Easter Extravaganza Bark

I think it’s safe to say that treat-wise, Easter is my best-loved time of year. The endless chocolate, the bunnies of all shapes and sizes, pastel marshmallows, Peeps, candy-coated eggs, cream-filled eggs, pastel everything, sprinkles and more–all of the flavours and colours make me giddy. I’ve seen some pretty colourful Easter Candy Bark on Pinterest, but I decided to create my own version and go a little crazy with the toppings. There’s something so delightful about full, but small, peanut-butter filled bunnies, bunny marshmallow and peeps bound to swirls of Callebaut Dark Chocolate 53.8% along with Callebaut white chocolate, and then surrounded by a flurry of mini treats and sprinkles. I incorporated Rice Krispies into the bottom layer of the bark because those crispy chocolate bunnies were my favourite as a little girl, and I’d say even still.

And while I think it makes perfect sense to use leftover Easter candy, I can’t help but feel that this sort of treat is so much more appealing right before or during Easter time. I just feel that it’s kind of the last thing people want to see after a few days of indulging in all things Easter, you know? And since it takes almost no time at all, it’s a simple way to bring the unexpected to Easter celebrations without spending hours in the kitchen (you know, I’d never recommend that . . . ahem. #letsmaketoweringcakes).

I also think this would be such a great addition to any Easter basket–my girls’ eyes were as big as saucers when they came home and saw this Easter sugar explosion in the kitchen. And why not include your cakelets and make it an Easter weekend activity–you layer the chocolate, and let them do all of the toppings? Or even let them come shopping and decide what’s going to land upon the sea of chocolate bark themselves.

So when I decided to create this Easter Extravaganza Bark, I headed for the Easter section of Target for inspiration and to pick up an array of toppings, and then I tied that in with some of the sprinkles and sugar decorations I had here at home. I went with a few Marshmallow Peeps 60th Anniversary Vanilla Creme marshmallows (these are amazing, and I fear only around for a short time), Wilton Silhouette Bunny Icing DecorationsReese’s Easter Mini Peanut Butter Reester BunniesM&M’s White Chocolate Easter CandyCadbury Mini EggsDare Marshmallow Rabbits, and then just some white sugar pearls, pink nonpareils and jimmies.

Afterwards, I realized that I had wanted to use my all-time favourite Easter candy: Whoppers Easter Mini Robin Eggs. I love the speckled candy coating and I’m a Whopper (similar to Maltesers) fanatic. Forgetting to include them may have had something to do with the fact that the almost-empty bag was in my, um, purse. While I usually resist most candy on daily basis, I cannot resist anything malted-milk related. I’m going to make another batch and include those along with a few jelly beans and mini cream eggs. Oh yes.

When I make bark of any kind, I temper the chocolate. You’ll probably notice that in many bark recipes the instructions simply call for melting the chocolate and then storing the bark in the refrigerator. While this does work just fine, I tend to love to gift my bark, so I prefer to temper the chocolate first, which takes no extra time (when you do it the easy way, in the microwave) and gives the chocolate that gloss and snap we all love (I also much prefer to eat chocolate at room temperature). Once tempered, the bark can stay at room temperature and makes it a little prettier with its sheen and snap.

For the marbling, I tinted the Belgian white chocolate a pastel shade of teal (even pink or yellow would be amazing) using a bit of AmeriColor Flo-Coat mixed with AmeriColor turquoise gel paste (see Sweetapolita’s Notes), because while using colourful candy compound melts would be a fraction easier, I like to keep the quality of the bark the best it can be, since it’s all about the chocolate when it comes to bark. An alternative would be adding a few coloured candy melts to the white chocolate before melting/tempering for the same effect.

Since no two batches are ever the same, I’d love to see what Easter Extravaganza Bark creations you come up with! Share them on my Sweetapolita Facebook page or even send me a photo via email. I’d love to hear from you!

