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Chocolate Cutout Cookies (with Speckled Easter Egg Decorating Tutorial!)

Chocolate Cutout Cookies (with Speckled Easter Egg Decorating Tutorial!) by Wood and spoon. These are cocoa powder and butter cutout cookies that are simple and don't require softened butter. You can make and freeze these in advance and the icing is simple. No royal icing- just a yummy one bowl glaze. This splattered robin egg decorating technique is a great edible easter craft for kids. Learn how to make these at home on thewoodandspoon.com

Did you enter this period of quarantine with some butter and a hint of creativity? I’m really hoping so, because today I have a festive and kid-friendly Easter cookie tutorial that you will love. These chocolate cutout cookies are fairly simple and a great recipe to get your feet wet in the decorating arena with. If you have some free time this week (and let’s be honest, a lot of us have TONS lately), this is definitely a treat worth trying out.

Have you seen all the jokes on social media about Quarantine Karen? They basically poke fun at the overachieving Moms who are doing ALL THE THINGS with their kids while out of school during this time. The jokes are comical and rolls eyes at the excessive crafts, homeschooling rituals, and Super Mom tendencies that are emerging in the thick of all this home togetherness. The basic gist is that a handful of humans out there are really thriving in the home while there are others seriously struggling.

Chocolate Cutout Cookies (with Speckled Easter Egg Decorating Tutorial!) by Wood and spoon. These are cocoa powder and butter cutout cookies that are simple and don't require softened butter. You can make and freeze these in advance and the icing is simple. No royal icing- just a yummy one bowl glaze. This splattered robin egg decorating technique is a great edible easter craft for kids. Learn how to make these at home on thewoodandspoon.com

Memes and jokes aside, I want to let you know that it’s okay to be exactly who you are in this season. If you’re really struggling at home- maybe you’re buried under schoolwork, stressed under the circumstances, feeling lonely, or slowly going insane with a handful or stir-crazy kids- it’s okay. You can be exactly who you are in this moment, and you’re allowed to grieve and process this new normal in a way that feels healthy for you. On the other hand, if there is grace in your life right now to create and play and achieve and thrive in this season, embrace that too. You don’t need to shrink back or make yourself smaller because an internet full of memes is telling your personality or abilities are just way too much. You be you. We all have grace in our life for different seasons and settings, and it’s okay to flourish in some and be vulnerably in process in others. Make room for yourself, your friends, and the people you rub shoulders with on social media to be exactly who they are, and remember to be kind- to others and especially to yourself. You’re enough exactly how you are.

Chocolate Cutout Cookies (with Speckled Easter Egg Decorating Tutorial!) by Wood and spoon. These are cocoa powder and butter cutout cookies that are simple and don't require softened butter. You can make and freeze these in advance and the icing is simple. No royal icing- just a yummy one bowl glaze. This splattered robin egg decorating technique is a great edible easter craft for kids. Learn how to make these at home on thewoodandspoon.com

Some of you looking at this recipe for chocolate cutout cookies are already overwhelmed. Like, whose kids are going to cooperate in making decorated cookies at a time like this? Others are like, “YES! A new project!” Either way, please keep reading and consider making these. Granted, any cutout cookie is a bit of production, but these are about as simple as they can get. Lots of reward for the moderate amount of effort they require.

To make these chocolate cutout cookies, we start with a dough. Sugar and cold butter (yep, no softened butter needed here!) whips away in a stand mixer until the mixture comes together in a smooth consistency. Next comes eggs, vanilla, and the dry ingredients. Cocoa powder gives these chocolate cutout cookies their hint of flavor, which is overall not too rich and very kid-friendly. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and trim out shapes using cookie cutters, biscuit cutters, whatever. I didn’t have an egg cookie cutter, but I did have one shaped like a balloon, so I just accommodated. Don’t feel like these have to be perfectly egg-shaped- little circles would be just as cute.

Chocolate Cutout Cookies (with Speckled Easter Egg Decorating Tutorial!) by Wood and spoon. These are cocoa powder and butter cutout cookies that are simple and don't require softened butter. You can make and freeze these in advance and the icing is simple. No royal icing- just a yummy one bowl glaze. This splattered robin egg decorating technique is a great edible easter craft for kids. Learn how to make these at home on thewoodandspoon.com

Once the cookies are baked and cooled, stir together the icing and add color to it. I use Americolor food gels, but whatever you have on hand would be okay. Frosting consistency is the single more important factor in making a really pretty cookie, so be sure to pay close attention to the instructions there. My kids like to “paint” these cookies with some paintbrushes I have specifically for baking, but if you don’t have any unused paintbrushes on hand, just squirt the icing in the center of the cookie and spread it out with a small knife or spoon while it’s still wet. Get creative and know that it’s really okay if they’re not perfect.

For the splatter, cocoa powder and vanilla extract are stirred together into a slurry and flung at the cookie using a little pastry or basting brush. Pro tip: cover your work surface with wax or parchment paper before you do this, or you’ll be scrubbing little specks of cocoa powder off of EVERYTHING. These chocolate cutout cookies are the happiest little treats for this time of year, and I really hope you’ll consider making them. If you’re more interested in a traditional vanilla cookie, check out my favorite recipe here. Finally, on the off-chance that you’re reading about this recipe on the day I’m first sharing it, head over to my IG where I’ll be making them in my IG Stories. My friends at Winn-Dixie asked if I would show you all how to make them, so there’s going to be a little tutorial (kids included!) this afternoon. Happy baking and all my love to y’all. See you next week!

Chocolate Cutout Cookies (with Speckled Easter Egg Decorating Tutorial!) by Wood and spoon. These are cocoa powder and butter cutout cookies that are simple and don't require softened butter. You can make and freeze these in advance and the icing is simple. No royal icing- just a yummy one bowl glaze. This splattered robin egg decorating technique is a great edible easter craft for kids. Learn how to make these at home on thewoodandspoon.com

If you like these chocolate cutout cookies you should try:

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies
Easter Cake
Painted Sugar Cookies
Marbled Sugar Cookies
Meringue Cookies

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Chocolate Cutout Cookies (with Speckled Easter Egg Decorating Tutorial!)

Chocolate Cutout Cookies (with Speckled Easter Egg Decorating Tutorial!) by Wood and spoon. These are cocoa powder and butter cutout cookies that are simple and don't require softened butter. You can make and freeze these in advance and the icing is simple. No royal icing- just a yummy one bowl glaze. This splattered robin egg decorating technique is a great edible easter craft for kids. Learn how to make these at home on thewoodandspoon.com

These chocolate cutout cookies are soft and sweet and really simply to make at home. No royal icing required! Learn how to speckle the cookies like Easter eggs here too!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 120
  • Yield: About 40 Small Cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert
Scale

Ingredients

For the cookies:

  • 21/2 (350 gm) cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup malt chocolate powder
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (230 gm) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces.
  • 1 cup (200 gm) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the icing

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 36 tablespoons of whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the splatter:

  • 1/2 tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • 11/2 teaspoons of vanilla, plus more as needed

Instructions

To prepare the cookies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg and extract and cream until combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir on low just until combined.
  4. Dump the dough crumbles out on to a lightly floured surface and work together into one ball with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to just over 1/4″ thicken and use a medium sized cookie cutter to cut shapes. If the dough ever gets too soft, refrigerate briefly.
  5. Place shapes on a baking sheet and freeze briefly for about 5 minutes.
  6. Once chilled, bake in the preheated oven for 10-11 minutes, or until the edges are set, and cool on a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely prior to icing.

For the icing:

  1. Sift or whisk powdered sugar to remove lumps.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of the milk and the extract, whisking until combined. Continue to add milk until it is the right viscosity. You will want thicker frosting for piping. To test viscosity, run your whisk or a knife through the bowl of frosting- your frosting should slowly move back together until you can’t see any trace of the whisk any longer. This process should take about 10 seconds. If the frosting is too thick, it will not pool back together, and if it is too thin, it will pool back together too quickly. The ten second test doesn’t lie. Add more milk for a thinner icing and more powdered sugar if your icing becomes too thin.
  3. Cover tightly in a tupperware or with a wet paper towel if you are not using it immediately, as frosting will dry out and become clumpy. Whisk occasionally and add more milk if it becomes too thick.
  4. Fill piping bag halfway with sugar cookie frosting. Pipe borders around cookies, being careful to not get too close to the edge. Using a paint brush, “paint” frosting into the center of the cookie, filling in to the outside border. (For a good tutorial on this method, check out the Ina Garten video here) I typically will border and fill 4-5 cookies at a time. Continue this process until all the cookies are iced. Set aside for 3 hours, or until icing is set and dry. If you’re in a humid climate, you can use a small fan pointed at the cookies to help expedite this process.

