Need to whip up a big batch of treats for the classroom holiday party or bring a beautiful plate to your holiday cookie exchange? Don’t worry - I’ve got you covered. Wait ‘til you see these no-bake takes on holiday treats + a little add-on bonus: upscale dinner party butter.
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Let me confess my biggest revelation, aka “shortcut tip”, in these sugar arts projects...I used store-bought cookies. Y’all - I need to save time around the holidays - don’t you?
There’s a quick video tutorial that goes with these instructions and you can watch it below to see me in action. You might find some visual insight to inspire you. Or, just scroll on down to continue with all the supplies I used and the written instructions.
HERE’S EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO DECORATE & MAKE THE NO-BAKE HOLIDAY TREATS
Butter @ room temperature
Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate for melting
Wilton Fondant - 1 pkg
Wilton Gum Paste - 1 pkg
Confectioners (powdered) Sugar
Pecan Sandies (or similar store-bought cookies)
IOD Decor Mould (Your choice)
Glass measuring cup
Double Boiler for melting chocolate
Baking sheets (2)
Small drink glass
TRANSFORMING GOBS OF GUM PASTE
Start your project by making the box of Wilton Gum Paste, mixing per package directions. Mine came out a bit hard and dense so I added water to soften the gum paste. And that makes it sticky - a marshmallow consistency.
No worries - grab the powdered sugar and spoon a mound onto your work surface. By the way, I use a large cutting board as the work surface - but you can use a smooth countertop if you have one. You’ll be working the powdered sugar into the gum paste to sweetly remove all the stickiness.
Start with a small to medium ball of gum paste and knead it in your hand for several minutes to get it pliable and soft. Then place it down on the mound of powdered sugar and roll it around and go back to gently kneading the ball.
Continue this process of kneading and adding more powdered sugar until its lost the sticky feeling. It feels a lot like you’re working with clay. During the process, any time you feel a bit of stickiness, add more powdered sugar.
BRING ON THE IOD MOULD
Now dust your mold with more powdered sugar and pull off a small piece of gum paste - about as much as will fit into the palm of your hand. Start pushing it into the mould, using one hand to hold the gum paste in while pushing with the fingers of the other hand to get the gum paste into all the crevices and edges of your mould.
PRO TIP: make sure you reserve molds you’ll use to make food for that purpose only. If you use a mold for a resin project and go back to create food - it will not be safe to eat.
Once you’ve got all the gum paste into the molds, brush the backs with more powdered sugar. Then pop the casting out by turning the mold over and slowly rolling back an edge of the mold. The casting should come out easily but don’t panic if there’s stickiness - it’s the nature of the gum paste.
Separate the castings into two sets and set them aside. Scrape the remaining powdered sugar on the work surface into a mound and clear it away.
IT’S ALWAYS TIME TO ADD CHOCOLATE
Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler. When it’s perfectly smooth and liquified, bring it over to the work surface. Spoon chocolate into half of the mold images you used - filling about ⅓ to ½ full.
Now take the gum paste castings you removed from these molds and fit them back in on top of the chocolate. Reserve the other group of gum paste castings for the next step.
When I layered the gum paste on top of the chocolate, I realized one of the castings had stretched out from the original size, but I moved forward, laying it on top of the chocolate and patting it into the mold. I didn’t try to fit it back inside the edges of the image - don’t worry about that.
Now take your mold, place it on a cookie sheet, and put it into the freezer for a few minutes.
MOVING ONTO FONDANT FUN
Clear up the work surface so you can start over with the fondant, just keep the gum paste casting you set aside handy. Make the box of Wilton Fondant per the package directions.
Grab the cornstarch and spoon it across the work surface as you would flour when making a pie crust. The cornstarch will reduce the stickiness of the fondant as the powdered sugar did for the gum paste.
Take your rolling pin (I’m using the one I’ve had for ten forevers) and about a third of the fondant you mixed up. Place the fondant onto the cornstarch surface and use the rolling pin to smooth it into a 5” - 6” circle (again - like pie crust.)
I checked out the mold casting sizes using a Pecan Sandie to eyeball the size of casting I wanted to create. I’m ok if the casting spills off the edge of the cookie a bit - but not a lot. I selected the best size image to begin filling with the fondant.
But first, I took a small glass using it as a cookie cutter to cut out a small circle from the larger fondant “pie crust” circle. My glass was a bit big, but I cut out the fondant and wrapped it around a cookie. For the excess fondant, I wrapped it around the sides of the cookie and removed the excess from the bottom.
Now take the gum paste castings you set aside and the melted chocolate. Paint the bottom of one casting with the chocolate and it will act as the glue to hold the casting onto the cookie - but it will taste much better than glue!
And there you have it - a no-bake, beautifully decorated holiday cookie! But wait - there’s more.
Dust a mold with cornstarch. Pinch off a bit of the fondant and smoosh it into the mold, holding it down with one hand as you push the fondant in with the other. It’s sticky, but persevere - you’ll be glad you did. Once the mold is full, turn the mold over and the fondant castings will fall right out.
Paint the top of some of the Pecan Sandies - or your cookie choice - with more melted chocolate. Now place the fondant castings on top of the chocolate-covered cookie. The fondant will adhere to the chocolate as it dries.
Continue decorating with your own creative flair. You can use the edible food coloring gels to add extra holiday elements to your cookies - you do you!
EASY HOLIDAY TREAT
Did you know you were making a sweet, dark chocolate holiday candy when you popped those molds into the freezer? Time to unveil your creation by removing the cookie sheet holding the mold filled with gum paste.
Let the mold sit at room temperature for 3-5 minutes to warm up a bit before you attempt to remove the castings. If not, they’ll crack - ask me how I know this…
Once the castings are out - you will have gorgeous and yummy, one-side chocolate-covered holiday treats.
DESIGNER BUTTER PATS FOR HOLIDAY DINNER
We’re going to leave the sugar but keep the IOD Moulds handy for this last project. So clear your work surface and get out the room temperature butter.
Clean the mold you want to use if you’ve been using it for the gum paste or fondant projects. Next, grab a small spatula that will give you some flexibility and get busy smoothing the butter into the molds.
Don’t worry about any butter that gets onto the outer surface of the mold. Remember, these are no-bake projects. Just fill in all the mold images you want with the butter and imagine how they’ll look on a serving plate at dinner.
Once the mold is filled, place it on a baking sheet and move it to the freezer. Leave it for about 15 minutes. Then remove the baking sheet and let it sit at room temperature for another 3-5 minutes before removing the castings.
Now turn the mold upside down and roll back the edge of the mold slowly. The butter castings will fall out. You can refreeze these for a day or two and bring them to room temperature again before serving.
How’s that for Easy Fancy?!?
FINAL TIPS FOR YOU
Practice. Go through the steps of working with each of these products, the fondant, gum paste, chocolate, and butter, before you need to show them to the public. You need to get the feel for them and how to get them into and out of the molds. Or how they feel when you knead them, adding the powdered sugar.
Then decide what your cookie will be - and don’t worry about using ready-made. Your audience will be Dewey-eyed over the amazing decorations and they’ll taste more than yummy.
One last thing - share what you make with me! I’ll take a picture, though, don’t worry about sticking a cookie in the mail.