Easter Extravaganza Bark

Dark Belgian chocolate and Rice Krispie bark covered with swirled dark & white and topped with a medley of Easter chocolate, candy, sprinkles, marshmallows and more.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound plus 2 ounces (600 grams) best-quality dark chocolate, chopped or callets
  • 2 cups (50 grams) Rice Krispies (or other puffed rice cereal)
  • 6 ounces (180 grams) best-quality white chocolate, chopped or callets
  • About 8 turquoise candy melts (such as Wilton brand), chopped, OR few drops AmeriColor Sky Blue gel paste colour plus Flo-Coat (see Sweetapolita's Notes)
  • Variety of Easter candy (such as mini filled chocolate bunnies, marshmallow bunnies, white chocolate m & m candy, candy-coated mini eggs, Peeps, etc.)
  • Sprinkles of choice

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, heat 10 ounces (300 grams) of the dark chocolate in 20-second bursts, stirring well after each interval, until the chocolate is almost melted but still has some solid pieces. Stop heating and stir until smooth--this can take a few moments (see Sweetapolita's Notes). Stir in the rice cereal until combined, and use a small offset palette knife to spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet in a very thin layer. Let sit until slightly firm, about 30 minutes. In the meanwhile, prepare your candy toppings (unwrap foil-covered chocolate, etc.).
  3. Using the same tempering method, heat the remaining dark chocolate and stir until smooth. Spread the chocolate overtop of the first layer. Temper the white chocolate (this only takes about 50-60 seconds), including the candy melts if using. If using gel paste to colour, combine the Flo-Coat and gel paste in a small bowl and stir into the tempered white chocolate. Pour the tempered and tinted white chocolate into a few lines across the dark chocolate, and swirl with a toothpick.
  4. While the dark and white chocolate are still soft, add all of your candy toppings. Let sit until completely set, about 2 hours, and then cut into wedges using a large, sharp knife. Store at room temperature.
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Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • To learn about how to temper chocolate the “easy way,” in the microwave, check out these simple instructions from Callebaut. In addition to those steps, if you have a digital candy thermometer, just be sure that your dark chocolate never exceeds 32-33°C (90°F), and 30°C (86°F) for white or milk chocolate. If this does happen, simply add a handful of chocolate callets or chopped chocolate, and stir well to until smooth. Heat for a few seconds if necessary, but again not exceeding those ideal temperatures.
  • I use AmeriColor Flo-Coat when colouring white chocolate, which is a candy-oil used for making water-based gel-paste colours compatible with chocolate. If we add the gel-paste colours straight to the white chocolate, it causes it to seize. To use the Flo-Coat, mix 6 drops for every 1 drop of colour, and combine before adding to the tempered chocolate. For this recipe, I used 18 drops of Flo-Coat with 3 drops of AmeriColor Sky Blue gel paste. Alternatively, you can add a small handful of chopped coloured candy melts (such as Make & Mold or Wilton) to your white chocolate before melting, and that will tint your chocolate a pale turquoise.
  • As you’ve probably guessed, absolutely anything goes when it comes to what you add to this candy bark–jelly beans, malted milk eggs, mini creme eggs and so much more would be incredible additions!
  • Wrap a few slabs of bark in a crystal clear cellophane bag tied with some festive pastel ribbon for a whimsical addition to any Easter basket or for gifting.

Good luck & enjoy!

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Tuttiest Fruitiest Rocky Road Bars

Tuttiest Fruitiest Rocky Road Bars via Sweetapolita

Hello!

Guys, it’s been awhile since my last post, but I promise you I’m really not asleep over here. And it won’t be like this forever! Pinkie swear. Just a few more months of the crazy book recipe testing schedule, and then there will be a shift. (You might even get too much of me and my blog posts at that point, because I’ve adapted to very long hours of baking and writing, and now I can’t imagine it any other way.) Thank you so much for understanding and not forgetting about me. ♥

So this unusual recipe I made this week has been one pinned to my Pinterest board via Bistro Gerard for months–I forgot about it, but when I saw it there again the other day, I had to make it. For such a simple, no-bake treat, it’s a complete delight. With white chocolate, marshmallows, fruity jelly candy and dried cranberries, it’s definitely on the seriously sweet side of the rocky road, but the macadamia nuts and pistachios add the most addictive crunch (and salt) factor. Although it has a holiday appeal, it seems like an any-time-of-the-year confection to me. (However, if my annual July-birthday-pumpkin-pie-request is any indication, you may not be able to trust me–I’m a little backwards when it comes to seasonal desserts.)

