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    Wednesday
    Sep262012

    Liquorice Lovers Ice-Cream Recipe

                          liquorice lovers ice-cream

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    Sad to hear that Darrell Lea is closing it's remaining 27 stores this month. The iconic Australian Chocolate and lolly maker has been producing much loved treats such as Soft Eating Liquorice and Rocklea Road® since 1927. However, all is not lost, under the new ownership Darrell Lea stands in local supermarkets and the like will continue to stock your favourites. 

    For my Dad it's the original soft eating liquorice, soft sweet, rich with molasses and just a touch of salt. This ice-cream recipe today is for you Dad. 

    Darrell Lea soft eating liquorice 

    Liquorice Lovers Ice-Cream

    you'll need an ice-cream machine for this recipe

    Ingredients

    200g good quality soft eating liquorice, cut into pieces

    5 large egg yolks

    1 cup milk

    2 cups of thickened cream (in Australia this is whipping cream with a 35% milk fat content)

    3/4 cup sugar

    black food colour

    *a prepared ice-bath... which consists of a bowl (or it could be your kitchen sink) with ice cubes in it. This is to speed even cooling of the custard mixture... you don't want to end up with scrambled eggs!!

    cut liquorice

    In a medium saucepan warm the milk, half the cream, sugar and the liquorice pieces. Bring to a simmer, remove pan from heat, cover and let cool.

    strain mixture and discard liquorice pieces

    Once cool, strain liquorice/cream mixture into a clean saucepan. Discard liquorice pieces.

    In a medium bowl whisk egg yolks together. In a seperate bowl pour in the remaining one cup of chilled cream.

    Gently heat the strained liquorice/cream mixture until it is just warm. Pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan over a medium heat, stir constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

    the second straining step picks up any egg residue left in the mix

    Strain the custard through a fine seive into the chilled cream. Add black food colour if desired.

    adding black food colour

    after food colour is added

    Stir constantly over the ice bath until mixture starts to cool, place bowl in refrigerator or freezer to chill completely. 

    Once chilled churn in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturers instructions. Let the the ice-cream "ripen" by storage in the freezer overnight before eating.

    *Note... I haven't added salt to the recipe as the liquorice released enough salt, however if the liquorice you are using is particularly sweet add a pinch of salt to the cream mixture at the start.

    Happy Baking :) 

    you might also be interested in baci chocolate ice-cream

    or what about combed chocolate curls

    Monday
    Sep242012

    Attack of the Swamp Zombie cupcake

                                attack of the swamp Zombie cupcake

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    The dietician on talk back radio was saying "don't deny your chocolate cravings just buy a Freddo Frog instead of a whole block of chocolate"... first thing I thought... hope that includes cream frogs! 

    Some might consider 1950's sci fi and horror films schlock; I prefer to think of them as little gems, their black and white film reels disguised with bright and lurid poster art.

    1950's poster art

    Besides they are so much fun and a great inspiration for Halloween cupcakes. Today's cupcake relies on "a hand", it can be a zombie, a sea creature or perhaps an alien hand. Make your hands with fondant or modelling paste the night before you need them, insert a tooth pick or a piece of dry spaghetti amd the leave to dry. Next day pop them in your fondant, iced or frosted cupcakes and they are ready to hold your treat of choice.

    I used Cadbury Cream Freddo's, they come in Strawberry or Peppermint. 

    Just before serving I broke the Peppermint filled Freddo Frogs to allow for the right amount of Halloween goo. 

    Happy Baking :)

    Friday
    Sep212012

    Day Of The Dead Catrina Cupcake

    day of the dead catrina cupcake

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    Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.

    wikipedia

    La Calavera Catrina ('The Elegant Skull') 1910 zinc etching by Mexican printmaker José Guadalupe Posada.

    Popularized by José Guadalupe Posada, Catrina is the skeleton of an upper class woman, and one of the most popular figures of the Day of the Dead celebrations, which occur during two days, November 1 and November 2.

    Ha, I love the day of the dead celebration; it's fun, macabre and makes for a fabulous themed event.

