Ok kids, it’s story time!
Wayyyyy back in the spring of 2020 (when we thought this pandemic would be over before Easter - HA!) my Man Candy™ was told by the US government that he [we] would be moving to San Francisco.
Not only did that news make me insanely happy, but it also gave me something to look forward to during those dark beginning-of-the-worldwide-pandemic days. That filled my little event planning heart with joy!
One of the things that I started planning was my 35th birthday for August of 2021. Our early days of pandemic naïveté had me believing that a year and a half later, things would definitely be back to “normal” and that my friends would be able to gather with me to celebrate. It seems that I had wayyyy too much faith in the idea that we would conquer the plague (it must have been the use of that common phrase that led me on.)
Anyway, I had my heart set on asking all of my girlfriends to fly in from around the country to spend a weekend tasting wine on a train that travels all throughout wine country to celebrate my birthday. I talked about it non-stop. I told all of my friends about it. I was SO excited.
But we all know why those hopes and dreams got smashed.
However, my Man Candy™ gave me this super cool birthday present for my 35th. I guess he didn’t want me to suffer too much disappointment from not being able to enact my birthday plans. He gave me a fun, albeit incredibly nerdy, experience that I’ll never forget: a Harry Potter themed murder mystery on a wine train through Napa. It was so much fun and it was an EXCELLENT kick off to my spooky season.
The other way I kicked off spooky season was to dedicate all of my October baking to Harry Potter themes again this year. I’m also planning to film an episode of Baking and Boozing with one of my spookiest girlfriends this week where we will make Harry Potter themed treats and drinks, so stay tuned!
This week’s spooky treat is another “Letter Cake”, much like my birthday cake was, but this one is covered with Harry Potter symbolism. I traced the Harry Potter “HP” symbol out on parchment paper and shaped my cookie dough tiers on top of the image that I drew. I had lots of berries in my fridge and my brain kept saying, “chantilly cake, but make it Harry Potter”, so I piled all of my berries on top of the creamy frosting I piped before adding my second tier. I decorated the top with a bunch of HP symbols that I mostly piped from vanilla candy melts.
There was the peanut butter ball that I coated with candy melts and piped decor, then painted gold by hand and attached silver wings that I piped onto toothpicks- the Golden Snitch.
Next was the sorting hat that I made from extra dough and hand dipped into brown candy melts, with a small black piped accent.
Then was the Deathly Hallows symbol, that was free hand piped from dark red candy melts.
And there were the lightning bolt cookies that I also hand piped dark red decor onto.
Of course, Harry’s glasses needed to make an appearance so I baked two tiny round cookies and dipped them in black candy melts, then piped the arms of the glasses to set beside them.
Lastly were the two envelopes carrying Hogwarts acceptance letters, that were also hand dipped in candy melts and decorated with a simple cinnamon candy.
I have been on a HUGE sprinkles kick lately so I topped the cake off with gold pearls and chocolate jimmies, and photographed it until my heart was content.
Now, all of these toppings were piped with candy melts from a parchment piping bag. This is one of the very first things that my chefs taught us to make in pastry school, and I am going to share a video of how to make them. These are typically used for chocolate or candy melt details, and are much easier than trying to handle a plastic piping bag full of melted chocolate. So for today’s Tip of the Week, here is a lesson in parchment piping bags.
First, cut your parchment into a right triangle. I used very small ones today since I only needed a small amount of chocolate for my details, but use larger ones if needed.
Next hold your parchment triangle in your non-dominant hand, pinching the top third of the hypotenuse (the long side across from the right angle).
With your dominant hand, grab the angle of the hypotenuse above your hand and pull it down to wrap the paper into a cone shape, allowing the angle in your dominant hand to meet the right angle.
Pinch them together while sliding your non-dominant hand down the remaining distance of the hypotenuse, while rotating the forming cone shape.
Guide the very bottom angle of the hypotenuse up toward the opening of the cone and fold the tip over the edge to complete the cone.
And if that was thoroughly confusing to you as it was to me the first 200 times I tried to make a paper cone, please watch this video below for demonstrations.
Additionally, here is a slideshow of my absolute blast of an evening with my fellow Harry Potter nerds!
Happy eating, y’all!
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