I made only minor changes to the recipe, which was really just about the quantity of each ingredient. It’s one of those recipes, though, that you could really add anything and everything that appeals to you. I could see coconut, almonds and pretty much any dried fruit or nut, making a really summery version. The jelly fruit slices aren’t something I would ever eat on their own (they’re lovely, I just save those calories for bigger desserts), but it made me happy slicing these up for a recipe. They definitely add to the almost Willy Wonka-ness that I feel when I look at these bars. Like something you would eat in a magical land of confection.

I found that by using a good quality white chocolate, it really gives these a rich decadence that a lesser quality white chocolate might not give (think waxy versus creamy). It does take a pound of white chocolate, and along with the pistachios and macadamia nuts, it’s not the most inexpensive treat you can make, but they are special and unique. And I can’t get over how quick, easy and rewarding it is to make rocky road recipes! A welcomed change from the ever-baking-cake-junkie. And it’s always awesome when my little cakelets can help out with a recipe. They loved removing the shells from the pistachios, weighing out the ingredients, choosing the colours of the jelly candies, and helping to stir the concoction once everything was added to the bowl. I think it still mystifies them when we make a dessert that transforms into something wonderful by simply placing it in the fridge. As though we missed a very important bake-it-in-the-magic-oven step.

So now that I’m rapidly gaining what I’ve affectionately called “book-baby weight,” I’m sitting here staring at these, trying to figure out how many *not* to eat. Help!

Tuttiest Fruitiest Rocky Road Bars

Yield: 12 medium-sized bars

Colorful and decadent white chocolate rocky road bars filled with fruity marshmallows, fruity jelly candy, macadamia nuts, dried cranberries and pistachios.

Ingredients

  • 454 grams best-quality white chocolate, chopped (I used Callebaut White Callets )
  • 3 cups (150 g) mini coloured marshmallows
  • 150 g jelly fruit candy (about 10 jelly fruit slices), cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • Scant 1/2 cup (50 g) dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) shelled pistachios, roasted

Instructions

  1. Spray an 8 x 8 square pan with cooking spray, and then line with parchment paper, leaving a few inches overhang on two sides.
  2. In a large bowl, gently toss the 2-1/2 cups of the marshmallows, fruit candy pieces, macadamia nuts, cranberries and pistachios.
  3. In a heatproof bowl, melt the white chocolate in the microwave, in 30-second increments, or over a pot of barely simmering water on the stovetop. Pour the melted chocolate over the marshmallow mixture and mix until everything is coated in chocolate. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly using a small offset spatula. Place the remaining marshmallows randomly on top of the bars, pressing each one down gently to secure.
  4. Chill for at least one hour. Remove from pan by lifting excess parchment paper, and place onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 rectangles. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

Slightly adapted from Bistro Gerard

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Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • Since white chocolate is the “glue” keeping all of this colourful awesomeness together, try to use the best white chocolate you can find. It will give the bars a noticeable decadence and creaminess. I used Callebeaut White Chocolate Callets (I also love that it’s in callet/chip form–so easy to melt).
  • You can use any fruit-flavoured jelly candy you like. I used Pizazz Fruit Jelly Slices (found at Bulk Barn, for my fellow Canadian friends)–they’re just so pretty! They’re very similar to these Fruit Slices, made in the USA.
  • I used an 8 x 8″ cake pan, but of course you can use any size you have. The larger the pan, the thinner the bars will be; the smaller the pan, the thicker the bars will be (you get the idea).
  • If you can’t find certain ingredients or want to use what you have on hand, I could safely bet that any nut and dried fruit combination would work beautifully in this recipe. Have fun and experiment!

Good luck & enjoy!

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Pastel Meringue Nests

Pastel Meringue Nests via Sweetapolita

I’m not sure what it is about meringue, but it has this sort of ethereal and angelic quality to it that makes it one of the most special treats you can make. It’s hard to imagine that a simple whipping of egg whites and sugar can yield something so versatile, so delightfully tasty and so lovely.

A quick few swirls from a pastry bag and you can have the sweetest little nests that, once baked, can be filled with anything from fruit and frosting to curds and creams. I also love that its snow-white “colour” is the perfect starting point for achieving any possible shade you wish (a frequent obstacle us cakers face when we want to colour buttercreams and the like ). As a lover of clean pastel shades, tinting meringue is a dream.

