Monday, August 24, 2009

Princess In A Punch Cup

It's almost time for back to school around these parts but not before just one more summer birthday bash! It's a fairytale theme for one of my favorite little princesses, adorable, squishable, kissable "Boo"! Boo's fairytale comes replete with Butterfly Petit Fours (check back soon to see them in all their glory) and pink and purple princess lollies!

For the record there are not made with actual chocolate. Merckens, the white and colored disks we used to make the lollies, is confectioners coating. What's the difference? F.D.A. specifications for chocolate say it must contain chocolate liquor and cocoa butter. While the Merckens wafer coatings contain neither of these ingredients they are good, creamy and most people won't know the difference. We've worked with several flavors and colors of Merckens over the past few months and have had great success with all of them!

I can't say I would make this the first chocolate mold a beginner should attempt. Why? Because this, at minimum, is a three color lollie which means getting down your chocolate painting technique in addition to melting and pouring. We also have to play with paramount crystals because some of the colored wafers were just took thick for such detailed work. Ultimately we did not use paintbrushes to fill in the colors. My partner in crime found that wooden kabob skewers actually worked better and he was able to drop the colors exactly where he wanted. He was also steady enough that he was able to drop all the areas of color without chilling until he was ready to pour but I wouldn't recommend doing it that way. I think slow and steady will win the race for most beginners. Melt and paint or drop one color at a time in your mold then chill before you move on to the next. Also, when choosing your colors, be mindful of how they will play off each other when layered. The lollies back filled with pink left the peach/skin tone unchanged. The lollies back filled with purple made her look like she had a tan. This wasn't a huge deal for this project but I could see it easily becoming one in others.

Another tip I can offer when you are making multiples is to package as they are done. The mold we had made 6 at a time so I had set up a foam holding area/wrapping station while the first batch was in the freezer. I picked up the bags and ribbon at Eatons at the same time I got everything else we needed for this project. Each one got bagged and tied with one of two colors of ribbon and nestled into their final destination which turned out to be a few vintage punch cups I had laying around. I had some opalized basket filler that I lined the cups with, dropped in a small block of Styrofoam, wrapped the long strands of basket filler over the top to hide the foam and then arranged the lollies in the cups. Hindsight being 20/20 and of course if this weren't another party on a budget I would have purchased large bags of pastel jellybeans or M&Ms to fill the cups with before sticking the lollies in. In any event everyone seemed thrilled with the final product and Boo got to have handmade lollies at her party!


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