Disclaimer: The reviewer has received the product/service at a reduced price or for free. I am being compensated to participate in #Switch2Swerve challenge through the Bookieboo Influencer Network . I will switch out my regular sweetener to Swerve Sweetener from November 18, 2013 through December 20, 2013. All opinions are my own and are my honest opinions based on my own experience with the product.
Several years ago I sugar flowers caught my eye. I was interested back then in learning how to make them, but never took the time. Tonight the time was finally right for me to learn to make orchid sugar flowers – and in the days ahead I will try making roses and other types of sugar flowers as well. The technique – which I thought at first would be super complicated – is really quite easy. Shaping the flowers was also easy – as was the coloring – but since I grow orchids, I know what they look like in real life. I could not imagine doing this project and not being familiar with what the flowers look like in real life. Adding colors not mentioned in the tutorial to make them look more lifelike gave my flowers an edge. I also did not concentrate on making them perfect – because as I’m told over and over again – flowers in real life have flaws.
Anyway, here is how I made my first three sugar flowers. I quit after making three so they could dry and I could reflect on the process. I am sure I will fine tune it some as I go along, but I think that is something most cake decorators do anyway. Cake decorating is as much as about art as it is technique in my opinion.
Wilton Gum Paste Mix
Swerve Confectioners’ Sugar
Wilton Pearl Dust (assorted colors)
Gum Paste Flower Cutter – just the orchid cutter is fine
Flower shaping foam
Flower impression set for orchids
Flower forming set
Gum paste tool set
Gum paste storage board
Directions For Making Gum Paste:
1. Begin by making the gum paste using the directions on the can – unless you bought pre-made gum paste. I used my bread machine to knead the gum paste but you can do it by hand or use the bread attachment on a mixer. Here is how I did it.
2. I added the Wilton Gum Paste Mix to the bread machine.
3. I added 1/4 cup of water to the gum paste mix.
4. I set my bread machine to the dough only cycle and turned it on making sure to leave the lid open.
5. I watched the gum paste carefully as it was kneaded to make sure I didn’t need to add a few extra drops of water. Sometimes you do depending on temperature and location.
6. Once the gum paste was well mixed, I turned the machine off, shut the lid and let it rest for 15 minutes.
7. When the 15 minutes was up, I added 1/3 cup Swerve Confectioners’ Sugar and allowed the machine to continue on the dough cycle until all the Swerve was mixed into the gum paste. I left the lid up. This prevents the machine from cooking the mixture.
8. I turned off the bread machine at this point and removed the ball of gum paste. I hand kneaded any loose dough into the ball. It should be soft – but not sticky. If it is sticky, add a touch more Swerve and knead it into mixture.
9. Place the gum paste ball into a plastic baggie, press the air out and seal the baggie.
10. Set the bag aside if you intend to use it now because you want the gum paste to be room temperature.
11. If you intend to store it for longer than a week, refrigerate it. It will keep for up to 6 weeks. You can also freeze gum paste.
Directions For Making Orchid Sugar Flowers:
1. Pinch off a very tiny amount of gum paste. Use your hands to roll it into a log that is about 1/4 inch long.
2. Press your finger into one end of the log to flatten it. Use a thin knife from the gum paste tool kit to draw a thin line from the flattened end to the tip of the log.
3. Roll a tiny ball and use the same tool as above to draw a line through the center. This is the flowers stamen – or the part that contains the pollen in nature.
4. Using a mixture of 1 Tablespoon water and 1 Tablespoon Swerve Sweetener, paint one side of the stamen and press it into the log. Be sure the flattened side of the log is not the side you paste the stamen to.
5. Brush the stamen with a yellow colored pearl dust. Leave the log white.
6. Roll out a small piece of the gum paste that is 1/16 inch thick. I rolled mine out onto cornstarch dusted wax paper. I folded the wax paper so both sides of the gum paste were covered with it.
7. Cut out the throat of the orchid and put it into the gum paste storage board.
8. Roll out another small piece of gum paste that is 1/16 inch thick.
9. Cut out three narrow petals and two wide petals and place them into the gum paste storage board as well.
10. Dust the flower impression board with cornstarch.
10. Remove the orchid throat from the gum paste storage board and place it on the flower impression board. Be sure you choose one that does orchids.
11. Lay the flower forming foam on top of the orchid throat and press lightly. This imprints the throat of the orchid.
12. Remove the orchid throat and lay it on the flower forming foam. Using a round gum paste tool, gently press the edges of the orchid throat to soften them.
13. Brush the back of the stamen pieces with the Swerve water and position them in the center of the throat at the narrow end.
14. Use a thin modeling stick or paint brush end to curl the edges of the orchid throat around the stamen.
15. Brush the orchid throat with the pearl dust and place it on the flower forming set to further shape it.
16. Remove the five orchid pieces from the gum paste storage board.
17. Brush the bottom of the petals with a yellow pearl dust, the upper edges with a pink pearl dust and the center of the petals with a white pearl dust and then lay them on the flower forming board. Allow the dust to sit on the flowers and dry.
18. Before the petals are completely dry, remove them from the flower forming board. Using a paint brush, dust the pearl dust off starting at the bottom of the orchid petal and working your way up. This blends the colors making the orchid look more lifelike.
19. Position the two narrow orchid petals at the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions. One of the narrow petals goes at the top between them and the other two petals go at the bottom.
20. Now that the petals are in position, select the top petal and paint the tip with the Swerve water. Lay the bottom of one of the narrow petals on top of the bottom of the upper petal. Using a round gum paste tool, gently press the petal tips together.
21. Now do the other narrow petal the same way. Paint the Swerve water on top, lay the petal edges together and press them into one another.
22. Next do the two bottom petals.
23. Now it is time to add the orchid throat. Lay it between the two bottom petals with the bottom edge pointing into the center of the flower that you already painted with Swerve water. Press the throat edge into the center area.
24. Use a spatula to move the flower onto the flower forming board and shape. Allow to dry and then attach the flowers to cakes, cookies or other confections.
Really, that’s all there is to it. If you’ve worked in clay you know how easy this is. The first time around it is naturally going to take longer. I would say I spent about three hours making three flowers. Each flower did assemble quicker as I went along. I was very slow making that first one plus I had limited space to work since I was working on my stove top. I really enjoyed making these and hope you will too.
Got tips to share? I’d love to hear them!
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Remember – Swerve measures out cup for cup just like sugar, so you don’t have to worry about doing any crazy math to figure out how to use it in your recipes.