Pastel Meringue Nests via Sweetapolita

I tinted these with a drop of turquoise gel paste and piped them using a large swirl tip, Ateco #887, for a kind of oversized swirled nest effect. While they baked I created some fondant feathers using a silicone feather mold I bought awhile back at my local cake decorating supply shop — I’ve been dying to use this thing! I used the mold and then use a sharp paring knife to give the edges some small slices and imperfections (the key to creating something organic and realistic).

Pastel Meringue Nests via Sweetapolita

I filled the nests with a generous swirl of Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and then adorned them with a single fondant feather. You could also add in some fresh berries, or curd (one way to use up all of the leftover yolks!), or anything at all really. Either way, these are a truly sweet and special treat for little ones — my cakelets not only love when I make meringue (Reese loves it straight from the bowl soft and billowy, and Neve loves it anyway at all), but they were enchanted by the process of making both the feathers and nests.

Pastel Meringue Nests via Sweetapolita

The girls’ eyes lit up when they saw the finished treat  all put together and ready for their tea party. Do you think they’ll still want me to bake them tea party treats when they’re grown and on their own? I hope so.

I wanted to the feathers to be thin and delicate, yet I also wanted them to taste good, so rather than using gumpaste, which we’d typically use for something so thin, I just added some Tylose powder to my fondant before rolling out. I do this often when I want to strengthen my fondant for decorations, but don’t want to use gumpaste. (As you’ve likely discovered, gumpaste may be super strong and dry like pure porcelain, but it doesn’t taste yummy. At all.) Once dry, I gave the feathers a little paint with bright white soft gel colour.

Pastel Meringue Nests via Sweetapolita

Fairy-princess approved. ♥

Pastel Meringue Nests

Yield: ~14 x 3-inch round nests

Sweet, glossy and crisp nests of meringue ready for filling with your favourite buttercream, curd, fruit and more.

Ingredients

  • 5 egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1-1/4 cup (250 g) superfine (caster) sugar
  • Drop of food gel colour of choice
  • You will also need:
  • 2 baking sheets
  • parchment paper
  • 1 large (18-inch) pastry bag
  • 1 large pastry tip of your choice

Instructions

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to lowest temperature (for my oven this is 175°F).
  2. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer and the whisk attachment with a lemon-juice-dampened paper towel to remove all traces of grease. Separate your eggs (best done when cold) and add the 5 egg whites into the bowl. If you get any yolk into the mixing bowl, remove all contents and begin again. Leave bowl on counter until they come to room temperature, or place bowl in sink filled with enough warm water to surround the egg whites for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Once egg whites are room temperature (warm is best), place bowl back on mixer and fit with whisk attachment. Mix on low speed until egg whites become frothy, about 1 minute, and add cream of tartar.
  4. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually add all of the sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. You should be able to hold the bowl upside down over your head with no meringue falling out. Add gel colour and beat until combined.
  5. Fit the pastry bag with the large tip (I used Ateco #887) and pipe 3-inch (apprx.) circle, working from the middle outwards, followed by three full rings atop one another around the perimeter of the nest. Pipe 7 nests per baking sheet, placing a few inches apart.
  6. Bake both trays in oven until completely dry and crisp, but not browned, about 90 minutes (this can take much longer, depending on your environment). Nests should lift from parchment with ease. Turn off oven and leave nests inside until oven has cooled, then remove nests from oven.
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Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Yield: ~ 5 cups of buttercream

A decadent, rich and not-so-sweet buttercream perfect for frosting and filling cakes, cupcakes and baked meringues.

Ingredients

  • 5 large fresh egg whites
  • 1-1/4 cup (250 g) granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups (340 g) (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
  • 1 teaspoons (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeded and scraped
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160°F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
  2. Place bowl back on mixer and fit with whisk attachment. Whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 mins, or longer). Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth).
  3. Add vanilla, vanilla bean seeds and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
  4. Serve at room temperature.