To splatter your cookies:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon of the cocoa powder and the vanilla extract until a thin, watery slurry comes together.
  2. Hold your paint brush or natural bristle pastry brush at the base of the bristles. Squeeze, applying a small amount of pressure with your fingers to fan the brush slightly. Dip the tips of the brush in the cocoa/vanilla “paint” and find a spare corner of your covered work space to practice your splatter. While continuing to fan your brush with one hand, use the fingers of your other hand to lightly pull back the bristles and release. This will be a slingshot type of movement and will result in a splatter effect on your work surface. Once you’re confident with your speckling skills, move on to the cookies! Splatter away and allow to dry before storing. 

Mini Layer Cakes

Mini Layer Cakes by Wood and Spoon blog. These are tiny three layer pastel cakes perfect for parties, spring holidays, and Mother's Day. The small vanilla cakes are baked in a sheet pan and then frosted together with a simple American buttercream. The cakes are colored in pale easter colors and served as individual desserts. Perfect mini cake for two. Find the recipe and how to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

What do Anna Kendrick, Bruno Mars, and my three kids have in common with today’s recipe? They’re tiny and straight-up ADORABLE. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: fancy pants desserts like these mini layer cakes are my favorite. With soft pastel colors and a pint-sized stature, these little vanilla cakes are a happy treat to share with others. No, this isn’t the most social time of our lives (given the worldwide circumstances), but I’ve never known a time where people need love a little more. Maybe love them via cake?

Mini Layer Cakes by Wood and Spoon blog. These are tiny three layer pastel cakes perfect for parties, spring holidays, and Mother's Day. The small vanilla cakes are baked in a sheet pan and then frosted together with a simple American buttercream. The cakes are colored in pale easter colors and served as individual desserts. Perfect mini cake for two. Find the recipe and how to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

I’ve been wanting to create a tutorial for simple mini layer cakes on this site for a while. I’ve hesitated because I really didn’t want to provide some set of instructions that required you to buy a ton of mini cake pans, cake rings, or other unnecessary equipment. I finally tooled around with a sheet pan cake and found that the layers, when trimmed out with a cookie cutter and briefly frozen prior to frosting, are actually pretty decent to work with. These mini layer cakes aren’t insanely easy to make, but with a smidge of patience you can totally do this. Scout’s Honor.

Mini Layer Cakes by Wood and Spoon blog. These are tiny three layer pastel cakes perfect for parties, spring holidays, and Mother's Day. The small vanilla cakes are baked in a sheet pan and then frosted together with a simple American buttercream. The cakes are colored in pale easter colors and served as individual desserts. Perfect mini cake for two. Find the recipe and how to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

To make these mini layer cakes, we first bake up a fluffy vanilla cake in a rimmed half sheet pan. This recipe is relies on whipped egg whites for its fluff, but you do need to take care not to overbake it. White cakes are prone to drying out, so bake only until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Once the cakes have cooled completely, we use a 2″ round cookie or biscuit cutter (I like this one!) to trim out rounds of cake. You want to cut out your circles pretty close together, and if done correctly, you should end up with enough to make about 7 and a half-ish cakes. I was happy to have an extra layer in case one didn’t come out super clean, but you can feel free to eat those extra layers yourself. No shame. Place the cake layers on a clean sheet pan lined with parchment and freeze briefly so that the cakes cake firm up. This makes them easier to frost.

Mini Layer Cakes by Wood and Spoon blog. These are tiny three layer pastel cakes perfect for parties, spring holidays, and Mother's Day. The small vanilla cakes are baked in a sheet pan and then frosted together with a simple American buttercream. The cakes are colored in pale easter colors and served as individual desserts. Perfect mini cake for two. Find the recipe and how to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Mini Layer Cakes by Wood and Spoon blog. These are tiny three layer pastel cakes perfect for parties, spring holidays, and Mother's Day. The small vanilla cakes are baked in a sheet pan and then frosted together with a simple American buttercream. The cakes are colored in pale easter colors and served as individual desserts. Perfect mini cake for two. Find the recipe and how to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

The frosting is a simple American buttercream. You can reference my recent post on stacking layer cakes for a little help here. I opted to frost the cakes entirely, but if you wanted an easier option and were planning to serve them quickly, you could also pipe the frosting onto the cakes for a naked look! Click here for a cute example I found on the internet. Truly, do whatever feels right here and just make something that goes with your vibe.

Mini Layer Cakes by Wood and Spoon blog. These are tiny three layer pastel cakes perfect for parties, spring holidays, and Mother's Day. The small vanilla cakes are baked in a sheet pan and then frosted together with a simple American buttercream. The cakes are colored in pale easter colors and served as individual desserts. Perfect mini cake for two. Find the recipe and how to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

I opted for pastel hues on my mini layer cakes, and you can find some info on the colors I used in my recipe. As always, I opted for Americolor food gels, but use whatever you have on hand. Keep in mind that food coloring can often change the texture of your frosting, so be sure not to use too much. For decoration, I smeared a bit of white buttercream on top and garnished with assorted white and clear sprinkles. Again, this is dealer’s choice. Fresh flowers, fruit, or confetti is super pretty too.

Mini Layer Cakes by Wood and Spoon blog. These are tiny three layer pastel cakes perfect for parties, spring holidays, and Mother's Day. The small vanilla cakes are baked in a sheet pan and then frosted together with a simple American buttercream. The cakes are colored in pale easter colors and served as individual desserts. Perfect mini cake for two. Find the recipe and how to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

It feels odd to be sharing recipes for cake with you at a time like this, but I also simple sources of pleasure and joy should be indulged in, especially now. If you’re homebound and looking for a fun project, this could be just the ticket. Give the recipe a try, pop the cakes into the mailboxes of people you love, and be apart of your own personal delicious little love movement. Y’all take care and happy baking.

Mini Layer Cakes by Wood and Spoon blog. These are tiny three layer pastel cakes perfect for parties, spring holidays, and Mother's Day. The small vanilla cakes are baked in a sheet pan and then frosted together with a simple American buttercream. The cakes are colored in pale easter colors and served as individual desserts. Perfect mini cake for two. Find the recipe and how to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

If you like these mini layer cakes you should check out:

Mini Victoria Cakes
Mini Strawberry Galettes
Smash Cake Tutorial
Funfetti Cake

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Mini Layer Cakes

Mini Layer Cakes by Wood and Spoon blog. These are tiny three layer pastel cakes perfect for parties, spring holidays, and Mother's Day. The small vanilla cakes are baked in a sheet pan and then frosted together with a simple American buttercream. The cakes are colored in pale easter colors and served as individual desserts. Perfect mini cake for two. Find the recipe and how to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

These mini layer cakes are cute and delicious treats for gifting or sharing with a few! Check out the tutorial here!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 60
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 120
  • Yield: 7 1x
  • Category: Dessert
Scale

Ingredients

For the cake:

 

  • ¾ cup (170 gm) egg whites (I use ones directly from the carton), at room temp
  • 1 cup (230 gm) unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 11/2 cups (300 gm) sugar
  • 3 cups plus one tablespoon (400 gm) cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240 gm) milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

For the frosting (Recipe makes a bit of extra frosting, but this will be sufficient for getting to decorate the tops!)

  • 11/2 cups (340 gm) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Milk or water to thin the frosting

Instructions

To prepare the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prep a rimmed half sheet pan (18”x13”) by lining it with a sheet of parchment paper and lightly greasing the sides.
  2. In the clean bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside in another bowl while you continue prepping the cake.
  3. In the same stand mixer bowl you whipped the egg whites in, cream the butter and sugar for 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Combine 3 cups of the flour, baking powder, and salt and add half of this mixture to the butter mixture. Stir on low to almost combine and then add half of the milk and the vanilla. Stir to combine and then add the remaining half of the dry ingredients followed by the remaining half of the milk. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the egg whites being careful not to overwork the batter. Smooth the batter into your prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 19-20 minutes. Be careful to not overbake! The top will be golden and set when the cake is done. Set aside to cool completely- you can expedite this process by popping it in the freezer after cooling on the counter for a bit. Once cool, use a 2” round biscuit or cookie cutter to trim out circles of cake. You should be able to get about 23 circles out of the sheet cake which will make 7 cakes plus 2 extra layers for backup. Feel free to pop the layers on a clean baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze briefly while you make the frosting. This will make assembly a little easier.
  4. To prepare the frosting, whip the butter on medium speed using the paddle attachment on your mixer. Continue for about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as necessary, until pale and smooth. Add half of the sugar and stir to combine. Add the remaining sugar, the vanilla, and a couple of tablespoons of milk or water to help it all come together. Stir and add water or milk a tablespoon at a time until the frosting is smooth. Consistency is important here- make sure the frosting isn’t so stiff that it will pull on and rip the cake layers while assembling, but it also needs to be thick enough so that it won’t just squish out the sides. A good consistency frosting will plop off your rubber spatula but will chill to firm. Pop it in the fridge if it gets too warm.

