Sweets for the Sweet – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sweets for the Sweet!

Favorite Baking Molds for Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day Baking Molds form ZANDA PANDA!

Valentine’s Day Baking Molds from ZANDA PANDA!

 

You can find these molds on the ZANDA PANDA website:

Silicone Heart Cake/Cookie/Chocolate/Craft Mold

Handmade Stoneware Valentine Heart Cookie Molds

HeartSepPinkLRSH copy

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s a Small World After All – On Brazilian Bakers and Star Trek Universal Translators

It’s a Small World After All

On Brazilian Bakers and
Star Trek Universal Translators


I recently received an e-mail from Brazil which was written in Portuguese.  Although I couldn’t read it, I was able to figure out that it was about my Kaleidoscope Heart and Butterfly Molds.  Since I don’t speak Portuguese, I went straight to Google Translate.   After several pleasant e-mails back and forth, I’d met Brazilian Baker Marilucy Ruppel and happily sent her molds off to her.

Here are some of the lovely cakes she’s made with her ZANDA PANDA Molds

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You can see more of her beautiful creations on her website  and her Facebook page and contact her at: marilucyruppel@hotmail.com

I’m still a little amazed at how easy it was to connect with her, to talk about the molds and send them out to her.  But it will be even easier next time, since amazing new devices and apps like World Lens and the Sigmo Voice Translator are well on their way to making Star Trek‘s Universal Translator a reality.  I LOVE today’s technology!

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And for those of you reading who do speak Portuguese, here is Google’s translated version. I’m sure it’s not a perfect translation, but for me, it made bridging the language barrier… a  piece of cake 😉

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É um pequeno mundo depois de tudo

Em Bakers Brasileiros e Star Trek Universal Tradutores 

Eu recebi recentemente um e-mail do Brasil , que foi escrito em Português . Embora eu não pudesse lê-lo , eu era capaz de descobrir o que era o meu coração Caleidoscópio e Moldes Borboleta . Desde que eu não falo Português, fui direto para o Google Translate . Depois de várias agradáveis ​​e-mails e para trás, que eu conheci no Brasil Baker Marilucy Ruppel e felizmente enviou seus moldes fora dela.

Aqui estão alguns dos bolos linda que ela fez com os moldes  ZANDA PANDA 

 Você pode ver mais de suas belas criações em seu site e sua página no Facebook e contatá-la em : marilucyruppel@hotmail.com

Eu ainda estou um pouco surpreso com o quão fácil era para se conectar com ela, para falar sobre os moldes e enviá-los para ela. Mas será ainda mais fácil da próxima vez, desde novos dispositivos e aplicativos incríveis , como Lens Mundial eo Sigmo Voice Translator estão bem no seu caminho para tornar tradutor de Star Trek Universal uma realidade. O amor de hoje a tecnologia!

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Gold Dusted Chocolate Gryphon

Gold Dusted Chocolate Gryphon

Gold Dusted Chocolate Gryphon

This is made of dark Belgian chocolate and edible ‘gold’ dust.  If you know me, you’ll know my first love is metalwork.  My favorite medium to work in has always been metal.  Especially lost wax cast bronze and cast precious metals.  So I really enjoyed putting a ‘patina’ on this.  It really makes me want to work in metal again!

 

How to Make a Chocolate Lab Puppy

How to Make a Chocolate Lab Puppy

And ideas for black and yellow Lab cakes

Chocolate Lab Puppy made with ZANDA PANDA's Puppy Mold

Chocolate Lab Puppy made with ZANDA PANDA's Puppy Mold

This is really easy.  Little ones need a bit of supervision with hot, melted chocolate, but the technique couldn’t be simpler.  All you’ll need is your favorite chocolate, a bowl to melt it in and a pastry brush (and of course, an adorable Puppy Mold).

I’ve given the information on ‘quick-tempering’ chocolate in several other posts, but I’ll repeat it here:


Quick-Tempered Chocolate

Finely chop chocolate or use chocolate chips. Melt two thirds of the chocolate in the microwave for thiry second intervals, stirring in between with a silicone or rubber spatula (don’t use a wooden utensil, it can introduce moisture and cause your chocolate to ‘seize’).  Keep the temperature below 120F.   When chocolate has melted, add the remaining one third in three batches, stirring until smooth after each addition.

Using a pastry brush, paint the melted chocolate into your mold.  Be sure to brush into the crevices, brushing out any trapped air bubbles.  Allow to cool, then pop out of mold.

You can also paint in different colors of chocolate if you’re really feeling creative, or you’re making a ‘portrait’ of a multicolored dog, like a Bernese Mountain Dog, a Beagle or an Australian Shepherd.  For these, you could use milk, dark and white chocolate.  I’ll have to try mixing different colors to see if I can get yellow and black Lab colors with chocolate, but for now,  if you want to make a yellow Lab, try the Yellow Lab Cake.

Yellow Lab Puppy Cake made with ZANDA PANDA's Puppy Mold

Yellow Lab Puppy Cake made with ZANDA PANDA's Puppy Mold

I think a dark chocolate cake might work for a black lab.  Or try mixing the two batters to make one of each; pour one color batter just into the puppy shape of the mold, then the other color carefully around it.  Then switch colors for the other Lab cake.  I’ll try to do a post on this soon.  That’s how the ‘Poodle Cake’ was made – before it became a poodle 🙂  Just remember to prepare your mold before pouring in the batter by brushing the interior with melted vegetable shortening and dusting lightly with flour (this step is not necessary for chocolate).