Notes

Keep in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 7 days, or freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature. To get buttercream back to its satiny state after chilling, microwave about 1/3 of it in a microwave-safe bowl for about 10 seconds (until very soft) and then add back to remaining buttercream and beat for a few minutes until fluffy and soft.

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Filled Pastel Meringue Nests & Feathers

Yield: ~14 x 3-inch round filled and feathered nests

Ingredients

  • 1 batch Pastel Meringue Nests
  • 1 batch Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • Vanilla Fondant (about size of tennis ball)
  • Tylose powder
  • Confectioners' sugar or cornstarch for rolling fondant
  • Bright White soft gel paste, optional
  • You will also need:
  • A small rolling pin
  • small sharp knife
  • silicon feather mold, small

Instructions

    To make the fondant feathers:
  1. Press fondant until flattened and sprinkle with tylose powder, kneading in to incorporate.
  2. Roll small piece of fondant (placing extra fondant in small sealed bag) on a confectioners'-sugar-dusted surface until about 1/16 (I use the pink guides on the small Wilton rolling pin). Place one half of the feather mold onto the fondant and cut around the outline of the mold, about 1/2" bigger than the mold. Line up the other half of the mold, sandwiching the fondant in between by gently pressing straight down. Remove the top mold, and carefully remove the fondant feather, placing back on dusted surface. Use sharp paring knife or craft blade to trim excess fondant and to create some tiny slices along the edges for a realistic look. Let dry on crumpled paper towel, shaping them slightly to dry the way you want them (slightly curved, etc).
  3. Once dry, you can carefully paint them with a small paint brush and bright white gel color paste, if desired. Let dry completely. Dried feathers are fragile, so treat with care.
  4. To assemble the meringue nests:
  5. Fit a pastry bag with a large plain round tip and fill bag 2/3 full with buttercream. Fill each meringue nest until buttercream comes just above top of nest and top with fondant feather.
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Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • The “superfine” sugar I listed is also known as caster/castor sugar. It’s simply granulated sugar that is more fine and dissolves nicely into the meringue. I use regular sugar (vanilla sugar that I keep in the canister) and pulse it through the food processor a few times. Voila!
  • For the nests in the photos I used Americolor Turquoise  soft gel paste and piped them with the Ateco #887 pastry tip.
  • I bought my feather molds here – it comes with two sizes included and you can order it online.
  • You can add Tylose Powder to fondant to make it stronger for delicate decorations. (This will also result in a quicker drying decoration). Simply sprinkle a thin layer over your rolled piece of fondant, then knead in until blended. I use Satin Ice Fondant.
  • I use the Wilton Fondant 9 Inch Rolling Pin with the pink guides to roll even and thin rounds of fondant to use with the feather mold.
  • You can keep unfilled nests in an airtight container for about a week, and filled nests can stay at room temperature for about 1 day. Always serve Swiss Meringue Buttercream at room temperature (or it will feel and taste as though you’re eating cold butter–eew!).

Good luck & enjoy!

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Winter White Party Spoons

Hello, hello! I truly hope that you had an incredible holiday, and that you’re ready for the New Year. I have a feeling 2013 is going to be one crazy year. Don’t you?

On a side-note, I should tell you that I was kind of heartbroken that I had to skip the last post I had planned to share. For weeks I’d been planning a super-festive winter layer cake, and hoped to post it early last week. It took me a few days (yep, it was one of those) by the time I created all of the components, and then the craziest thing happened: as I frosted it on the cake pedestal, it somehow slipped away from me, cake pedestal and all, and BANG! landed in the kitchen sink. The one time I decide to frost it with nothing gripping it underneath — whoops. I’m no stranger to cake 911′s (trust me), but this one simply couldn’t be rescued. (You can see an Instagram of the tragedy here.) I’ll likely dial-down on the Christmas-ness of it and make it again to post soon.

So since it’s already New Year’s Eve, I thought I would share a sweet and simple treat that can literally be made in minutes. You might remember the Sprinkled Chocolate Party Spoons I made awhile back? They remain one of my favourite last-minute confections, and these are simply a super-wintery monochromatic version. Add a few touches of gold to the mix and they become fancy enough for New Year’s Eve, which is kind of nutty considering how simple they are to make.

