*Sigh* I'm a little (ok, a lot) behind in answering the lone baker emails. If I haven't answered your mail I will soon... promise!
For now I'll answer few questions from the back log and one that came in last night asking "what are vienna almonds?" from urbakingnow.
Thank you for the email urbakingnow. In Australia vienna almonds are double caramelised almonds. They are made with an odd method; adding the almonds to hot toffee in a pot and stirring to crystallise the sugar, the almonds are removed, the sugar in the pot is re-melted and the almonds are quickly added back in to receive a second coat. This is why the finished almonds have a "whiteish tinge" in the coating it's the combination of crystallised sugar and caramel. If you were planning on making yesterdays recipe, any caramel or toffee coated almonds would be a suitable substitute.
edible sugar diamonds handled with tweezers
Kerryn, Nisha and Nhung had queries about handling edible sugar diamonds, whether to make or buy them ready made & stockists.
Kerryn the "mist" that is on the surface of some your diamonds is caused by moisture, either weather related, from your hands/storage or by placing the gems moist surfaces such icings/frostings.
Handling; It's best to handle your sugar diamonds with tweezers, bent tweezers are perfect as they give you a clear view of where the gem is to be placed.
Storing; store your diamonds/gems in the original packaging along with the silica sachet that came with them to absorb excess moisture. Try to store your diamonds so they aren't touching each other, gems that touch cause scratching and loss of clarity.
Mist; If you're diamonds have already developed the "mist", you can lightly coat the gems with clear vegetable oil to restore the clarity.
Using; Add your diamonds at the last minute. If it's a wedding cake add the gems once the cake is in place at the reception centre just before the cake is needed. For cupcakes at home, add the gems to your decorated cupcakes immediately before serving.
Nhung to answer your question about whether to buy or make edible diamonds;
Short answer; I'd buy them!!
Long answer; you will need to invest in isomalt (the form of sugar that is necessary to produce the "clarity"), hard plastic or silicone diamond/gem moulds, silica gel sachet for storage, some kind of storage tray to keep the gems from touching. Filling those small gem holes with burning hot isomalt can be tricky and time consuming. That said if you want to produce a gem in an unusual colour or shape, making them your self is a great option and you do get that "oh, wow look what I made" feeling when the shiny sparkly gems pop out their moulds.
Nisha, I'm not sure where you are located? However, here are stockists of premade diamond/gems and gem moulds.
Fancy Flours (US) for a range of colours/shaped gems, they also stock a few moulds.
Cakes Around Town (AU) stock diamonds, emeralds & pink diamonds including bulk packs & moulds.
Cakes Cookies & Craft Shop (UK) diamonds in two sizes, bulk packs available
Hope this helped Kerryn, Nisha and Nhung. Thank you all for your questions, I love receiving your emails.
maggie may the pug watches over a sleeping marvin
Thank you everyone for "get well" and "best wishes" messages for Marvin the Pug. Marvin has started a medication course and is sleeping much of the time and feeling a little better :)
Notice to stepson Daniel; there is mini vienna almond chocolate bars packed in a seperate container for you, away from "he who has been known to steal away the last treat" also known as your Dad.
Happy Baking :)