    Whether you want to make a Catrina or the simpler skull cupcake picks at the end of today's post, throw a day of the dead party this year!

    starting the skull

    Catrina starts with a basic white fondant skull shape. Features for the skull are indented and surrounds built up with modelling paste. You can see I've marked out where the mouth will be and a hole was added to the bottom for a toothpick. Once dry, lustre, petal dust and edible food marker added shadows and features to the piece. The hat itself is a round of thinly rolled modelling paste with a shell tool used to mark the edges. 

    Scruffy flowers were made with coloured modelling paste. Small pieces of each colour were rolled thinly and the edges were either pulled out with a small ball tool or cut into a fringe with a craft knife. From there they were rolled up and the excess pinched off the end to form a flower. 

    Finished flowers are very small and if you are thinking this all sounds a bit fiddly perhaps day of dead mini fondant toppers are what you are after. 

    Mini Day of the Dead fondant cupcake picks are super cute, easy enough for the kids to make and look fabulous topping a display of mini cupcakes. 

    Mini Day of the Dead fondant cupcake picks 

    basic white fondant skull shapes

    Form a basic skull shape from white fondant, use a toothpick to pierce a hole in the bottom of the skulls.

    Let your skull shapes dry for a few hours (or overnight) and then using edible food markers, edible glitter and lustre duster to decorate your pieces. Insert half toothpicks that have been coloured with food colouring into the skulls and top your mini cupcakes.

    Happy Baking :) 

    Looking for Catrina and Day of the Dead figures? SilverCrow has a range of traditional and not so traditional Day of the Dead pieces. Search 'Day of the Dead' once there.

    one of the many day of dead figures available from SilverCrow

    Or perhaps a Catrina pill/mint box?   

    you might also be interested in gothic horror cupcakes 

    Sunday
    Sep092012

    The Raven and The Black Cat Cupcakes

                                                    The  Raven cupcake

    Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
    In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
    Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
    Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

    The Raven Edgar Allan Poe 1845

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    Sorry, I've been missing for three months without explanation. I think "Annus Horribilis" sums it up. xx

    It was my step son Daniel who gave me his copy of Poe with a "read this again" order that has given me a much needed push to get up and going.  I'll be back full time September 24th... until then here is two cupcakes inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, a more traditional design and a naive/primitive design. 

    Want to make a raven? Here is how I make mine. 

    Using black fondant or modelling paste make the shape of the ravens body. With food colouring, colour a toothpick black and cut it in half, this will form the legs of the raven and secure the bird to the book.

    almost completed raven

    Add a beak, feathers and eyes to your raven. Insert toothpick halfs. Allow several hours to dry completely. 

    Fondant rolled onto the back of my baking mat was imprinted with this pattern for the book cover.

    The book is made from white fondant, make a book shaped brick of fondant, score edges to give the illusion of pages. To make the cover roll a piece of fondant (I used the back of baking making to add an imprinted pattern) and cut to fit your book. 

    for vintage feel to the book score sides unevenly for a well read look

    Dust the edges of your book with gold lustre dust. Dust the raven with dark blue or purple lustre dust. Dust the book cover with your colour of choice. Add decorations such as straps, book plate by colouring rolling and shaping small pieces of fondant. Insert the raven into the book and add four claws to make up each foot... three at the front and one rear "toe". 

                                 The Black Cat mini cupcake

    Pluto --this was the cat's name --was my favorite pet and playmate

     The Black Cat Edgar Allan Poe 1843

    Black cats remind me of childhood; black cat lollies, the black cat token on Cadbury Black Cat chocolates and reading The Black Cat by torchlight under the blankets.

    mum gave these Cadbury chocolate box tokens when I was little, they became my barbies "kittens".

    black cat lollies

    The black cat fondant figure is formed almost totally from oval shapes. Can you see them in the cat? 

    An oval is stood on it's end and elongated into the cats body. An oval on it's side sliighly pushed inwards makes up the cats head. Small ovals shaped to form the eyes. Ovals are attached to the top of the head and pinched upwards for the ears. The nose is an oval pulled downwards. The legs and feet are made up of two varying sized ovals. 

