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!



Join the Zanda Panda Mailing List for new product news and special offers only for list members (It’s free, we promise NEVER to share your information and you can unsubscribe at any time).


New Video, New Chocolate Technique!

Kaleidoscope Heart and Kaleidoscope Butterfly Molds

Make two-tone chocolate cake toppers or No-Bake Backwards Cakes™

I’m very excited about this new chocolate technique!  I had been making multi-colored chocolate cake toppers by filling just the hearts or butterflies with a separate color.  I realized, quite by accident, that the scrollwork and flowers could also be made in another color from the background.  I think the two-tone look is very elegant.

Don’t be afraid to try this technique, even if you’re a novice baker/chocolatier.  It’s very easy and will give you amazing results.


No-Bake Backwards Cakes™

If you want to make a complete Kaleidoscope Heart cake with a chocolate shell – a No-Bake Backwards Cake™ – rather than just a cake topper,  just brush chocolate onto the sides of the mold after the second (background) color has been chilled.

Then fill the shell with layers your favorite ingredients, such as cookie crumbs, lady fingers, sliced, store-bought pound cake, jam, fruit, Nutella, drizzles of syrups or liqueurs, ice cream – anything you like!

You can optionally add a final layer of chocolate to seal the cake (which will become the bottom of the cake after demolding).

If you use candy making and dipping chocolate, you won’t need to temper it.  If using regular chocolate, here are some tips on melting and quick-tempering:


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 which will 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.


Try this cake topper for Valentine’s Day!


Valentine’s Day Kaleidoscope Heart Chocolate Cake Topper

White Chocolate "Cameo" Kaleidoscope Herat Mold Topper

White Chocolate “Cameo” Kaleidoscope Heart Mold Topper

Kaleidoscope Heart Cake Topper for Valentine’s Day

See step-by-step instructions below.

Watch the VIDEO to see how easy it is!

 

This Kaleidoscope Heart Cake Topper is very easy to make and is perfect for Valentine’s day.

All you need is:

♥  Silicone spatula
♥  Gel food coloring
♥  White chocolate

I used Ghirardelli’s Candy Making & Dipping Bar (the kind you’d dip strawberries into or make candy with).  This is how easy it was to make:

First Layer-Hearts and Scrollwork

Melt several medium sized chunks (a handful) of white chocolate according to package directions (in this case, in the microwave for one minute at half power, stir, then for 30 second intervals,until melted, stirring in between).

Add  desired color of GEL food coloring to the chocolate for the first layer.  This layer will be the hearts and scrollwork.

With the spatula, spread chocolate around on the face of the mold.  Then, holding the edge of the spatula at about a 45 degree angle, drag it across the face of the mold.  This will scrape away the chocolate on the highest, flat areas and leave chocolate filling in the scrollwork and hearts. If chocolate begins to solidify, just pop it into the microwave for a few seconds.

Second Layer- Base Color

When this layer has cooled and solidified, repeat the melting process again with about four times more chocolate.  Tint again with a different or contrasting color if desired or use white, milk or dark chocolate.

Pour chocolate into the center of the mold and spread gently out to the sides with a spatula, so that you don’t dislodge or melt the first layer.

When cool, peel mold away and top a cake or cheesecake for instant elegance.

Alternatively, brush more melted chocolate along the sides of the mold using a pastry brush.  When cool, fill chocolate shell with layers of your favorite fillings.  Place plate over mold, flip mold and cake together and gently peel mold of of your No-Bake Backwards Cake!

Molly’s Fabulous Fudge – And Another Puppy

My friend Molly McG gave me her fantastic fudge recipe for the Puppy Mold packaging.  Here it is and here’s a puppy made of it!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Marshmallow Fudge Puppy

 

Molly’s Fabulous Fudge
My friend Molly’s fantastic fudge recipe!

◊   3 cups sugar
◊   3/4 cup butter
◊   2/3 cup evaporated milk
◊   2/3 cup cocoa
◊   4 tablespoons peanut butter
◊   1 (7oz) jar marshmallow cream
◊   1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom, combine sugar, butter, cocoa, and milk.  Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.

Continue to boil, stirring for 5 minutes over medium heat.

Remove from heat.

Add peanut butter, stir until peanut butter melts.

Add marshmallow cream and vanilla.  Stir until blended.

Pour into your Puppy Mold.  Chill in fridge.

When completely cooled and firm, place plate over mold, flip plate and mold over together and gently demold.

Store in refrigerator.

 

I should add that, because it’s thick, try to pour into one spot on the mold and let it ooze into the design, so that you’ll trap as few air bubbles as possible.

The fudge picks up details perfectly and drops right out of the mold.

The Puppy looks adorable as is, or you could dress him up with a fondant bow, a candy-studded collar or make some toys for him.

I’ll have images of the packaging design very soon!

 

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