You simply melt down some premium white chocolate, carefully drop a spoonful into each plastic spoon then sprinkle with any edible white, pearl, ivory or gold adornment you can find. They’re so easy that I almost feel kind of silly posting them, but if you’re like me sometimes last-minute ideas save the day. Oh, and I should tell you that if you add non-toxic glitter or other gilded touches, the spoons look even more twinkly and magical under indoor lighting than these photos appear — they sparkle like mad. You can serve them at parties (and yes, sitting at home in your new pajamas watching tv does count as a party, or at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself for the past 5 years) at midnight with champagne for a sweet way to bring in the new year, or simply have them peppered around the room tempting guests with a wintery nibble throughout the night.

I’ll be back in just a few days (no more blogging vacations for this girl for awhile) with a special confection that I can’t wait to share.

Happy New Year, friends. If you only knew how much I love having you in my world. ♥

Winter White Chocolate Party Spoons

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. (180 g) quality white chocolate, chopped
  • white or pearl sprinkles, white jelly beans, gold dragees, gold disco dust, any other small confection of choice
  • You will Also Need:
  • 24 white plastic spoons
  • cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  • some spatulas (or a book) for resting party spoons while filling

Instructions

  1. Place your plastic spoons on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, resting the spoon handles on a rubber spatula or book, to level them out while filling.
  2. Melt chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave (or in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stove), by warming for 20 second intervals and stirring in between. When the chocolate is almost (80%) completely melted, remove from the microwave and keep stirring until the last few pieces are completely melted and the chocolate is smooth.
  3. Spoon melted chocolate into your plastic spoons, about 80% full (the sprinkles and candies will fill the rest)--any more than that, and they will likely overflow (trust me, it happened to me).
  4. Add your sprinkles, candies and more. Place cookie sheet in refrigerator for about 20 minutes to set.
  5. Party Spoons can be stored covered at room temperature, just as you would store solid chocolate.
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Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • I used plain white plastic spoons — it’s almost shameful that something so lack-luster could be used for a fancy confection!
  • For the spoons in the photos, I used pearlized jimmies, white sanding sugar, gold dragees and 24 karat disco dust.
  • For a cakelet-friendly experience, have kids do the sprinkling!

Good luck & enjoy!

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Whimsical Pastel Swirl Cotton Candy Apples

So I lied. This recipe isn’t really spooky at all! I had serious intentions of making a super-eery Halloween-inspired confection, but here’s the thing: in my world, Halloween isn’t necessarily filled with orange, black, witches and ghosts, but rather two small girly cakelets masquerading as fairies and quirky princesses with ensembles slightly askew. When I was reflecting on what I find most spooky (and yet most enchanting), my mind kept wandering to the world of the vintage carnival–the world of strange whimsy and a balance of mad and wonderful. (This is actually one of several sweets I envisioned, so I hope to share a few more.) For the swirly effect, I looked to one of my favourite colour-schemes found in the Pastel Swirl Cake I shared this past summer. Much like with the cake technique, I love that each apple becomes a one-of-a-kind, and that you can create a completely different look by simply using different colours.

A Pastel Swirl Cotton Candy Apple is an almost-traditional candy apple in the sense that it’s a fresh apple on a stick, dipped and coated in a sugar mixture that’s brought to the hard-crack stage. The difference is that, in this case, we play with flavour by adding a cotton candy flavoured oil, and colour by whitening the coating and then adding a few drops of other colours to create a swirl effect. Top that with a generous array of actual cotton candy and sprinkles, and whimsy prevails.

It’s almost hard to imagine that under all of that shiny pastel coating and feathery cotton candy fluff, there sits these innocent green apples. Tart, crisp, healthy and unsuspecting 80-calorie-apples. Muahahahahaha. Now, there are a bazillion candy apple recipes out there, but for the candy coating I used that of my dear friend, Heather. In her incredible first book, SprinkleBakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire Your Inner Artist, she shares a recipe for the most stunning and elegant Snow Apples (pure white candy apples with swirly sticks and white glitter!), so I followed her steps for creating the candy coating. It worked like a dream. You might remember my talking about her book back when I used her fabulous French macaron recipe for my Lemon-Blueberry Macaron Delight Cake. Her recipes never let me down.