 

To assemble the cakes:

  1. Each mini cake will have 3 layers. Mix up your colors as you please. For the colors pictures here, I used Americolor Food Gels. The pinkish one is a 3 parts red, 2 parts blue, and ½ part brown. I recommend adding the color a tiny bit at a time to make sure you don’t mix a color you’re not fond of! The blueish greenish cake is 3 parts blue with ½ part brown. The orange-ish cake is 3 parts deep pink with ½ part brown.
  2. When ready to assemble, smear a little frosting on your cake board or serving plate and stack the first layer. Add about 2 tablespoons of frosting on top and use an offset spatula to smooth. Stack a second cake layer and repeat this process twice to finish with a third cake layer. Spread a thin crumb coat of frosting on the cake and pop it into the fridge or freezer to set up. I placed a cooling rack with a sheet of parchment on it in my freezer so that I could quickly chill the cakes while I was making them. I found keeping the cakes cold while assembling helped make the process simple.
  3. Once your crumb coat has set up, finish frosting the cake with the remaining frosting and decorate as desired! For my cakes, I use a round dollop of white frosting that I smudged with the end of my offset spatula. White large and small nonpareils and clear sprinkles finished them up! Share with someone you love and enjoy!

YOU NEED TO KNOW: How to Stack a Layer Cake

How to Stack a Layer Cake by Wood and Spoon blog. Learn the tips and how to for stacking pretty naked cakes and layer cakes from scratch homemade! Step by step tutorial with photos for learning can decorating for beginners. Learn about leveling cakes, crumb coats, filling a cake, piping borders, and more. On thewoodandspoon.com

Have you ever spotted a beautiful cake on Instagram, television, or a website and thought to yourself, “Ugh, I wish I could learn how to do this”? Well consider me your genie in a bottle, because today I’m going to be sharing a few simple pointers and instructions for stacking beautiful layer cakes. This is not some super advanced tutorial. This is a quick guide for eager beginners or anyone wanting to polish the skills they already have under their belt. In addition, I’m DYING to answer all of your questions so that I can update this post to include the things you’re interested in learning about, so please feel free to chime in with anything you’ve found to be helpful in your learning experiences. If you’re ready and hungry, let’s dive in!

What Is A Layer Cake?

This feels like a silly question to answer, but let’s be plain as day. A layer cake is any kind of cake with stacked layers! On it’s most basic level, cake is a single layer with frosting, glaze, or some other garnish on it’s top, but a layer cake typically consist of 2 or more layers of cake stacked with schmears of frosting and/or filling. For the purpose of this post we’re going to stick with a 3-layer cake. That was simple, right?

How to Stack a Layer Cake by Wood and Spoon blog. Learn the tips and how to for stacking pretty naked cakes and layer cakes from scratch homemade! Step by step tutorial with photos for learning can decorating for beginners. Learn about leveling cakes, crumb coats, filling a cake, piping borders, and more. On thewoodandspoon.com

What Do I Need to Make a Layer Cake?

There’s a few basic components required for every cake as well as a few special tools that will make stacking cakes simple for beginners. I have a few of my favorites listed that you can find above on the “Shop” page of my site.

For starters, you’ll need the following:
Cake Layers (or a single thick layer of cake that you plan to slice in half)
Frosting
Filling (if desired)
Serrated Knife
Offset Spatula (I prefer a small one)

If you’re ready to go to the next level, here’s a few more items to consider purchasing:
Cake Turntable
Cake Boards
Piping Set or Freezer-Safe Ziploc Bag
Cake Leveler

If you plan on being serious about learning how to stack a layer cake you may also consider purchasing a cake turntable. When I first started baking, I purchased an inexpensive model from Wilton that I adored for many years. Some time later, I upgraded to an Ateco model that I continue to use today. No need in purchasing anything fancy- just buy what works. A turntable is the single most useful tool for decorating cakes and can make a world of difference in the final outcome of your product.

How to Stack a Layer Cake by Wood and Spoon blog. Learn the tips and how to for stacking pretty naked cakes and layer cakes from scratch homemade! Step by step tutorial with photos for learning can decorating for beginners. Learn about leveling cakes, crumb coats, filling a cake, piping borders, and more. On thewoodandspoon.com

How to Stack a Layer Cake by Wood and Spoon blog. Learn the tips and how to for stacking pretty naked cakes and layer cakes from scratch homemade! Step by step tutorial with photos for learning can decorating for beginners. Learn about leveling cakes, crumb coats, filling a cake, piping borders, and more. On thewoodandspoon.com

How To Stack A Layer Cake ?

Let’s take this slow. Heck, I’m going to throw in some numbered steps so we don’t miss a single thing, okay? WE CAN DO THIS! Here we go.
1. Prepare the cake layers. We can stack basically any cake recipe, but we always want to work with cooled layers. A cake straight from the oven will not stack well. I like to chill my layers in the freezer for a bit to make them extra easy to work with- it helps keep all the crumbs stuck to the cake instead of all over my spatula. Once cooled (or semi-frozen!) use a large, sharp serrated knife to trim the domes off of your cake. We want the layers to be flat. So if your cake looks more like a hill than an ice skating rink, trim it off. Get down at eye-level to the cake and carefully cut off the top. Remember to go slow and not take too much off! You can always trim off more but you can reattach cake if you butcher off too much.
2. Prepare the frosting and filling. Again, we need cooled frostings and fillings. Pick your poison when it comes to frosting variety, but keep it simple if you’re new to the game. American buttercream is typically easiest to whip up. Frosting consistency is really important here. Too thick or hard and the frosting will stick to the cake and rip off little bits of it as you go. Too thin and the frosting will squish out the sides. I like a frosting that will scoop onto your finger or an offset spatula without falling off but will droop over BARELY when dolloped. No big droops! With American buttercream, you can typically add water or milk a tablespoon at a time until the frosting thins out to the appropriate consistency. Likewise, you can typically add additional powdered sugar a bit at a time to thicken it up. If your buttercream gets too warm, throw it in the fridge to thicken it up! After all, butter and fat is hard at chilled temps.
3. Prepare your cake board. This is optional. I love to work with a cake board because I typically am frosting a cake on my turntable. I use a piece of packing tape or a non-slip pad to get my board to stick to the turntable. Place it directly in the center and smooth a small dollop of frosting on the board. This will help to make your first layer adhere to the board. If you’re not using a cake board you can add the frosting dollop straight to the flat serving plate that you’re making it on. The cake turntable and board make a difference here, but you can do it either way.

4. Begin frosting your cake. Place the first layer of cake on the cake board with the frosting on it. If you’re not using a filling, go ahead and dollop enough frosting to generously cover the entire cake. For most cake layers about 1″ thick, I like about 1/4″ thickness of buttercream on top. Go ahead and plop some frosting on your cake and grab your offset spatula in your dominant hand. With the spatula parallel to the cake top, begin pushing the frosting around to cover the cake, being sure to not actually touch the cake with your spatula at all. I like to use a subtle rocking motion as opposed to digging the edge of the spatula into the buttercream or cake. Continue this process, adding buttercream as needed, until the buttercream barely hangs over the side of the cake. Then, rotate the spatula barely to dig in a slight edge and twist your turntable like a record player. Keep your hand level and the edge on your spatula tilted slightly so that you can level the frosting top. We started with leveled cakes and we need our frosting leveled too as we stack!
Alternative, if you plan to use a filling: Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round tip or a large ziploc bag with some frosting. Pipe a “dam” border around the perimeter of the unfrosted cake. Make sure your dam walls are high enough and connected to contain all of the filling. If the filling squishes out the top or underneath, it can make frosting your cake neatly near impossible! Once the dam is complete, spoon in your filling and continue the steps as listed below.

