Monday, August 6, 2012

Tappits Cutters and Flattened Marshmallows

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Today's post by Sweetopia about Tappits cutters reminded me of a tip I've been meaning to share with all of you for ages. Thanks for the unintended nudge Marian! I'd have gotten to it eventually. Maybe. But let's just finish this up while you're already here, shall we?

In her post, Marian talks about what worked best for her when using various edible mediums with Tappits cutters for perfect lettering. As she discovered, some of the possibilities ended up being more yummy than others. Be sure to check out Sweetopia's site for great tips on this and TONS of other fabulous cookie and baking ideas!

Being somewhat of a baking non-conformist and a tad bit impatient, a while back I created a really delicious and EASY alternative to making your own gum paste or waiting for fondant to dry out a bit before cutting the shapes out. Flattened marshmallows! Soft, stretchy, tasty and extremely forgiving. I like that in a marshmallow. Even if you happen to stretch them out a little when removing them from the cutters, they magically jump back into shape. Almost like they're saying, "TA-DAA!!!" Most food speaks to me. How about you? Not so much? Fine. Moving on . . . 

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This method was used for the letters by one of my very young baking students. She chose to place them on the side of the plate rather than on the cake to keep the design for her grandmother's birthday less busy. Great job Priscilla! The Funky Alphabet Lower Case cutters used here are by fmm with more info available through their site.

Many instructions for using Tappits cutters show to use them cookie cutter style by pressing them into the fondant or gum paste. INSTEAD, place the flattened marshmallow on TOP of the cutters cutting edge and use a small rolling pin to roll over the top of the marshmallow until the edges of the cutter are exposed and the cut is clean. Using a small pin or toothpick to remove the cut shape works well here. Especially since marshmallows are so stretchy and the pin mark will mostly disappear.

You also don't need to worry about getting the marshmallows as thin as suggested for other mediums since they kind of puff back up a little even when you try to flatten them. (ta-daa!) As you can see in the photos, the marshmallow letters and stars are no where near "paper thin" or "see through" as some instructions advise.

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I used the same method for covering my twice baked, Hidden Stars / Let Freedom Ring cake when I was so excited to get it done and cut into the hidden stars inside that I didn't want to take extra time for a fancy outside. Darned impatient trait rearing its ugly head again! The white stars are marshmallows and the colored ones are the same soft sugar cookies as those used on the inside. Instead of Tappits, a regular metal cookie cutter was used. You can see how to do the hidden stars here if you'd like to give it a try.

Such a quick and fun way to cover a cake instead of worrying if your butter cream or fondant looks perfect enough! The pillowy soft mouthful of marshmallow yumminess also goes very well with most flavors. You may want to consider adding this technique to your bag of tricks for the next time you're wondering what to do with the exterior of your latest creation but just don't have time for fancy-schmancyness. For smaller cookies, use the same cutter as used for cutting the cookie dough shape and top your cookie with a perfect little marshmallow layer atop a thin layer of frosting. If you like that sort of thing.

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Tappits cutters come in such a wide array of shapes that its easy to match shapes or a lettering style to your theme. Another option for lettering and shapes cutters are Patchwork Cutters by Marion Frost. Okay, too weird. I just mentioned two different spellings of women named Marian or Marion in the same post. Strange coincidence but I'm going with it. Hey! Just remembered that I got to watch Marion giving demos at the Global Sugar Art booth at ICES this weekend. Too much fun for such a short time. Loved listening to her accent while she 'splained what she was doing. Her tips will come in handy for the cutters I've gathered over the years from her great line. Lots of tiny details in them.

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They also come in lots of shapes and sizes besides the fun fonts and numbering styles. Other companies offer similar types of cutters so do your online shopping homework and find the ones that want to live with you.

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Back to the marshmallows . . .  I used StackerMallows marshmallows from Kraft originally meant for s'mores. Until I got my hands on them. Poor things have yet to touch a graham cracker or cozy up to some melted chocolate in my house. Wonder if Kraft ever dreamed of putting a cookie or any other type of cutter except for teeth through these sweet little rectangles . . . I found them at Walmart and I hope you can too. You will heart them very much.

Using a generous dusting of powdered sugar on your cutters and then dipping or dusting the exposed cut marshmallow edge will help prevent sticking and reseal the shapes to keep them fresh and soft. Granulated sugar or colored sanding sugar can be used in place of powdered sugar for this step if you want to add another fun design element or a dash of color to the cut edges. This concept is the same as those cute marshmallow flowers you may have seen where the marshmallows are cut with scissors and then dipped in colored sugars.

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I flattened the StackerMallows with a pasta machine before cutting them out for two reasons: ease of cutting and more yield per marshmallow. Worked great! No mixing of fondant or gum paste or waiting to dry. Just flatten, cut, apply, admire. Continue. If you are using a regular cookie cutter and it is smaller than the rectangle or if you want a thicker shape, you can skip the rolling out part. The pasta attachment on a KitchenAid also works well if you happen to own one.

Oh, and the scraps make a tasty snack or you can save them for Rice Krispie treats later on. Just throw them into an airtight container until you need them. That is, if you have any left after the snacking part.

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StackerMallows can also be rolled with a rolling pin to flatten them if you don't have a manual or KitchenAid pasta thingy. Takes a tiny bit longer but the result is the same. This option would be great for little ones that want to help but aren't quite ready for heavy machinery. So when they holler, "I help!" while you're baking, you can give them this little portion of the work load to assist you. Many hands make light work, even if they're tiny.

The shapes can be cut well in advance of when you plan to use them and stored in a single layer in an airtight container or Ziploc type bag. Just be sure that all of the cut edges have been sealed with powdered sugar and they shouldn't stick together. A bit of powdered sugar on the rolling pin or outside of the StackerMallow before it goes into the pasta machine helps ensure that any gummy parts won't stick to the roller.

Have fun playing in the kitchen!

No compensation has been received for promotion or use of any products or companies mentioned here.
Just me spouting off about things I want to share with you. : )

3 comments:

Brant Cookies said...

I have got to try this! I think marshmallows would taste so yummy and less expensive than gum paste. Thanks for such a great idea!

Marian (Sweetopia) said...

Another brilliant idea! Thanks so much for sharing and linking up! xo

kelliemurray said...

I have tried to follow you on Pinterest but your button is no good. =/