sized to your cake. To keep fondant from sticking, lift and move as you roll. Add more confectioners' sugar if needed.
Step 3
Gently lift fondant over rolling pin or slip cake circle under fondant to move; position on cake.
Step 4
Shape fondant to sides of cake with Easy-Glide Smoother. We recommend using the Smoother because the pressure of your hands may leave impressions on the fondant. Beginning in the middle of the cake top, move the Smoother outward and down the sides to smooth and shape fondant to the cake and remove air bubbles. If an air bubble appears, insert a pin on an angle, release air and smooth the area again. Use the straight edge of the Smoother to mark fondant at the base of cake. Trim off excess fondant using a spatula or sharp knife.
Step 5
Your cake is now ready to decorate.

Please remember that practice makes perfect, by the time you have covered three cakes they will start to look better than most of the cakes you can buy commercially. Don’t be put off by a bumpy first attempt.

Tips for Covering a Cake Flawlessly


When I was first working with fondant, I found one of the hardest parts was actually covering the cake and having it look smooth. I struggled with pleats around the bottom, cracking and tearing fondant and corn starch or powdered sugar spots all over the fondant. 

I looked at pictures and instructions, watched youtube videos and read forums. While there is a lot of good information out there, I felt like there was a lack of good suggestion all in once place. I'm going to take you through the biggest tips and pointers for getting a nice finish so you can learn to cover your cake without pleating, tearing, holes, or any other frustrating issues that have you beating your head against the counter. This is good for those new to fondant as well, however, I will say that watching videos does help immensely so combine my information with some other videos.
 
Tip 1: Start with the right fondant
I originally used marshmallow fondant. While it's easy to make and I've seen other people achieve professional-looking results with it, I found it sticky and hard to work with and I had issues getting it the right consistency.

Tip 2: Get your icing as smooth as possible
The icing on your cake (under the fondant) should be as smooth as possible. I mostly work with buttercreams under my fondant which also provide a nice smooth surface. I use metal bench scraper and an icing spatula to get my buttercream smooth before I apply my fondant. 



Tip 3: Knead your fondant in pieces
I divide my fondant into several pieces to knead it. Then I zap each piece in the microwave for two 5-second increments to soften it slighty (no more than 5 seconds per zap or you'll melt it!) and then I work it on the counter. I keep the other chunks wrapped in plastic wrap so that they don't get dry and crusty while I work.




While I'm kneading each section, I add a dollop of shortening or margarine and a dollop of glycerin (use only edible glycerin, not the medical store one) to soften the fondant and make it smoother and more pliable. The shortening also helps the fondant to be less sticky. That way, you can use less corn starch (or powdered sugar) when you're rolling. Corn starch and powdered sugar leave white stuff everywhere and can dry out your fondant. 


Once you've gotten all the chunks kneaded individually, put them together and knead the fondant until it's warm, soft, smooth and pliable. Remember silly putty? It should be a lot like that in consistency. 


Tip 4: Put away the spray bottle
I had always read that you should spray the cake with water (after frosting) before putting the fondant on. This never worked properly for me. The coverage was always uneven, with some spots too wet and some too dry, and the fondant was always slipping around and gooey. What a mess! 

Then I watched someone apply piping gel with a pastry brush on youtube. Ding! I don't generally have piping gel on hand, but the pastry brush works perfectly. I generally use water with a small amount of tylose powder or CMC powder dissolved in it (which is what I use to adhere pieces of fondant or figures together when making my figures or applying them to the cake). But water works, too. The coverage is nice and even and you can apply it pretty thinly. It also helps do some final smoothing on your cake. Win!


Tip 5: Use your corn starch or powered sugar sparingly
Less is more. My preferred anti-stick is corn starch. Really, you don't need much corn starch to keep the fondant from sticking to your counter and rolling pin. I dust just a slight amount on my slightly flattened disc of fondant, rub it around, flip and do the same on the other side. Then I sprinkle a small amount around the countertop where I'll be rolling. 


As I roll, I put my hands under and all around the edges to make sure it isn't sticking to the counter. If need be, I sprinkle just a bit underneath and rotate the fondant slightly to distribute. 


Tip 6: Roll it out bigger than you think it needs to be


Measure your cake across the top and sides. Got that added up? Great, add another 2 inches to the dimension. So if you measured 10 inches across the top and your cake is 3 inches tall, that's 16 inches of cake total. Roll out the fondant to at least 18 inches. I actually like a little more. More fondant along the bottom means you have more to work with when it comes to lifting and smoothing around the bottom and less opportunity for pleating and folding along the bottom. 

When you're ready to put it onto the cake, roll the whole thing back onto your rolling pin. Don't try to lift it with your arms or your hands and put it onto the cake. You'll get more air bubbles if you try to do it like that. The rolling pin method allows you to roll it slowly over the top of the cake.



Tip 8: Secure the top edges first
Once you've rolled it onto the cake, secure all around the very top first. This will prevent the weight of the fondant from pulling away from the edge and tearing your fondant. The other thing that helps prevent fondant from tearing and breaking is the glycerine and shortening you added when you kneaded the fondant earlier as well as using a scant amount of corn starch (or powdered sugar). 


Tip 9: Lift up and in


Now you're going to work your way down from the top, smoothing out the fondant. Work your way around the cake, smoothing a half inch to an inch at a time all the way around, then keep going around until you get to the bottom. Sounds easy, no? This is the moment of truth. The trick? As you smooth with one hand, use your other hand to lift up the excess fondant on the bottom and push in towards the cake just slightly. It sounds completely counterintuitive, but just try it. Up and in. All that excess will help you with this. Keep lifting as you smooth down. 