How to Stack a Layer Cake by Wood and Spoon blog. Learn the tips and how to for stacking pretty naked cakes and layer cakes from scratch homemade! Step by step tutorial with photos for learning can decorating for beginners. Learn about leveling cakes, crumb coats, filling a cake, piping borders, and more. On thewoodandspoon.com

5. Repeat this process with additional cake layers. For the cake shown in photos, I repeated the process twice as there are three layers. As your stack your cake layers, be sure to press down gently to allow the cake to adhere and line them up as best as you can. If you find your cakes are wiggling or slipping because of loose buttercream, pop it in the fridge to allow the frosting to set up. You’ll wind up with a wonky cake if you try to frost a slippery fellow. Extra time, but worth it.
6. Crumb coat. A crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting that traps in any cake crumbs. To start, use your offset spatula to push the frosting overhang on the top layer down onto the sides of the cake. This process takes some practice and is hard to get right the first several times. Use additional frosting from the overhang on the lower layers to cover the sides of the cake and add any additional frosting from the bowl as needed. For our crumb coat, we just want a thin coat of frosting to trap the crumbs, so just do your best to smooth it out. Use your spatula to cover the cake entirely and scrape any extra frosting (sans crumbs!) back into your bowl. Once the cake is coated, pop it in the fridge for the frosting to firm up. The length of time here is dependent on how cold your cake layers were to begin with, so just check your cake occasionally until firm.
7. Finish frosting your cake. Some people prefer to use a bench scraper here, but I almost always prefer my offset spatula. For a naked cake, smear just a thin layer of frosting all over the cake and smooth out the edges as able. For a more opaque layer of frosting, go ahead and dollop a hefty scoop on top and smooth it onto the top with angled offset spatula. Spread more on the sides of the cake and use a bench scraper or the spatula to smooth and decorate. This is an exercise that takes a lot of practice, so cut yourself some slack the first 15 times you do this, okay? If all else fails, go for messy, rustic frosting and claim you did it on purpose. Cool? Once finished, store the cake as indicated in your recipe or serve immediately!

How to Stack a Layer Cake by Wood and Spoon blog. Learn the tips and how to for stacking pretty naked cakes and layer cakes from scratch homemade! Step by step tutorial with photos for learning can decorating for beginners. Learn about leveling cakes, crumb coats, filling a cake, piping borders, and more. On thewoodandspoon.com

A Few More Tips On How to Stack A Layer Cake :

I’ve had to learn a lot the hard way. Here’s a few pointers from mistakes I’ve made far too often:
1. Don’t add too much filling to your cake. Jam, curd, or other running fillings cake easily spill out the top of a dam or squish underneath. Be sure your dam has adhered to the cake layer it is on top of and don’t overfill it! Let your dam be about 1/8″ higher than the filling and add your next cake layer gently.
2. Master the cake to frosting ratio. Some recipes will produce extra thick layers of cake that are intended to be torted (or trimmed into layers). Use a large serrated knife here to slice through your cake layer and cut it into appropriately thick layers. Most of my recipes produce cakes that are 1 to 1’1/4″ thick, so about 1/4″ of frosting is appropriate here. If you wind up with thicker layers, consider torting or adding additional frosting between layers. For thinner layers, consider less frosting.
3. Don’t overwork your frosting. This is hard to do. I get it. The more your attempt to smooth and perfect a finished frosted cake, the more likely you are to overwork or deflate your frosting. This can change the color, texture, and mouthfeel of the frosting. Do your best to not overwork and keep in mind that pristine cakes come with practice.
4. Transfer with care! I like to slide a large offset spatula under the cake board to help shimmy it off the turntable. I usually need to do this when popping the cake in the fridge or when transferring it to its serving plate. They make cake lifters specifically for this purpose, but I don’t actually have one. I find a large offset spatula works fine. Do what feels right!
5. Make sure your frosting is the right consistency. I can’t emphasize this enough. If you notice your frosting is difficult to work with, go ahead and fix it before you get too far into the frosting process! The messiest cakes I’ve ever made were when I didn’t take the time to address my frosting consistency. See above for quick tips.
6. Decorating layer cakes is an entirely different topic. Admittedly, I’m not terrific at decorating cakes, so I usually like to stick with basics: flowers, sprinkles, or large piped dollops of frosting. For cake decorating inspiration, I recommend checking out Tessa Huff’s site. She decorates beautiful and attainably intricate cakes. This is a great place to start.

How to Stack a Layer Cake by Wood and Spoon blog. Learn the tips and how to for stacking pretty naked cakes and layer cakes from scratch homemade! Step by step tutorial with photos for learning can decorating for beginners. Learn about leveling cakes, crumb coats, filling a cake, piping borders, and more. On thewoodandspoon.com

A Few Last Minute Tips on Baking Cakes:

You can’t learn how to stack a layer cake if you don’t have a good baked cake. Here’s a few tips that have helped me:
1. Use room temperature ingredients. The ingredients in most cake recipes will emulsify together better when not at extreme temperatures. So what do you do when you forget to set your ingredients out in advance? Set your eggs in a cup of warm water to quickly bring to room temperature and feel free to nuke milk in the microwave at a low temperature in 10 second intervals till it’s no longer ice cold. As for the butter: consider slicing it into tablespoon pads and resting at room temperature while you set out the rest of your ingredients, or, nuke in the microwave for 8 seconds per side of butter.
2. Use parchment paper to line the bottoms of your pan. Yes, it can be a pain to cut out rounds of parchment, but I use it every time. Why? Because the only thing more annoying that cutting out parchment rounds is baking a beautiful cake only to have chunks of it remain stuck to the innards of your pan. If you’re feeling really aggressive, you can purchase pre-cut rounds of parchment online and they make life so much easier. Just do it.
3. Do not overmix. If you read a recipe that says “mix just until combined”, do just that. Overmixing your batter will cause your cake to be chewy and dense… not usually what we’re going for.
4. Make sure your baking powder and soda are fresh. If you open your cabinet and the baking soda says it expired in 2009, throw it out. I’m talking to you, Mom.
5. If you don’t keep buttermilk on hand, don’t fret! I sometimes will use 1 tablespoon of white vinegar for every scant cup of milk when I need a quick substitute for real buttermilk. Works like a charm.
6. Don’t overbake! Toothpicks cost like, $1 at the store. And I’m pretty sure you can steal them from hostess stands at most chain restaurants. So keep some on hand and when the cake looks just barely firm in the middle and is no longer jiggling in the pan, test it. Moist crumbs should come out. If it’s not done, set the timer for one minute and try again. And in the midst of all that checking, try not to open and close the oven too much. You’ll end up with a  cake crater big enough to put your face in. On second thought, this isn’t such a terrible outcome so do whatever you want. No judgement here.
7. Allow to cool a bit in the pan before flipping out on to a cooling rack.

How to Stack a Layer Cake by Wood and Spoon blog. Learn the tips and how to for stacking pretty naked cakes and layer cakes from scratch homemade! Step by step tutorial with photos for learning can decorating for beginners. Learn about leveling cakes, crumb coats, filling a cake, piping borders, and more. On thewoodandspoon.com

A Few Favorites to Start With:

Here’s a few links to my favorite cakes and frostings! Mix and match however feels right. I’ll be sharing a yummy layer cake recipe for you guys to practice with next week, so STAY TUNED. Happy baking and don’t forget to send me all of your questions!
Favorite Chocolate Cake Recipe
Favorite White Cake Recipe (Just Omit the Chocolate Chips!)
Favorite Buttermilk Cake
Favorite Cream Cheese Buttercream





Sugar Cookie Gift Tags

Sugar Cookie Gift Tags by Wood and Spoon blog. Use this tutorial to create, mini frosted iced heart sugar cookies to use as garland, napkin ring holders, gift tags, name tags, necklaces, and more. This simple tutorial gives you the DIY recipe for hard set cookies with homemade icing and ideas for how to use them for Valentine's Day parties, kid crafts, and more. Read about the recipe and how to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

We need more crafts. I’m not always one for a DIY, but when it’s edible, super cute, and multi-purpose, COUNT ME IN. I came up with these sugar cookie gift tags this year because I found myself kinda in charge of not one, not two, but three different Valentine’s parties, and I wanted a tiny sweet bite that would add a cute and personal touch to each gathering. I got rave reviews when I sneak-peeked them on my IG stories, so I decided to make up a little tutorial for you guys here. They’re really simple, and with the right recipe (see below!) you’ll be sure to have success with them in your own kitchen too! Let’s get started.

These sugar cookie gift tags are basically small, buttery sugar cookies topped with a piped, semi-hard set icing. The teeny tiny hole in the corner allows for a simple ribbon or piece of kitchen twine to be laced through it to make whatever it is you’re going after. I’ve provided a few ideas below (Necklaces! Gift Tags! Place Card Settings! Garland!), but you could certainly modify this tutorial to use a different shape cookie cutter or to apply the twined hearts in another manner. This is a choose your own adventure kind of craft, so feel free to think outside the box.