    The whiskers and tail aren't ovals, but rather rolled black modelling paste. 

    A steamed finish gives it shine.

    Happy baking :) I'll see you all Septemeber 24th. Thank you for the support and I WILL be catching up with all those questions I have missed. 

    you may be interested in steamed finish for your cupcakes

    or getting an early start for Halloween with "Boo Cupcakes"

    Wednesday
    Jun132012

    Marshmallow Fluff in Australia

    Marshmallow Fluff is the number one item being searched for by Australians on this blog.

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    Wooo Hoooo!! I found Marshmallow Fluff today at my local shopping centre. Ok, this doesn't sound too exciting if your in the US and your local supermarket has loads of the sticky, sweet spreadable marshmallow; yet we Australians are dying to get our hands on it. I can see whoopie pies on the horizon... happy baking :)

    The Unique Pasta + Deli is situated on the corner of the fresh food court at Knox City. 

    A well stocked continental delicatessen with fresh pastas, sauces and antipasto. The staff are friendly and well informed plus I did spy pretty, pretty macarons in the front cabinet. Almost forgot... they have Marshmallow Fluff!!!

    Shop 1048 

    Knox City Shopping Centre

    Cnr Burwood Rd and Stud Rd 

    Wantirna South 3155

    Melbourne

    Phone 9837 5498

    Tuesday
    Jun052012

    Cadbury Marvellous Creations Chocolate Review

    Cadbury Marvellous Creations Chocolate 

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    Perhaps it's the difficult economic times or perhaps we have always been wanted an excuse to access our inner child; whatever the reason the "Willy Wonka type" trend in food continues with Cadbury's Joyville range of chocolates. 

    Cadbury's latest entry in the Joyville range is 'Marvellous Creations' an oddly shaped chocolate block/bar with lots of added bits. Now truthfully, I'm not a huge fan of Cadbury milk chocolate I find it too sweet, though I'm not immune to even the scent of Cadbury chocolate evoking my childhood memories of lining up in the lounge room to get a piece of the latest Cadbury block off my mum.

    cadbury's marvellous creations advertising campaign with it's "Wonka factory" feel

    However, my closest friend Jactina is loving this new Cadbury range so much she has been asking (uhh hmm nagging!) for a blog post. Soooo, lets have a look at what's inside each block.... 

    three flavour choices 'jelly crunchie bits', 'peanut toffee cookie' and 'jelly, popping candy and beanies'... so popular is this new range of chocolate the first few stores I tried were sold out. 

    Starting with 'Jelly Crunchie Bits'

    Cadbury milk chocolate, red jelly lollies and small pieces of Cadbury 'Crunchie' (honeycomb/sponge candy). This flavour is the favourite of my friend Jacinta and my step son Daniel. Daniel saying that "you wouldn't think honeycomb and jelly lollies would work together, but they soooo do!!".

    What I think... probably my favourite too, though the jelly bits do have a slightly bitter aftertaste, the crunchie bits are evenly distributed and if you have ever had a 'Crunchie' Easter egg or block chocolate you know that works well with the dairy milk chocolate.

    Next up 'Peanut Toffee Cookie'

    Daniel thought this one is "pretty good" and wants to have more this week (ensuring his place in the "where is all the chocolate going queue??"), Jacinta has it on her list to try.

    What I think... I thought I would like this one the best, but it's packed with rather bland coarse shortbread textured cookie pieces, peanuts and toffee bits, the toffee tastes nice but too much salt overall is coming from the cookie/toffee combo. 

    packed with cookie pieces 

    Last in the line up is 'Jelly, Popping Candy, Beanies'

    Daniel thought this one was "bland" though the piece he tried was devoid of "jelly pieces" and he felt with the jelly pieces it would have been a different story. Jacinta and family loved this, I know Jacinta was smiling during our phone conversation about this block.

    What I think... the beanies (M&M type chocolates) don't add much to a block of chocolate, the jelly lollies again have a slightly bitter aftertaste. As for the popping candy, lol ok it did make me smile :) 

    I'll leave the summing up to Jacintas teenage daughter Emma who after saying "I like the fun shape of the block" and "I like the bright packaging" added the most important part of any chocolate review "It's YUM". 

