2/11/09

Valentine's Day is nearly upon us...



...and life has been frantically looking for me, trying to keep me busy, trying to keep me from blogging, and trying to keep me from hanging out with you guys.
Quick, hide me!
Why not go after the likes of Gary Busey? Now, there's a character who should never be left unsupervised.

Speaking of being left unsupervised, I've been happily tasting some of the chocolate treats I've made for the upcoming, romantic event. It's okay. I eat chocolate strictly for the antioxidants. Doesn't everybody?




Uh-oh. I'm having a romantic interlude with Valentino and some tango theme music. Please hold.


Oh, how I would've loved to've shown him something in a size ME.
Let it be known, I'm happily married. But, it's Rudolph Valentino who comes to mind on V-day. He was so incredibly gorgeous, with his masculine, chiseled good looks that, given the opportunity, I would've boiled his boxers and headdress to make tea.

Okay, fantasy trip is coming in for a landing. Crash.

Anyway, so far, I’ve baked a cake, I’ve molded chocolates, and I've also made a batch of my favorite brownies.



And, I figured, if a little chocolate is good for me, then a lot of chocolate must be better, right? Okay. So I glazed these fudgy little bites with more chocolate.


Overkill? Nonsense! As Moliere once said, “We die only once, and for such a looooong time.”




Btw, fondant wings were attached to the back of the hearts with a dot of royal icing. Melted chocolate would also work, but it will take longer to set up.

For the topiary cake, I made the flower pot using my sour cream pound cake recipe, which were baked in 3 8-inch square pans, instead of a Bundt pan. The topiary heart was made by tinting half a recipe of Rice Krispies treats dark green, and shaping it into a heart while mixture was still warm. You can do this by hand, or you can pack the mixture into a small heart-shaped pan and pop it out the pan onto parchment paper, but, leave the heart uncovered while it cools.



I wanted the topiary to have the look of ivy, so instead of rice krispies, I used corn flakes.

But, for a mossy look, rice krispies would be ideal. And, while still warm, I pushed two wooden skewers through the bottom of the heart, to insert into the cake later.
This is also important, I used a bit less than half of the rice krispies treats mixture. This kept the heart from being too top heavy. So keep that in mind, if you try this.

The cake was covered in vanilla buttercream. The roses, leaves, butterfly and ribbons were all made of gum paste.

If you’re short on time, but still want to make something that will impress your sweet Valentine, get yourself a pretty candy mold and mold your own chocolates. This is quick, and if you can melt chocolate, infallible.
Gild the lily by dusting your molded chocolates with edible gold luster dust.



Don't you love that pink glass heart? It's a vintage little box by Fenton. So dainty and feminine, unlike me. Maybe that's why I love it.

Here are the recipes used for the cake, as well as the brownies.


Sour Cream Pound Cake

1 cup unsalted butter
3 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups cake flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°F. Cream butter and sugar until light, 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture and sour cream, alternately to creamed mixture (beginning and ending with flour mixture) Beat after each addition, Add vanilla extract. Pour in prepared Bundt pan*, and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

*I used 3 8-inch square pans, which were parchment paper lined.



Supernatural Brownies.

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon instant espresso (I used Medaglia D’oro)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional

One 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan, buttered and lined with buttered parchment.

1. Set a rack at the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350°F.

2. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and turn off heat. Combine butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over pan of water. Stir occasionally until melted.

3. Whisk eggs together in a large bowl, then whisk in salt, sugars, instant espresso and vanilla. Stir in chocolate and butter mixture, then fold in flour. Add the chopped nuts last, if using.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until top has formed a shiny crust and batter is moderately firm. Cool in pan on a rack. Wrap pan in plastic wrap and keep at room temperature overnight.

5. To cut brownies, unmold onto a cutting board, remove paper, and replace with another cutting board. Turn cake right side up. Cut brownies into 2-inch squares. Makes twenty-four brownies. Adapted from Nick Malgieri's Chocolate.