Sugar Cookie Gift Tags by Wood and Spoon blog. Use this tutorial to create, mini frosted iced heart sugar cookies to use as garland, napkin ring holders, gift tags, name tags, necklaces, and more. This simple tutorial gives you the DIY recipe for hard set cookies with homemade icing and ideas for how to use them for Valentine's Day parties, kid crafts, and more. Read about the recipe and how to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

To make these sugar cookie gift tags, we start with the perfect cookie dough. This is a simple dough made of butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, salt, and baking powder. It’s fairly simple to work with and will cooperate with the craft by not puffing or expanding too much in the oven. Once you’ve prepared your dough, roll it out on a floured surface and use a cookie cutter to trim out shapes. I used this cutter for my hearts, but you can pick whatever you prefer. It’s important to keep your cookies thick enough to withstand a hole being poked in them. 1/4″ thickness is a a great sturdy size to start with. Once the shapes have been trimmed out, move them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and poke small holes in the corners, centers, or wherever. I used a small wooden skewer, but you could also grab a chopstick or anything else that is small with a blunt end. Poke the hole and gently work the skewer in a small circle to ensure that the hole has been poked all the way through. Once your cookie sheet is full with cookies spaced out about 2″ apart, place the pan in the freezer to set up about 5 minutes. If your dough happens to have gotten really warm, pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes or an hour to make sure it has set through.

Sugar Cookie Gift Tags by Wood and Spoon blog. Use this tutorial to create, mini frosted iced heart sugar cookies to use as garland, napkin ring holders, gift tags, name tags, necklaces, and more. This simple tutorial gives you the DIY recipe for hard set cookies with homemade icing and ideas for how to use them for Valentine's Day parties, kid crafts, and more. Read about the recipe and how to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Once you have removed your baked sugar cookie gift tags from the oven, grab that same skewer and gently ensure your hole is still there. You want to do this right when the cookies come out of the oven so that they don’t set up before your hole is completely poked through. Allow the cookies to cool and, in the meantime, make your icing. Powdered sugar and milk come together for this simple frosting. The trick is achieving the right viscosity so that the icing doesn’t spill off the sides or through the hole of the cookie. To test it, run your whisk or a knife through the bowl of frosting. Your frosting should slowly move back together until you can’t see any trace of the whisk any longer, and this process should take about 10 seconds. If the frosting is too thick, it will not pool back together, and if it is too thin, it will pool back together too quickly. The ten second test doesn’t lie. Add more milk for a thinner icing and more powdered sugar if your icing becomes too thin. Keep in mind that if you add food coloring, this will change the viscosity of the icing, so be sure to check thickness after coloring has been added.

Sugar Cookie Gift Tags by Wood and Spoon blog. Use this tutorial to create, mini frosted iced heart sugar cookies to use as garland, napkin ring holders, gift tags, name tags, necklaces, and more. This simple tutorial gives you the DIY recipe for hard set cookies with homemade icing and ideas for how to use them for Valentine's Day parties, kid crafts, and more. Read about the recipe and how to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Prepare a piping bag with a small round tip. I prefer a #3 tip. Fill the bag with icing and pipe, pipe away! Start with a single cookie to test it all out and then finish with the remaining. I like to begin by piping a border and then filling in with additional icing. You can spread in the filler icing with a food safe paint brush (used strictly on food) or with a small offset spatula. Whatever works for you works for me! Do 2 cookies at a time to get in a flow and then allow them all to dry completely. Keep in mind that some food colorings can keep icing from setting well. I like to use Americolor food gels.

Sugar Cookie Gift Tags by Wood and Spoon blog. Use this tutorial to create, mini frosted iced heart sugar cookies to use as garland, napkin ring holders, gift tags, name tags, necklaces, and more. This simple tutorial gives you the DIY recipe for hard set cookies with homemade icing and ideas for how to use them for Valentine's Day parties, kid crafts, and more. Read about the recipe and how to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Once your sugar cookie gift tags are made you can use them in any manner you prefer! Freeze them ahead of time and gently thaw them for a make-ahead option, or just make them up to 3 days in advance kept at room temperature. If you can’t wait that long, feel free to just dive right in and eat them immediately. I gave one to Aimee on a necklace, and she thought she was the coolest kid on the block. These sugar cookie gift tags are a cutie treat for Valentine’s or whatever other holiday you might be pushing for. Give them a try and be sure to send me photos! I can’t wait to see. Happy baking to you and happy (almost!) Valentine’s!

Sugar Cookie Gift Tags by Wood and Spoon blog. Use this tutorial to create, mini frosted iced heart sugar cookies to use as garland, napkin ring holders, gift tags, name tags, necklaces, and more. This simple tutorial gives you the DIY recipe for hard set cookies with homemade icing and ideas for how to use them for Valentine's Day parties, kid crafts, and more. Read about the recipe and how to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

If you like these sugar cookie gift tags you should try:

Painted Sugar Cookies
Marbled Sugar Cookies
Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies
Gold-Splattered Sugar Cookies

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Sugar Cookie Gift Tags

Sugar Cookie Gift Tags by Wood and Spoon blog. Use this tutorial to create, mini frosted iced heart sugar cookies to use as garland, napkin ring holders, gift tags, name tags, necklaces, and more. This simple tutorial gives you the DIY recipe for hard set cookies with homemade icing and ideas for how to use them for Valentine's Day parties, kid crafts, and more. Read about the recipe and how to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

These sugar cookie gift tags are cute little crafty edibles to make with kids for parties!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 60
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 50, depending on size of cookie cutter 1x
  • Category: Dessert
Scale

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 11/2 teaspoon princess cake and cookie emulsion (or 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 tsp almond extract)

For the icing

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 36 tablespoons of whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract, vanilla extract, or bakery emulsion

Instructions

For the cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and extract and cream until combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir on low just until combined.
  4. Dump the dough crumbles out on to a lightly floured surface and work together into one ball with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to just over 1/4″ thicken and use a medium sized cookie cutter to cut shapes. If the dough ever gets too soft, refrigerate briefly.
  5. Place shapes on a baking sheet and freeze briefly for about 5 minutes.
  6. Once chilled, bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes and then cool on a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely prior to icing.

For the icing

  1. Sift or whisk powdered sugar to remove lumps.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of the milk and the extract, whisking until combined. Continue to add milk until it is the right viscosity. You will want thicker frosting for piping. To test viscosity, run your whisk or a knife through the bowl of frosting- your frosting should slowly move back together until you can’t see any trace of the whisk any longer. This process should take about 10 seconds. If the frosting is too thick, it will not pool back together, and if it is too thin, it will pool back together too quickly. The ten second test doesn’t lie. Add more milk for a thinner icing and more powdered sugar if your icing becomes too thin.
  3. Cover tightly in a tupperware or with a wet paper towel if you are not using it immediately, as frosting will dry out and become clumpy. Whisk occasionally and add more milk if it becomes too thick.

YOU NEED TO KNOW: How to Make Pâte à Choux (And Coconut Cream Pie Puffs!)

How to Make Pate a Choux and Coconut Cream Pie Puffs by Wood and Spoon. This is a step by step photographic tutorial on how to prepare French puff pastry with eggs and flour to make cream puffs profiteroles eclairs etc. Coconut cream pie custard filling is stuffed in the bites and topped with white chocolate and toasted coconut. For more on how to make this bite sized delicate fancy dessert read the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

One of my favorite things to do on this site is to dissect baking basics and give a how-to on staple recipes and kitchen techniques. Throughout this so-called “You Need to Know” series, we’ve learned how to make caramel, meringue, browned butter, and more. Today, we’re going to walk through a diverse pastry called pâte à choux and even learn how to use it in the making of coconut cream pie puffs. If you’re up for learning, put on your food science hats (and aprons!) and let’s dive in!

How to Make Pate a Choux and Coconut Cream Pie Puffs by Wood and Spoon. This is a step by step photographic tutorial on how to prepare French puff pastry with eggs and flour to make cream puffs profiteroles eclairs etc. Coconut cream pie custard filling is stuffed in the bites and topped with white chocolate and toasted coconut. For more on how to make this bite sized delicate fancy dessert read the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

What is Pâte à Choux?

Also known as choux pastry, pâte à choux (pronounced pot-a-shoe) is a common variety of puff pastry. Used to make cream puffs, eclairs, and numerous other treats, pâte à choux makes lightweight pastries with semi-hollow interiors perfect for stuffing and filling. It’s high proportion of liquid to dry ingredients creates a dough that is almost paste-like and bakes into puffed-up treats with airy interiors. Pâte à choux requires liquid (typically water), fat (butter), a binder (eggs), and dry ingredients (flour, salt, and sometimes sugar), and is cooked on the stovetop prior to being baked or fried. Let’s talk about how to make it.

How Do I Make Pâte à Choux?