    Well I'm off now to enjoy a glass of Cabury drinking chocolate, hey I did say I wasn't immune to the lure of Cadbury.

    Get yourself in a Cadbury kind of mood and watch their TV ad for Marvellous Creations.

    Happy Baking :)

    Maybe you would prefer a Bounty Bar? Then how about a Bounty Bar inspired cupcake recipe

    Thursday
    May312012

    Fondant Masquerade Masks

                       green with envy fondant masquerade mask

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    You are invited to the ball, the Masquerade ball... 

    Special post today on getting more use out of your silicone moulds. Hmmm, doesn't sound that "special" does it? But what you make will be!!

    Don't you love those cake decorating silicone moulds, press in a bit of fondant or modelling paste and hey presto you have a modelled shape in no time. But, but, but, what happens when you have used your mould a few times and you're bored with the shape? Does it end up in the draw with all those other moulds that you just "had to have"? Why don't you try extending the shape, you'll have the time saving aspect of using a mould combined with your own decorating ideas. 

    measuring a tiny 4.5 cm (less that two inches) across the  jewel mask uses the same mould as the green with envy mask in cake one.

    The masquerade masks on cake one and two today are make with the same mould. Cake three adds a mask to the mask mould and cake four gets it's pizzazz from a side extension. All cakes displayed in fondant covered mini cupcakes today.

    For the gold and diamond mask I've added a "mask onto the mask"

    Pretty in pink mask has a simple side extension added.

    Extensions to your masks can as simple as rolling a thin snake of fondant, from there you twist, twirl and roll to create trims and ribbon.

    Create extension pieces by matching the base with mask depth, thinning out from there as required. I use small pieces of plastic wrap to create shapes in the fondant before and after they have been attached to figures. When adding fondant feathers and the like, make sure they are rolled as thinly as possible as you don't want to add too much weight to your pieces.

    Use a tootpick/cocktail stick to create twirls.

    I used Americolour food spray paint sheen colours undiluted to paint the masks. Try mixing two colours together for a unique finish. A small brush like the type used to paint toy models is ideal for painting trims and details.

     first of two coats on mask, orange food pen circles eyes before painting to change colour of painted finish.

    All bits and bobs attached with water with the exception of the isomalt gems I attached those with a dab of melted isomalt. Some of the fondant I marbled by twisting several colours of fondant together, I like how that adds a textured element to the feathers. Americolor gel paste was used to colour fondant. Ummm, what else... oh, ok if you want to put your masks on toothpicks make sure you make a hole with toothpick in the unmoulded piece before it hardens.

    Have fun getting more from moulds and happy baking :)

    Stockists: Full face mask moulds from Cakes Around Town (Australia) Masquerade Masks mould from Baking Pleasures (Australia) and Windsor Cake Crafts (UK)

    Baking Pleasures has the airbrush sheen colours in Australia (*note we are paying a lot more than the US price)

    Amazon (US)  

    Want more fondant? How about Eric the Valentine Emu

    or go gold with a fondant gold fish

    Sunday
    May272012

    Little Bo Peep Cupcake - Steaming Fondant

                           little Bo Peep cupcake with steamed fondant finish

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    Been watching 'Cake Boss'? Always wanted to try steaming your fondant but worried your flowers will droop, your bows flop and your bits fall off? It's easier than you think, trays of fondanted cupcakes to your giant tiered creation literally take seconds to steam to that shiny finish you have always desired.

    A quick look at steaming today...

    my portable steamer for cakes... and my clothes when the fibromyalgia prevents me from ironing!

    Firstly, the steamer unit; we are talking "clothing steamers" here, the type you would use to get the wrinkles out of a business shirt or your work jacket. Clothes steamers are either freestanding (like the ones Buddy uses on Cake Boss) or portable like the one I use.

    I use a small portable steamer unit.

    Make sure your steamer head is clear from any blockage.

    All the steamers work in pretty much the same way; you put water in the tank and turn it on. Make sure your hose isn't tangled and your steamer head is clear from any blockage and you are ready to steam!! You will know it's ready to use when you see steam coming from the head.