The brownie hearts were glazed with, what else, more chocolate. Oh, like you weren't thinking it.
It's a well-known fact that I can't function without chocolate. I'd rather share a needle with Amy Winehouse and bid adieu to this cruel world than live without chocolate. So, yeah, you could say I like the stuff.


As for the paper roses, well, most of you know, I was not blessed with a green thumb, so I've compensated over the years, by making my own roses from mediums such as gumpaste, marzipan, buttercream and even chocolate clay.

But, check this out! I made Paper Roses (cue Marie Osmond's song).



I had a stack of sheet music I just couldn't part with, but I didn't know what to do with it either. Then, I remembered my mom showing me how to make crepe paper roses when I was a kid. And a new use for sheet music was born!
I'm so tickled with this new project. I also made roses using coffee filters (see white rose above). I could've tinted the petals, but, I sort of liked it plain.

These roses I give to you, my dear friends...



And may you all get poked by Cupid's arrow this Valentine's Day!
"I know I'm looking forward to getting poked." that's what she said.

29 comments:

  1. every piece is breath taking. your creativity never stops, i am always in awe of you talents... delicate, romantic, EDIBLE, can it get any better?! and the topiary is the pinnacle for me, just a breath of heavenly edible air~

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  2. I can say it enough: Beautiful! Clever way of using the music and I love the hearts with wings :)! Have a Happy Valentine's!

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  3. I cannot bear to live through this yr w/out making music roses.:)
    Your post stole my heart~
    Can I say more?
    The wings? I will try!!!!
    I used to LOVE The Osmond's show:)

    Super beau Soleil!

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  4. Don't know what to say except I'm in awe of your talent, dear one. No wonder you have not posted in awhile ... this must have taken the entire month to create. Your edible art, mouthwatering, and your paper rose, touching that you remembered the gift from your mother. (I thought I was the only one to have a crush on Rudolph Valentino and love the tango ... Astor Piazzolla I am sure pumps your heart as mine). A beautiful post and Valentine gift. To those of us who honor you as a artist, writer, and 'sweet' treasure ... thank you. Happy Valentine's Day!

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  5. I am not nearly so eloquent - all I want to say is "oh my, how very, very beautiful" and "will the green dye on the cornflakes make my mouth turn green?"

    Sol, you were worth waiting for.

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  6. Oh plllllease let me get poked on V-day too!

    Sol, that's some awesome cake! I was poking (see?) through my old Wilton lesson books last night and reminiscing. I need to play more with fondant and gumpaste. It's been too long.

    Could you post instructions on how to make those paper roses? GORGEOUS!

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  7. Wow, you guys are gonna turn me into a giant bobblehead talking like that.


    Jain, with your green thumb, I get the feeling your property is surrounded by beautiful, living topiaries.
    I used to have a heart-shaped topiary years ago, it didn't last long under my care, but anyway, that's where the inspiration came from.

    Sophie, I'm just happy I found a good use for all that sheet music, and it looks like paper roses will be a new (to me)crafty endeavor. I'm going to experiment and see what other flowers will work with this type of paper.

    Mon ami Monique, don't look now, but your romantic side is showing.
    Your comment is more like a lovely haiku. Merci!

    Well, my sweet Joey, you're too dear to me to fight you over a man ... even if it is Valentino.
    Oh, no. I feel another interlude coming on.
    Anyway, you're going to slap me silly when I confess to you that I had to Google Astor Piazzolla.
    Oh please, forgive. I'm sorry I had never heard of him. But now, I intend to learn more about this fascinating artist.

    Annie, you crack me up. I wasn't planning on eating the topiary, mainly because it gets rock-hard after a few days. But I'm willing to bet it would turn your mouth green.
    Not a smile you'd want to flash to your beloved on Valentine's Day, unless your love for each other is truly unconditional. :-D


    Well Kathy, don't look at me!
    But, I'll put in a good word for you. And hope you'll get poked too, but not before you've been wined and dined.

