Wednesday, July 7, 2010

bon voyage

One of our teachers is retiring this year. Bob is an avid boater & water skier. When our school first opened, some of the office ladies spruced up the chicks' staff bathroom with some sunflowers, bird houses, and picket fencing. Not to be outdone, Bob brought in a bunch of water gear ~ surf board, life jacket, etc. for the boys' bathroom. For the record, yes, I have seen it.

When the time came for the staff to plan Bob's retirement party, a nautical theme was really the only choice. Second grade was charged with desserts. The office manager found some cute stuff for us online.  Originally, we were going to have anchor & sailboat sugar cookies and cupcakes with life preservers. Then one day during a grade level meeting things got all topsy turvy because we couldn't find the cookie cutters on short notice, so we switched. Some made life preserver sugar cookies dipped in water chocolate. Suzanne and I were assigned cupcake duty. Because of scheduling issues, I ended up doing them myself.

Let me tell you that when I first thought of this task, I was thinking that it would be a piece of cake. Fondant? Never used it before in my life? No worries, I can handle it. How hard could it be?

As the time got closer and closer to actually making the cupcakes, I seriously wondered what sort of coma I was in when I agreed to this. People take classes to learn how to do this. All I did was consult my friend, Alana, on how to go about dyeing and handling the fondant.

It was not an easy job ~ there were snags along the way. As I was cutting out the pieces for the sails they were drying up. So I covered them with a damp paper towel. Then the paper towel dried and they stuck to the paper towel! Except I didn't realize this until I finished cutting out the blue discs and was ready to assemble.  A wash of panic rushed over me and he almost ended up with just blue frosted cupcakes ~ just the water. Luckily I was able to spritz the towels with water and they came off just fine. Crisis averted.

Fifty cupcakes later, they turned out pretty cute from twenty feet away. I am still critical about the close up view, however.

When I retold my experience to Alana, she mentioned using Crisco on your hands to cut down the stickiness and to moisten the fondant. Crisco? That's right, she did tell me that in our first conversations. I was using corn starch the way you use flour when rolling out cookies or pie crust. I'm sure that didn't contribute at all to the dryness, right? Ahem.

As Greg's dad says, "What did you learn from this?" I don't know if fondant is for me. But I won't rule it out in the future.

Maybe I should take a class....

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