Water, butter, and salt are combined on the stovetop in a pan over heat. Once the butter melts and the mixture begins to boil, flour (and sometimes sugar!) is added, stirring all the while to keep the butter and flour from forming large clumps. The mixture is cooked over the course of a few minutes to dry out the paste. You’ll know it’s thoroughly cooked when it pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms one large mound of dough. Remove the paste from heat and place it in a bowl to cool slightly before the eggs are added. Once slightly cooled, we paddle in the eggs using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. As you stir, the dough will become smooth, somewhat shiny, and soft enough that the dough droops off the spoon in soft peaks. If it’s not soft enough, the dough will require extra liquid to make make the pastry puff up adequately in the oven, but be careful- too much liquid and the pastries are at risk of spreading in the oven instead of puffing vertically. There’s a reason baking is called a science, guys! Once your paste is complete, you’re ready to pipe, bake, or fry the dough in whatever manner you’ve decided upon.

How to Make Pate a Choux and Coconut Cream Pie Puffs by Wood and Spoon. This is a step by step photographic tutorial on how to prepare French puff pastry with eggs and flour to make cream puffs profiteroles eclairs etc. Coconut cream pie custard filling is stuffed in the bites and topped with white chocolate and toasted coconut. For more on how to make this bite sized delicate fancy dessert read the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com
How to Make Pate a Choux and Coconut Cream Pie Puffs by Wood and Spoon. This is a step by step photographic tutorial on how to prepare French puff pastry with eggs and flour to make cream puffs profiteroles eclairs etc. Coconut cream pie custard filling is stuffed in the bites and topped with white chocolate and toasted coconut. For more on how to make this bite sized delicate fancy dessert read the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com
How to Make Pate a Choux and Coconut Cream Pie Puffs by Wood and Spoon. This is a step by step photographic tutorial on how to prepare French puff pastry with eggs and flour to make cream puffs profiteroles eclairs etc. Coconut cream pie custard filling is stuffed in the bites and topped with white chocolate and toasted coconut. For more on how to make this bite sized delicate fancy dessert read the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

What Do I Do with Choux Pastry Once I’ve Made It?

Most commonly, choux pastry is baked. First, the prepared dough is added to a piping bag and piped onto a prepared sheet pan. For profiteroles or cream puffs a large round piping tip is used to pipe small, macaron shell-sized rounds of dough. For eclairs, a large round or French star tip is used to pipe strips of dough, and to make Paris-brest, rings of dough are piped, baked, halved, and filled. Prior to baking, a thin coat of egg wash (One egg whisked with a teaspoon of water) can be applied to make the pastry richly golden and slightly shiny, but this is completely optional. The dough will puff and contort its shape slightly in the oven, so be sure to smooth any tall peaks or bumps in the dough before it’s baked. In this case, a wet fingertip can be used to gently pat down the dough as needed. While baking, the liquid heats, turns to steam, and causes the pastry to puff, creating a cavernous interior. If you used a fancy star tip to pipe your dough, you’ll notice some small striations in the final baked goods, but typically they’re barely noticed.

If not baked, choux pastry can also be fried. In the case of French crullers, beignet cream puffs, or even churros, the dough is piped or scooped directly into a heated pot of oil. The choux is fried on one side, flipped, and then finished off on the other side. The outcome is crisp, almost crunchy pastries with soft, doughy insides. Can you say YUM?

How to Make Pate a Choux and Coconut Cream Pie Puffs by Wood and Spoon. This is a step by step photographic tutorial on how to prepare French puff pastry with eggs and flour to make cream puffs profiteroles eclairs etc. Coconut cream pie custard filling is stuffed in the bites and topped with white chocolate and toasted coconut. For more on how to make this bite sized delicate fancy dessert read the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

Coconut Cream Pie Puffs

So here’s the main event: coconut cream pie puffs. We can put our new skills to work and get cracking on these southern pie-inspired treats that feel equal parts fancy and comfort food. Here, a baked pâte à choux shell is filled with a coconut and vanilla bean custard before being topped with melted white chocolate and toasted coconut- so delicious. Since we already know how to make pâte à choux, I’ll explain what happens once we have a dough. First, we use a large round tip to pipe out rounds of dough. Bake the puffs in the oven while you prep your custard. Here, flour, sugar, and milk are combined on the stovetop and cooked until barely thickened. Next, we add some of the hot mixture to a few beaten eggs. The mixture is all combined back on the stove and cooked until it’s viscous to a mayonnaise consistency. Remove the custard from heat, and add a little butter, vanilla, and shredded coconut. If you want to be super extra, you can toast your shredded coconut beforehand so that your coconut cream pie puffs have even more flavor. Once the custard and puffs have cooled, add the coconut mixture to a piping bag fitted with a round tip and pipe the custard directly into each pastry. Just squeeze your piping bag until you feel the puffs fill up. Set aside, melt some white chocolate over a double boiler, and decorate your little puffs as pleased. I like to garnish with extra toasted coconut, because it’s SO PRETTY, don’t you think?

How to Make Pate a Choux and Coconut Cream Pie Puffs by Wood and Spoon. This is a step by step photographic tutorial on how to prepare French puff pastry with eggs and flour to make cream puffs profiteroles eclairs etc. Coconut cream pie custard filling is stuffed in the bites and topped with white chocolate and toasted coconut. For more on how to make this bite sized delicate fancy dessert read the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

I hope you guys learned a smidge and are eager to get cracking on these coconut cream pie puffs. Admittedly, I’m not an expert at pastry, so we’re really learning this together. If you’re reading this and you happen to be, oh, Dominique Ansel or Rose Levy Beranbaum, please give me all your pointers and forgive, what I’m sure is, my many mistakes in the above text. If you’re really into pâte à choux now, take a peek at the tiramisu cream puffs I posted some time ago. Same technique, different filling! Happy baking to you all!

How to Make Pate a Choux and Coconut Cream Pie Puffs by Wood and Spoon. This is a step by step photographic tutorial on how to prepare French puff pastry with eggs and flour to make cream puffs profiteroles eclairs etc. Coconut cream pie custard filling is stuffed in the bites and topped with white chocolate and toasted coconut. For more on how to make this bite sized delicate fancy dessert read the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

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YOU NEED TO KNOW: How to Make Pâte à Choux (And Coconut Cream Pie Puffs!)

How to Make Pate a Choux and Coconut Cream Pie Puffs by Wood and Spoon. This is a step by step photographic tutorial on how to prepare French puff pastry with eggs and flour to make cream puffs profiteroles eclairs etc. Coconut cream pie custard filling is stuffed in the bites and topped with white chocolate and toasted coconut. For more on how to make this bite sized delicate fancy dessert read the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

These coconut cream pie puffs come with a tutorial for how to make pate a choux cream puffs! Stuffed with a coconut custard and topped with a white chocolate glaze, these cream puffs are delicious and cute desserts for the spring.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 25
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 120
  • Yield: 15 1x
  • Category: Dessert
Scale

Ingredients

For the pate a choux (Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum):

  • ½ cup (120 gm) water
  • 4 tablespoons (55 gm) unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup (70 gm) all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs

For the filling:

  • 3/4 cup (150 gm) sugar
  • 41/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (480 gm) whole milk
  • 3 large egg yolks, slightly beaten in a bowl
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sweetened grated coconut

For the topping:

  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup toasted shredded coconut 

 

Instructions

For the choux:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper. Fit a piping bag with a large round tip (I use Ateco 809) or snip the end off of a quart-sized freezer plastic bag.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, butter, sugar and salt until the butter has melted and the mixture is boiling. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add all of the flour, stirring vigorously to combine. After a few moments of stirring, the dough will form a moist ball that pulls away from the sides of the pan. Return the pan back to the heat to cook, paddling the dough with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula for 3 minutes. Dump the dough into a large bowl and add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition to combine.  The dough should be viscous enough to hold a soft peak when you pull the wooden spoon out of it. If it is too stiff, add a teaspoon or two of water. Scoop the mixture into the piping bag and squeeze out tablespoon-sized round balls (see photo) of dough, about 2 inches apart on the prepared pan. Barely moisten a fingertip to smooth out any peaks on the rounds so that they are rounded disks, similar to the shape of a baked macaron cookie. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then decrease the oven temp to 350 and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the puffs are golden brown. Allow to cool prior to using.

To prepare the filling:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, flour, and salt, whisking to combine. Slowly add the milk. Turn heat to medium temperature and whisk constantly until the mixture is bubbling and thickened. Continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  2. Slowly drizzle a small amount of the cooked mixture into the beaten egg yolks, whisking all the while. Once about a cup of the mixture is incorporated, pour the mixture back into the original saucepan and place back on the heat. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes while continuing to stir.
  3. Add the butter and vanilla, stirring until incorporated. Stir in the coconut. Allow to cool to room temperature. You can do this in the fridge as well. When cool, stir and outfit a piping back with a large round tip. Fill the bag with the custard and insert the tip discreetly into the side of a crack in a puff. Fill with the custard slowly until full and then repeat with the remaining. Set aside while you melt the chocolate for the topping. 