Tip 10: Cut, smooth, cut

Once you've smoothed it all out with your hands all the way around, cut off all the excess with a pizza cutter or pastry cutter.


Then use a fondant smoother to smooth it all down. Push in and move it up and down all around the cake. You'll end up with a little bit more along the bottom edge. Use your cutting wheel to cut it again as close as you can to the bottom edge. 





Tip 11: Use a butter knife to get a clean edge
Are you always putting something around the bottom of your cake to hide that ragged edge? I take a butter knife and work my way around, using it to gently remove and/or tuck in any excess underneath and create a nice smooth edge. 



If there's still a lot you didn't get, use the pizza cutter again. If it's just a tiny bit stuck to the cake board, you can scrape it off the cake board with the butter knife. If there's some that is uneven, use the butter knife to press it gently up into the cake. 


That's it! Now you have a smooth cake with no folds or pleats and a nice clean edge along the bottom. Now you don't have to worry about positioning your decorations to cover up your mistakes!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Banana Nutella Toast Sandwitch !!!!



French toast makes a fabulous  morning treat for any Nutella lover. I made it with bananas but strawberries would be awesome, too. Or both!



One of our favorite go to breakfasts, or snacks, are nutella and banana sandwiches. I always have all of the ingredients on hand and if you combine that with, how yummy they are and how quick and easy they are to make. 



Nutella goes really well with a lot of fruits, though banana seems to be the one that I keep coming back to. We normally eat them in sandwich fashion with two slices of bread but an open faced sandwich, or toast, also works really well. I sometimes even butter them up and grill them so that they are nice and golden brown on the outside and the nutella is warm and melted on the inside. You could also easily turn it into french toast for something a bit different.



This is a wonderful and easiest toast sandwich to do and the tastiest one to eat. No one can resist the delicious taste of Nutella. The combination of banana, cinnamon and walnuts to Nutella,is soo Yummy... Recipe courtesy Pavithra Elangovan.

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat bread or white bread – 3 slices need for a sandwich
  • Banana Sliced
  • Nutella – to spread
  • Walnuts – chopped
  • Cinnamon powder – to sprinkle

Method:

Toast the bread with butter in low flame until nice brown colour. Apply nutella. Chop the walnuts and sprinkle on top of the nutella spread slice and close with another toasted bread, on top of that place sliced banana. Add few more chopped walnuts (if needed, optional) and sprinkle cinnamon powder. Apply nutella in another toasted bread. Close the sandwich, cut diagonally into two halves and serve.


This is great for breakfast or anytime snack.








Monday, 9 December 2013

Gulab Jamun




Gulab Jamun…. Oh my God! My mouth is already watering thinking of a hot hot gulab jamun melting in my mouth. Gulab Jamun is one of  my favorite sweet. 


This is a traditional Indian dessert. Spongy milky balls soaked in rose scented syrup. Delicious with fresh cream, ice cream etc. It is one common sweet for all occasions. Now a days, ready-made Gulab jamun mixtures are also available in the market, all you have to do is knead it, fry it, soak and gallop. The easiest way…. Isn’t it??




Gulab Jamun – the name itself tempts us very much right?  It is the most easiest sweet recipes that we can make for any occasions like birthdays, anniversaries or any celebration.
Here comes the method of making Gulab Jamuns:-

Ingredients:

·         Milk powder - 1/2 cup - I used non-fat instant milk powder
·         All purpose flour - 1/4 cup
·         Ghee - 1 tbsp
·         Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
·         Milk - 1/4 cup - more or less as needed to make the dough
·         For sugar syrup
·         Sugar - 1.25 - 1.5 cups - adjust to the desired sweetness
·         Water - 2 cups
·         Cardamom - 2 pods or use Rose White essence -1tsp

Method
1. If the milk powder is coarse, powder it finely using a coffee grinder or Indian mixie.
2. Take the milk powder, all purpose flour and baking soda in a bowl. Mix well.
3. Add ghee to it and mix well.
4. Add milk little by little and make a dough. The dough will be very sticky. Knead it for a few minutes.
5. Meanwhile, get the sugar syrup going by taking water, sugar and cardamom pods in a vessel. Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. Turn the stove off. I made sure the syrup was warm when the balls were added.
6. Form small balls from the dough. As long as the balls do not have open cracks we are good. Try to keep the balls as smooth as possible.
7. Heat oil and deep fry the balls. Add 5-6 balls at a time. The ball should stay in the base of the vessel for at least a minute before rising to the surface. Keep turning the balls to cook them evenly. It took around 5 - 6 minutes for a batch.
8. Drain the balls and allow to cool for a few minutes before adding to the sugar syrup.
9. Add the balls to the warm syrup and wait for at least an hour for the balls to absorb the syrup and swell up. Then they are ready to be eaten.

Notes
1. Temperature of the oil is very important. If it is too hot, the inside will not be cooked and the ball will brown very fast. The temperature is right when the ball that is added to the oil stays at the bottom for close to a minute before rising up to the surface.
2. Do not overcrowd the vessel. Each ball needs attention, so add 5 – 6 per batch.
3. Once it rises up, keep turning it to evenly cook on all sides. It took 5-6 minutes for each batch to cook. Do not try to speed it up and keep the heat low always.
4. Keep the sugar syrup warm when the balls are added to it.
5. Remember to make small balls from the dough because they will swell up during deep frying and further more after absorbing the sugar syrup.
6. Allow the balls to cool for a few minutes before adding to syrup.


This recipe is from cooksjoy.com




I enjoyed clicking this jamuns and excited too to post this recipe.







 This post is dedicated to all the jamun lovers . Enjoy it...




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