If  it’s a gift, you could add a big bow or a collar made of fondant to make it even more special.

I ♥ Low Fat, Healthy Brownies

HEART-HEALTHY BROWNIES

Easy, Chocolaty & Guilt Free (Also Cute)!

I first tasted black bean brownies at a party after an Aikido seminar in Boston.  I thought they were fantastic; fudgy dense and chocolaty.  These will definitely appeal to kids and are easy to make with a little adult help with the food processor.

Ingredients for heart healthy, low fat brownies

♥ Ingredients for heart healthy, low fat brownies ♥

These brownies couldn’t be simpler to make.  All you actually need is a box of brownie mix and a can of black beans.   That’s it.   I added some optional ingredients in the big silly pink parenthesis.  I used a little strong, black coffee and a dash of cinnamon to give it a little more complexity – but I forgot to add a touch of vanilla to add a mellow note.  I also added a couple of teaspoons of cocoa powder to make it even more chocolaty.  For the truly adventurous, a dash of cayenne (I wasn’t that adventurous this time 🙂 )  And brownies aren’t brownies to me without walnuts.

ZANDA PANDA Puppy Mold prepared by brushing in melted vegetable shortening and dusting with cocoa powder.

ZANDA PANDA Puppy Mold, which was prepared by brushing in melted vegetable shortening and lightly dusting with cocoa powder. Ready for the low fat brownie batter!

Basic directions:  I prepared the Puppy mold by lightly brushing the interior with melted vegetable shortening (Crisco), then dusting with cocoa powder.  This helps to release baked goods and also gives their surface a smoother finish.

To make the batter, rinse a can of black beans in a colander, then put them back in the can and add water until it reaches the top of the can.  Purée beans and water in a food processor and don’t stop until it’s very smooth.  Add puréed beans to the brownie mix, pour into the pan and bake at 325 °F (177 °C) for 40 to 55 minutes.  Don’t overbake ;P

Better Brownie Batter in a ZANDA PANDA Puppy Mold

Better Brownie Batter in a ZANDA PANDA Puppy Mold

Puppy mold filled with brownie batter.  I studded half with walnuts, pressing them in slightly, but not enough to show on the decorative surface of the brownies.

Slightly overbaked but delicious low fat brownie made with ZANDA PANDA's Puppy Mold

Slightly overbaked but delicious low fat brownie made with ZANDA PANDA's Puppy Mold

I like my brownies on the fudgy side.  These came out a little more cake-y than I like them, because I overbaked them slightly.  I thought that the middle was unbaked when checking wih a toothpick.  I actually was hitting the melted chocolate chips.  Duh.  I don’t think the brownie would have cracked if I hadn’t overbaked it a little.  Also the walnuts made the surface flex because they weren’t completey ’embedded’ in the back of the brownie.

But it still tasted fantastic.  The best part is that it’s not only super simple to make, it’s also low fat, high fiber, guilt free and chocolaty!  And kids will actually like it!  All in all, very cute and VERY tasty!!!


PUPPY MOLD NEWS!

We’re now taking reservations for Puppy Molds! There is no obligation when you reserve. We’ll notify you when they’re ready to ship and will hold your reservation for two weeks.

To reserve, just e-mail us at: info@zandapanda.com and mention the Puppy Mold in the subject line.

Join the Zanda Panda Mailing List for special offers, contests and coupons! It’s free, we will never share your information and you can unsubscribe at any time. Although we’d love to hear all about you, all we really need is your name and an e-mail address.

If you’re already subscribed, watch for a special offer on the Puppy Mold coming soon!


Did I Mention Toffee?

TOFFEE!

Toffee made with ZANDA PANDA's Kaleidoscope Butterfly Mold

Toffee made with ZANDA PANDA's Kaleidoscope Butterfly Mold

I’m going to make toffee again soon, but next time I will make all of the scrollwork and flowers in chocolate as well.  The back is also coated with a thick layer of dark chocolate (of course!).  The technique I used for making the chocolate butterflies was the same as in the directions for a chocolate cake topper, (also Video Here) but the second layer was toffee instead of a contrasting color of chocolate.  I’ll make this again soon and include photos, a recipe and instructions.

It was incredibly delicious; crunchy at first, then meltingly buttery and chocolatey.  Very satisfying – but you you won’t be able to stop eating it!

Butterfly Brunch

How to make a Butterfly-Themed Garden Party/Tea Party

 

Butterfly-Themed Spring/Summer Tea Party!

Butterfly-Themed Garden/ Tea Party!

Yes, I had to wait patiently for the apple tree to bloom for this shot – and for a sunny day!

Jump over to the Zanda Panda website to see how to make all the goodies pictured above, such as butterfly cake and cupcake toppers, embossed tea sandwiches, Kaleidoscope Heart and Butterfly mini sandwich cookies and port wine cheese butterflies on crackers!

I didn’t have room to show the iced tea with little butterfly ice cubes (just freeze colorful fruit juices in the Butterfly mold, then add to iced tea). Beautiful stoneware pottery courtesy of the very talented Ria Lira Levine.

 

Easy, fun ideas for spring or summer entertaining – and a really tasteful way to tell Mom how much you love her this Mother’s Day!



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