For the topping:

  1. Set up a double boiler over low heat and add the white chocolate to the bowl. Stirring regularly, gently melt the chocolate. Be sure to not let the chocolate get too hot or it will seize! Once my chocolate starts melting a good bit, I usually remove the pan and bowl from heat to stop the cooking and keep it going gently. Once melted, spoon pours of white chocolate on top of each pastry and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Enjoy once the topping has set!

YOU NEED TO KNOW: How to Whip Egg Whites (and Make Meringue Cookies!)

You Need to Know How to Whip Egg Whites and Make Meringue Cookies. This is a tutorial on whipping egg whites to firm, stiff, soft, or foamy peaks and how to make a meringue! Learn how to make easter resurrection cookies with pecans and how to troubleshoot what went wrong with your egg whites. Why did they defeat, not fluff up, not whip, etc. Learn how to use up egg whites in this tutorial post on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

I’ll be honest- meringue is my arch nemesis. On top of pies, in a buttercream, WHEREVER, meringue is really just kinda no bueno in my book. I have failed time and time again when it comes to whipping egg whites the right way, so much so that I’ve nearly given up. But today, in continuation of our “You Need To Know” tutorials, we’re going to talk the ins and outs of egg whites, how to deal with them, what to use them for,  and how to know if you’re doing it all right. Prepare yourself for total domination of the egg whites.

What Is An Egg White?

Let’s put on our nerdy glasses and science caps for a second. An egg white (aka the albumen) is one of five portions of a whole egg and accounts for about 3/5 of an egg’s total weight. It’s primarily made up of protein and water and is viscous in consistency. When beaten, the protein structure of the egg white breaks down, and over time, those unfolded proteins will rearrange into a new, expanded form. Whipped egg whites can increase in size up to 8 times larger than its original volume, and this foaming ability makes it an all-star aerator in baked goods.

You Need to Know How to Whip Egg Whites and Make Meringue Cookies. This is a tutorial on whipping egg whites to firm, stiff, soft, or foamy peaks and how to make a meringue! Learn how to make easter resurrection cookies with pecans and how to troubleshoot what went wrong with your egg whites. Why did they defeat, not fluff up, not whip, etc. Learn how to use up egg whites in this tutorial post on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

How Do You Whip Egg Whites?

Egg whites are most easily whipped with an electric hand or stand mixer, but this process can be done by hand with a wire whisk as well. To whip egg whites, start with a clean, grease-free bowl and whisk attachment and begin to process the egg whites on low speed. Large, foamy bubbles will begin to appear, and once the egg whites transform from viscous liquid to loose foam, you can increase the speed of your mixer. Although the bubbles start out large, smaller, more fine bubbles will begin to appear and the foam will continue to increase in volume. You’ll stop your mixer when you reach the desired level of foam formation. So what if a recipe calls for “firmly whipped egg whites” or “egg whites with soft peaks?” We need to know what we’re looking for! Let’s start by breaking down the stages of egg white foam formation.

Foamy Egg Whites

To prepare foamy egg whites, whip your fresh, room temperature egg whites in a clean bowl until large bubbles begin to appear. At this phase, the egg whites will appear like bubbles in a foamy bathtub and will not hold their shape.

You Need to Know How to Whip Egg Whites and Make Meringue Cookies. This is a tutorial on whipping egg whites to firm, stiff, soft, or foamy peaks and how to make a meringue! Learn how to make easter resurrection cookies with pecans and how to troubleshoot what went wrong with your egg whites. Why did they defeat, not fluff up, not whip, etc. Learn how to use up egg whites in this tutorial post on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Soft Peaks

Soft peak egg whites will have a slight sheen to them and fine textured bubbles. At this phase, the whipped foam will still slide around in the bowl, and if you lift a beater out of the mixture, the peak will droop over without holding its shape. The foam is definitely fluffing up at this phase though, and you will likely see a trace of your beater in the mixture.

You Need to Know How to Whip Egg Whites and Make Meringue Cookies. This is a tutorial on whipping egg whites to firm, stiff, soft, or foamy peaks and how to make a meringue! Learn how to make easter resurrection cookies with pecans and how to troubleshoot what went wrong with your egg whites. Why did they defeat, not fluff up, not whip, etc. Learn how to use up egg whites in this tutorial post on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Firm Peaks

This is the narrow gap between soft and stiff peaks. Here, a beater lifted out of the bowl will yield a defined tip that may fall over slightly but will keep its overall pointy shape.

You Need to Know How to Whip Egg Whites and Make Meringue Cookies. This is a tutorial on whipping egg whites to firm, stiff, soft, or foamy peaks and how to make a meringue! Learn how to make easter resurrection cookies with pecans and how to troubleshoot what went wrong with your egg whites. Why did they defeat, not fluff up, not whip, etc. Learn how to use up egg whites in this tutorial post on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Stiff Peaks

At this phase, peaks are stiff, shiny, and stick to the inside of the bowl. If you lift a beater out of the bowl, the peak tip will stick up tall with a slight sheen. If you were to turn your bowl upside down at this phase, the foam would stick to the inside of the bowl without falling out! Avoid beating your egg whites past this stage as you’re likely to create an unstable, overbeaten egg white that will eventually break and deflate.

You Need to Know How to Whip Egg Whites and Make Meringue Cookies. This is a tutorial on whipping egg whites to firm, stiff, soft, or foamy peaks and how to make a meringue! Learn how to make easter resurrection cookies with pecans and how to troubleshoot what went wrong with your egg whites. Why did they defeat, not fluff up, not whip, etc. Learn how to use up egg whites in this tutorial post on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

How Can I Ensure Successfully Whipped Egg Whites?

Starting out with room temperature eggs in a clean, grease-free bowl will begin the process on the right foot. Room temp eggs whip more readily than cold ones and any trace of fat (think butter, cooking spray, egg yolk) will inhibit foaming. For best results, separate your egg yolks from their whites while cold and allow the whites to come to room temperature on their own. You can ensure your bowl is truly grease-free by wiping off the inside of it with a paper towel saturated with lemon juice.

There’s  also a few things that you can add to your egg whites to increase stability. Some recipes may call for adding an acid like cream of tartar, vinegar, or lemon juice, and typically 1/8 teaspoon of any of these per egg white is enough to give aid. Sugar also stabilizes egg whites and can be added in little by little near the end of the whipping duration. Avoid adding sugar in too early or too quickly as this can inhibit foam formation. More sugar incorporated into the mixture will result in a mixture that is glossy and shiny.

You Need to Know How to Whip Egg Whites and Make Meringue Cookies. This is a tutorial on whipping egg whites to firm, stiff, soft, or foamy peaks and how to make a meringue! Learn how to make easter resurrection cookies with pecans and how to troubleshoot what went wrong with your egg whites. Why did they defeat, not fluff up, not whip, etc. Learn how to use up egg whites in this tutorial post on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood
Foamy, soft, and stiff whipped peaks.

Is There Anything Else I Need to Know About Whipping Egg Whites?

Even stabilized egg whites are delicate, so take care when incorporating them into baked goods. Most recipes will call for gently folding the foam into whatever batter you’re working with. If you opt to beat your egg whites by hand, consider using a copper bowl or whisk! The copper in the bowl or whisk reacts with one of the proteins in the egg white, causing foamy bubbles to expand. Finally, if you’re looking for a suitable substitute for whole egg whites, consider using liquid egg whites from a carton. Just check to make sure you’re not purchasing one with a bunch of add-ins to the ingredients list.

You Need to Know How to Whip Egg Whites and Make Meringue Cookies. This is a tutorial on whipping egg whites to firm, stiff, soft, or foamy peaks and how to make a meringue! Learn how to make easter resurrection cookies with pecans and how to troubleshoot what went wrong with your egg whites. Why did they defeat, not fluff up, not whip, etc. Learn how to use up egg whites in this tutorial post on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

What Do I Use It For?

Whipped eggs whites are used in a number of foods like cakes, meringues, and souffles. The foamy nature of whipped egg whites provides air, height, and a light texture to foods that benefit from the added fluff. You’ll find a small list of recipes at the bottom of this page that contain whipped egg whites, so if you’re in need of inspiration, start there! In the coming weeks, I’m going to be sharing a variety of whipped egg white-containing recipes, starting with today’s crispy Easter meringue cookies.