    And, I'll be glad to post detailed instructions for the rose, or just email it to all of you guys who are interested.
    I found a couple of tutorials online, but I couldn't use their instructions, because the type of paper I used was glossy and too stiff to work, using their method.
    So my technique is a little unorthodox, but it worked for me. I will take step by step pictures of the ones I'm doing next, for you guys.


    Thank you my friends. And Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

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  8. Wow, you are really creative! Everything looks perfect, incredibly beautiful and fantastically delicious! Mindblowing! You are an artist!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  9. Thanks for visiting...not sure if I can even eat this stuff...art transcending food!

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  10. Those treats all look good!

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  11. Your valentine's bakes and props are so elegant, such a treat just to see them (though I would prefer to taste them hehe). My faves: the choc in the glass pink heart, the choc with wings, and the paper rose u made =)

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  12. Thank you all very, very kindly!

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  13. So pretty, Sol..
    An edible topiary, well I'll eat my hat..(Oh I know you will do that for Easter!)
    Lovely post, Sol..
    And when I meet Annie, if she has green teeth, I will know she didn't come back to read your response!! :)
    Happy ♥ day, to you and your sweethearts!

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  14. Marysol, you are a true artist! Every one is so elegant and peaceful.

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  15. Marysol, I am so glad that you visited my blog. It was a delight to follow the link here to your gorgeous pictures and brilliant creations. Absolutely stunning!

    Happy Valentine's Day!

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  16. Well of course you've been busy, you crazy woman :) That's one hell of a Valentine's spread. Thank you for the musical roses, but I'd much rather have some chocolate on chocolate action. For medicinal purposes, of course. Hack, hack.

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  17. Sol, once again you've outdone yourself! I thought I posted but my computer must be screwy. but how can you say overkill and chocolate in the same post? Absolutely fantastic!

    Happy Valentine's Day!

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  18. Just me again, Toots! Could not let the day pass with heartfelt hugs from your biggest fan wishing you a beautiful Valentine's Day!

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  19. What wonderful Valentine treats!

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  20. Oh Kathleen, there won’t be any Easter hats. Done that. But I have no clue what I’ll do this year. Inspire me.
    Btw, if you’re planning on seeing WoodieAnnie soon, please give that lovable chick a hug for me, green teeth and all. We'll just have to keep in mind, it's what's on the inside that counts.


    Jessica, I’m blushing big time, but I’ll just have to learn to deal with it. [g]


    Ceres, your glistening jelly jars were what drew me to your blog, which is nothing short of wonderful. Thank you for visiting.


    Dee my dear, I’m nodding supportively; you make the dark (chocolate) side fun!


    Oh Carol, I must‘ve been typing while stupid. Even under [chocolate] rehab, I’m still wrong.


    My dear Joey, what a little slice of Heaven you are! Thank you my friend.


    Hi there chocolate temptress Nic!


    I trust you all had a wonderfully-romantic, and chocolatey, Valentine’s Day!

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  21. Ann, I almost missed your comment. Thank you WW!

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  22. I love the look of the rice crispy topiary! It looks incredible!

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  23. Wow those brownies look great! What kind of mold did you use?

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  24. Everything looks amazing. Including the paper roses. I am in -complete- awe! :)

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  25. Marc, I used a (6-cavity) heart pan, made by Hartstone Pottery.
    I've had this pan a few years, but I thought I'd have no trouble finding a source for this exact product.
    I'm sorry to say that, after a thorough search, I came up empty; I certainly hope you'll have better luck than me.


    Hi Y, and thank you!

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  26. I love the little hearts with the wings. How cute are they!! I have to bookmark!

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  27. Sorry Maggie, I must've missed your comment before.
    Btw, I love rice krispies' versatility; it can be molded into any shape and it's a favorite with kids, and the not-so-young [g].

    Thank you both, Maggie and Chuck!

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  28. What a treat to come home from vacation and find your beautiful post! Lovely from A to Zee Paper Roses ;)

    For some reason I was having trouble posting here the past couple of days!

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