And what every Whimsical Pastel Swirl Cotton Candy Apple maker needs is their own fairy assistant. I just recommend the fairies tend to their fairy business while the hot candy apple coating process is underway. This particular cakelet-fairy was in charge cotton candy quality control, and assisting with adorning the coated apples with the finishing touches. I’ve been kind of obsessed with cotton candy for most of my life, likely for the same reason most people are. It’s as beautiful as it is sugary-awesome, and it’s a rare indulgence. I recently bought this amazing Candy Cotton Candy Maker, which is a whole other adventure, but for this recipe I bought a small tub of store-bought cotton candy. I found that the store-bought variation lasts a little bit longer atop the apples than homemade before it starts to break down and dissolve. I find that if you add the cotton candy within an hour of serving, it holds up relatively well.

And of course allowing me to snap photos of her frolicking in pastel apple glee. You might notice in this photo that some of the apples, depending on how you swirl/coat them, have a much more contrast-y effect (which I love!). The apples’ fate is completely based upon your colour choices and each one can be a little, tasty work of art.

For those wondering, Neve chooses to wear this fairy outfit on an almost-daily basis, so I swear there was no crazy mommy-driven costume bribes going on here. It doesn’t always work out that way, but sometimes it just does. And for the record, my cakelets eat about 10% of the treats that I make. They almost always test a bite or two, but rarely eat an entire dessert in one sitting. It’s kind of how we make it through this thing I call Sweetapolita with our teeth and health in tact.

Wishing you a whimsical weekend! ♥

Here’s the recipe for the apples. As I mentioned, the coating base of the recipe comes from SprinkleBakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire Your Inner Artist, combined with my instructions for creating this bizarre and delightful confection.

Whimsical Pastel Cotton Candy Apples

Ingredients

  • 6 medium granny smith apples (or variation of choice), washed, dried and stems removed
  • 3 cups (600 g)(1 lb + 5 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (237 mL) water
  • 1/2 cup (118 mL) light corn syrup
  • 1 dram bottle (3/4 teaspoon)(3.75 mL) cotton-candy candy flavour oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) bright white soft gel food colour, plus 2-3 additional colours of choice
  • cotton candy
  • glitter/sprinkles of choice
  • You will also need:
  • candy thermometer
  • heatproof rubber spatula
  • pastry brush
  • 6 medium cookie sticks
  • 6 paper straws (optional)
  • scissors (for trimming straws)
  • silicone baking mat (optional)

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or a baking sheet greased with shortening.
  2. Insert the cookie sticks about 3/4 of the way into each apple, but be sure the stick doesn't come out the bottom. (You might need to use a metal skewer to pierce each apple prior to inserting the sticks.) Place prepared apples close to the stovetop, as you will need to move quickly once the candy coating is ready to go.
  3. In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan combine the sugar, water and corn sryrup. Brush the sides of the saucepan with a damp pastry brush to rid of stray sugar crystals. Turn the heat to medium-high and clip on a candy thermometer (be sure the thermometer doesn't touch the bottom of the saucepan).
  4. Let the mixture bubble and cook undisturbed until the thermometer reaches 302°F (hard crack stage). In the meanwhile, get your flavour oil and colours ready to go.
  5. When the candy coating has reached 302°F, promptly remove from heat and stir in the flavour oil, followed by the white colour, using a heatproof rubber spatula. Once the white is blended completely, quickly add a drop or two of your favourite food gel colours, but this time do not stir the coating. You can swirl the saucepan once or twice, or use a skewer to marble the colours, but be sure not to over-blend, or you will end up with a solid colour.
  6. Holding the handle of the saucepan with one hand, tilt so the coating pools to one side, and dip/swirl each apple until thoroughly coated. Let the excess coating drip back into the saucepan, and set aside on prepared baking sheet.
  7. When ready to serve, pierce a poof or two of cotton candy and slide down each stick to sit atop the apples. Adorn with sprinkles or glitter of choice.
  8. If using patterned paper straws, simply slide the straw over the cookie stick and trim the tops of each straw to match the height of the stick underneath.

Notes

[candy coating base recipe from the book Sprinkle Bakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire Your Inner Artist]

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Sweetapolita’s Notes:
Good luck & enjoy!

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