Sunday, 26 January 2014

Black Lace Valentine Brownies

It seems a long time since I glammed up a brownie, so Valentine's Day would seem to be the ideal opportunity for some sophisticated glamorisation. These are dense fudge-y chocolate brownies covered with a pale sugar paste and then black lace make a lovely valentine surprise.  I always think of this as being a Paris colour scheme, the softest, pale peachy pink teamed with a matt sophisticated black lace. These brownies are based on an idea I used for these button bow cookies where I used the sugar veil lace mat as an embossing mat.

What you Need

To make these you need:

A batch of brownies baked with your favourite recipe. I used this recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery Book
A heart shaped cutter
Peachy pink sugar paste. I coloured mine with Wilton's creamy peach, you can get a similar colour with sugarflair's "paprika"
Black sugar lace. Mine is made using the ready coloured black cake lace mix and the original sugar veil mat. Check out this post for more about making cake lace.
Bow Mould. The one I used is Bow Set 4 by First Impressions.
A litte CMC / Tylose powder for making the bows (optional)

Baking and Cutting the Brownies

I baked half of my brownie mix in a square pan and the other half of the mix I used to make some bling valentine brownies, which are also decorated in this pale peachy pink colour, but with a little gold razzle dazzle instead of sophisticated black. The heart shapes were cut out of the large square brownie using a heart shaped cutter, it is easier to do this if you turn the square brownie upside down and cut from the bottom to the top. As the middle of the baked brownie does not usually rise as mush as the sides, you get the best shaped brownie if you cut them with the point towards the middle and the rounded end in the corner.

This brownie recipe is so chocolaty, I can almost smell the chocolate through the screen. This recipe makes a lovely dense fudge brownie and this denseness makes them ideal for decorating. I decorated mine the day I baked them, they will cut better if they are not quite so fresh and even better if you have time to put them in the fridge over night.

Covering the Brownies

Once the brownies are cut out, its time to cover with the peachy pink sugar paste. When working with a pale coloured sugar paste and dark chocolate brownies, it is best to roll out just as much as you think you will need each time as those little chocolate crumbs get everywhere and they just love to stick to your pale peachy pink sugar paste whenever they get the chance.

I used an icing smoother to help adhere the sugar paste to the brownie, just as you would if covering a conventional cake, then used a pizza wheel to cut around the base and trim off the excess sugar paste.

Now for the lace. Brush a little water over the sugar paste. I use a water brush for this, you should be able to find one in your local craft store, look for one with the water colour paints and equipment. Make sure it is only a little water. Too much and some of the black sugar lace might dissolve and bleed into the sugar paste. So, not a good look. You can always add a little more if the lace is not sticking.

Position the lace carefully, so that the pattern on the lace enhances the shape of the brownie. Use your hands or an icing smoother to adhere the lace on to the sugar paste and then trim with a sharp knife or pizza wheel.

I love the way that the texture on the sugar veil mat makes lace that looks like it is made from looped thread.

If you look closely, you can probably make out a couple of areas where I have not quite scraped enough lace off whilst I was making it. Whilst you can see this in the picture below, it isn't really noticeable on the actual brownies which are approximately 7.5 cm or 3 inches high.

Making the Bows

When designing these brownies, I was going to use the same bow that I used on the button bow cookies, hover, having got to this stage, I didn't want to cover up so much of that delectable lace, so opted instead for a smaller bow using this first impressions mould.

Separate a little of your peachy pink sugar paste and mix with a little of the tylose or CMC powder to help with the moulding process. If you haven't got any, use the ordinary sugar paste and put the mould in the freezer for about 15 minutes before un-moulding.

This mould works best if you start with a small sausage of sugar paste and sort of wind it into the mould. Take off any excess and smooth carefully all around the edges to make sure you get a good finish.

Pop out the finished bows. How sweet are these?

Brush a little water onto the underside of the bow and gently push the bow onto the top of the brownie.

That's all for today
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