    Steam: Not standing too close to your cake and using light sweeping movements, (similar to if you are spraying painting) move your steamer head over your fondanted cake. This only take seconds. You will now have a shiny cake.

    Troubleshoot: 

    You don't want to melt your cake so don't linger on any one spot with the steamer... light sweeping movements only. As you can see on the quick demo cupcake I made, even the finest modelling paste pieces like the bow and crook won't collapse and your lashes/eyes and bit and bobs won't fall off when light steaming has taken place.

    Avoid any risk of water spotting by making sure your hose is not kinked, a kinked hose will lead to a build up of steam and water droplets that will stain your cake. Ditto with the steaming head; blockages lead to water droplets. 

    Practice!! Practice steaming on dummy fondanted cupcakes/cake if it's your first time, it's the best way to get  to know your particular steamer and will save you any heartbreak down the track. 

    Colors intensify/change with steaming. If you are matching a clients fabric sample for example you will need to check the steamed colour change. 

    I've used the cute little boiled lollies on the demo Little Bo Peep Cupcake today to remind you of what the surface of your steamed cake will feel like after steaming; a little bit sticky/tacky. Your cake will fingerprint easily, dust etc will attach to the surface, something to keep in mind if you will be transporting your cake. 

    Isomalt gems, sugar work, boiled lollies and candies are not meant to be steamed, but if your steaming at the venue, the cake is about to be devoured then of course you can steam.

    That about covers it, steamed fondant finishes can look fabulous whether it's shiny, shiny, primary colours or a gentle sheen on ivory.

    Have fun and happy steaming :) 

    Wednesday
    May232012

    Nutella Chocolate Dust

    bailey's chocolate truffle cheesecake, raspberry sorbet and nutella dust

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    "The sorbet was melting, the truffle cheesecake momentarily pushed to one side... all were distracted by the Nutella dust."  the lone baker 

    A little bit of fun today with Nutella chocolate dust. Nutella chocolate dust is a touch of molecular gastronomy magic in the form of maltodextrin powder mixed with Nutella chocolate spread.

    What I love about the Nutella dust (or dirt/sand) is the smile it brings to peoples faces when they taste it. The powder melts in your mouth and you have "Nutella".

    You can do this with peanut butter too, just make sure it's the old fashioned natural kind of peanut butter that needs a mix to bring the oil/paste back together.  Also works with any fat, such as cream based caramel dust or say a flavoured olive oil dust with steak etc.

    Maltodextrin

    Maltodextrin is starch derived from either corn, wheat or tapioca.

    Maltodextrin comes in different grades;

    Maltodextrin (DE18) this is one you will most likely see around, it's cost effective and available in many sizes including bulk amounts. 

    Tapioca Maltodextrin (N-Zorbit M) top of the range in quality and price. With a very low bulk density N-Zorbit M will give you a lighter and fluffier result than other Maltodextrins on the market.

    Tapioca Maltodextrin (DE10) this one falls in-between the (D18) and (N-Zorbit M), one to consider when N-Zorbit M is out of your price range. 

    I used a tapioca derived Maltrodextrin (DE18)  today to create the Nutella Chocolate Dust. Want to give it a try?? 

    Ingredients

    80g (2.8oz) Maltodextrin 

    120g (4.2oz) Nutella chocolate spread

    formula from MolecularRecipes.com

    Method

    With a metal spoon mix the Nutella and Maltodextrin together in small bowl. Transfer mix to a blender and process for a few seconds, stop the blender and shake to make sure ingredients are evenly distributed (you can turn the blender off at the power point and scrape bottom of blender rather than "shaking" if preferred). Repeat a few seconds at a time until you have a fluffy Nutella chocolate dust. Pass through a fine seive for an even lighter result. 

    Storage

    Stores in a sealed air tight container until ready to use. The dust darkens a little on storage (see top photo) to bring it back to a lighter colour re-sift. 

    The dust dissolves with moisture so add it to your plated dessert at the last minute or serve in small seperate bowls to sprinkle over sundaes etc. All my guests took home a small container of Nutella chocolate dust. 

    Happy Baking :) 

    Stockists: Where to get maltodextrin.... 

    in Australia DE18, DE10, and N-Zorbit M all available from The Melbourne Food Ingredient Depot

    also in Australia tapioca maltodextrin and N-Zorbit M also available from The Red Spoon Company

    Elsewhere... Amazon has the N-Zorbit and searching maltodextrin whilst there will give you a range of types and sizes

     

    Love your choc hazelnut, then how about Baci ice-cream... recipe here

    Friday
    May112012

    Isomalt sugar drizzled decorations

    pink drizzle isomalt decoration tops a mini fondant covered cupcake

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    With a zillion (ok, not quite... but a lot!!) of dessert and cake decorating possibilities "isomalt drizzles" are quick and super easy to make when using precooked isomalt sticks. 

    I used CakePlay's clear isomalt sticks in all today's pieces. The sticks are available in a range of colours, but I prefer colouring the clear isomalt myself. 

    tools and black isomalt drizzles 

    The only tools you will need are: a spoon, a pair of scissors (oil the blades), a non stick baking mat and a small pyrex or equivalent microwave safe glass jug. 

    If you want to shape your pieces, silicone moulds or any food safe heat proof surface like a tin can, the back of a muffin tin etc can be used... though do oil the surface first, isomalt is mighty sticky! 

    Pieces of sticks are melted in a microwave safe container, a small pyrex jug is ideal. From there you can add a few drops of food colouring and flavouring if desired, move your spoon gently through the melted isomalt to incorporate colour. Concentrated gel paste colour work best, as you don't want to add to much moisture to the isomalt.

    Gently lift your spoon up and down in the melted isomalt until it thickens slightly and it looks like this....

    try red isomalt drizzles for all your romantic occassions

    Start drizzling!! Drizzle directly onto a non stick baking mat for flat pieces. Drizzle over your oiled mould of choice for shaped pieces or if using silicone you can drizzle directly on the surface. Shaped drizzles hold their shape and you can create baskets or cages with the same method.

    Scissors with oiled blades are used for cutting any errant threads of isomalt and can also be used for trimming/cutting the finished pieces into shapes if desired.

     

    Japanese Forest Cupcake; offset piping and green tea flavoured black sesame isomalt drizzle to complete the organic look. 

    Solid colour density is achieved by adding a drop or two of white food colouring simultaneously with your colour of choice. For the Japanese forest cupcake I made a slurry of green tea powder and water to add with a drop of white food colouring. Without the addition of "white" the colour is a murky/clear green. 

    If your isomalt hardens before you have finished your drizzles, reheat in 5 second increments in the microwave. Some food colouring shades alter on reheating, for that reason I prefer to work in small multiple batches. 

    To attach isomalt to fondant covered cakes, simply dip the base of your finished drizzle into melted isomalt and attach to your cake... isomalt will set almost instantly giving you a securely attached topper. 

    Isomalt or sugar work pieces are susceptible to moisture and are best used within a few hours. If storage is must, you can try and store the toppers single file in an airtight container with silica sachets... be warned in humid weather you still run the risk of the pieces becoming cloudy.

    Whether you are topping a cupcake or creating a serving basket for you your sorbet, hope you have fun creating isomalt drizzles.

    Happy Baking :)

     *isomalt and sugar and extremely hot when melted, please take extra care when working with either. Remove pets and young children from the room and have a bowl of iced water handy in case of burns. 

    *troubleshoot... "My spoon is in the jug and isomalt has set so I can't microwave"... pop your jug into a bowl, pour boiling water around the jug until isomalt has softened enough to lift out your spoon. 

    *keep your pieces small, thin and easily edible... you don't want broken crowns/dental work spoiling the moment.

    * isomalt sticks are available from cake decorating stores, in Australia I got mine from baking pleasures

       around $15 in Oz or $10 in US for 12 sticks. Also available from Amazon in bulk amounts or single packets 

     

    You might also be interested in toffee springs

    or perhaps flowers made from Starburst lollies for Mothers Day here