You Need to Know How to Whip Egg Whites and Make Meringue Cookies. This is a tutorial on whipping egg whites to firm, stiff, soft, or foamy peaks and how to make a meringue! Learn how to make easter resurrection cookies with pecans and how to troubleshoot what went wrong with your egg whites. Why did they defeat, not fluff up, not whip, etc. Learn how to use up egg whites in this tutorial post on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Easter Meringue Cookies

These Easter meringue cookies are made up of stiffly whipped egg whites to which vinegar has been added for stability and sugar has been added for sweetness. They bake up in the oven into crisp, weightless bites of sweetness that make for a cute and accidentally fat-free snack. The texture and taste of these cookies reminds me of the marshmallows you might find in a box of cereal or a packet of hot cocoa mix, and that is in no way disappointing to me. For a little added flair, I’ve dipped these cookies in chocolate followed by either sprinkles or finely chopped pecans. Both add flavor and texture in a fun and festive way that is sure to add some springtime cheer to your home. If you’re interested in turning these basic meringue cookies into Easter meringues (aka resurrection cookies), check out the link here for a how-to on incorporating the Easter story into your baking. It’s a fun way to engage kiddos in the kitchen and to celebrate Easter beyond the bunny.

You Need to Know How to Whip Egg Whites and Make Meringue Cookies. This is a tutorial on whipping egg whites to firm, stiff, soft, or foamy peaks and how to make a meringue! Learn how to make easter resurrection cookies with pecans and how to troubleshoot what went wrong with your egg whites. Why did they defeat, not fluff up, not whip, etc. Learn how to use up egg whites in this tutorial post on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

I hope you all have found this tutorial useful and that you’ll give whipped egg whites a try! See below for a list of a few airy egg white-containing treats so that you can get some practice ASAP. Happy baking, friends!

If you want to know how to whip egg whites into baked goods, check out these recipes:

Milk Chocolate Chip Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Mint Chocolate Souffle

Sweet Potato Meringue Pie

Baked Alaska

You Need to Know How to Whip Egg Whites and Make Meringue Cookies. This is a tutorial on whipping egg whites to firm, stiff, soft, or foamy peaks and how to make a meringue! Learn how to make easter resurrection cookies with pecans and how to troubleshoot what went wrong with your egg whites. Why did they defeat, not fluff up, not whip, etc. Learn how to use up egg whites in this tutorial post on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

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Easter Meringue Cookies

You Need to Know How to Whip Egg Whites and Make Meringue Cookies. This is a tutorial on whipping egg whites to firm, stiff, soft, or foamy peaks and how to make a meringue! Learn how to make easter resurrection cookies with pecans and how to troubleshoot what went wrong with your egg whites. Why did they defeat, not fluff up, not whip, etc. Learn how to use up egg whites in this tutorial post on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

These easter meringue cookies are light and airy, crispy marshmallow cookies dipped in chocolate and either sprinkles or pecans. A fun and festive fat-free treat for springtime!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 360
  • Yield: 8 Dozen 1x
  • Category: Dessert
Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ teaspoon white vinegar or cream of tartar
  • Dash of salt
  • 2/3 cup (130 gm) sugar
  • Food Coloring, if desired
  • White Chocolate or almond bark for dipping, if desired
  • ½ cup sprinkles or finely chopped toasted pecans, if desired

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and line two large sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a large clean, grease-free bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, use the whisk attachement to whip the egg whites on low speed until foamy bubbles appear at the top. Add the vanilla bean paste and vinegar (or cream of tartar) and continue whipping until really foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high and slowly add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until it has all been incorporated. Continue whipping until stiff glossy peaks appear (see notes in blog post above for help on this), about 8 minutes. If you’d like to add in food coloring, add a small bit and gently whisk or fold in.
  3. Outfit a pastry bag or large Ziploc bag with a large piping tip (I used a Wilton 2A) and pipe small 1-1/4”-2” diameter cookies about 2” apart on the parchment paper. Do this swiftly so as not to allow  the foam to deflate. Place both sheet pans in the oven and bake for about 50 minutes to an hour. The cookies should feel firm to the touch. Turn off the oven and keep the door closed and allow them to cool to room temperature completely, even overnight. The cookies are done when the bottoms feel fry, pop off the paper easily, and almost sound hollow when tapped.
  4. If you wish to dip your meringues, gently microwave ¾ cup of white chocolate or almond bark for dipping and in 20 second increments, stirring regularly until melted and smooth. Do not overheat as the chocolate may seize. Quickly dip the bottoms of each meringue in chocolate and then dip in either sprinkles or the chopped pecans. Allow to cool on wax or parchment paper and eat within 1-2 days. Keep in a dry, moisture free place covered and air tight as meringues will get sticky over time, particularly in humid climates.

Notes

  • To follow the Easter story, check out the link in my blog post.

You Need to Know: How to Make Caramel

You Need to Know How to Make Caramel by Wood and Spoon Blog. This is a tutorial with visual cues on how to caramelize sugar. Learn how to know when caramel is done, when to pull caramel off the heat, and how to prevent a crystallized, grainy caramel mess! Learning about caramel is an essential baking skill that you can master today! Read more here on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood caramel sauce, salted, spun sugar, drizzle

Approximately half of my all-time favorite recipes either begin or end with caramel. No other food satisfies my sweet and salty craving like a rich caramel sauce; no other flavor works better with my favorite chocolate cakes, apple pies, and creamy ice creams. Homemade caramel is a tricky yet essential skill that every home baker needs to master, so in today’s post we’re going to talk all the nitty gritty on how to make caramel.

WHAT IS IT?

Caramel is little more than the product of sugar that has been heated and cooked to the point of caramelization. A finished caramel has a unique taste and can be manipulated to flavor a number of confections.

You Need to Know How to Make Caramel by Wood and Spoon Blog. This is a tutorial with visual cues on how to caramelize sugar. Learn how to know when caramel is done, when to pull caramel off the heat, and how to prevent a crystallized, grainy caramel mess! Learning about caramel is an essential baking skill that you can master today! Read more here on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood caramel sauce, salted, spun sugar, drizzle

HOW DO YOU MAKE IT?

This is the question that used to keep me up at night. I’d lie awake, shuddering at the burned, sugar-coated mess in my kitchen sink, wondering where I went wrong. After a bit of research and some time spent with my food scientist hat on, I’ve figured out what works best for me to create a delicious, no-fail caramel every time. Let’s dig in. 

Two Ways to Make Caramel:

There are two methods to make a caramel: dry and wet. In some instances, sugar is heated in a pan solo and allowed to melt, cook, and caramelize without the help of any other ingredient. In other cases, sugar is dissolved in a bit of water and the syrup itself is what caramelizes on the stove. Although many of the baking resources I revere prefer a dry caramel, I have found, in my personal experience, that a wet caramel is much more simple to nail every time. So from here on out today, we’re going to talk about that method. If you’re just dying to make a dry caramel, I’d recommend checking out David Lebovitz’s explanation of that process here. He will help you to avoid the grainy mess that a dry caramel can often be.

You Need to Know How to Make Caramel by Wood and Spoon Blog. This is a tutorial with visual cues on how to caramelize sugar. Learn how to know when caramel is done, when to pull caramel off the heat, and how to prevent a crystallized, grainy caramel mess! Learning about caramel is an essential baking skill that you can master today! Read more here on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood caramel sauce, salted, spun sugar, drizzle

Step One: Combine the Sugar and Water 

Gather up all of your ingredients and have them ready before you start cooking. Once a caramel is on a roll it’s hard to get that train to stop. So have everything you need to finish out your caramel prepped and ready.

You’ll need a large, heavy-bottomed pan, a rubber spatula, and your water and sugar to get started. I chose to use my enamel-coated cast-iron pot, but any kind of stainless steel or light-colored pan will work. If you plan to add cream of milk to the caramel after it’s done (as you would with an ice cream or caramel sauce), you’ll need to be sure to use a large pan as liquid added to caramel will bubble up fiercely. Try to avoid using any pan with a dark-colored bottom, as it is more difficult to tell when your caramel has reached the appropriate level of doneness.  Combine the sugar and water in the pan and place it over medium-high heat.

Step Two: Allow the Sugar to Dissolve

The first phase of making a caramel is allowing the sugar to dissolve into the water. Throughout this phase you can stir the mixture in your pan as you please. You’ll notice the mixture changes from being a grainy water to a slightly viscous syrup. Continue to stir occasionally until the sugar has just barely dissolved. To verify that the sugar has dissolved, carefully rub a bit of the non-boiling mixture between your fingers. If you notice a grainy feel, the sugar has not dissolved yet. Keep cooking until the mixture feels smooth between your fingers.

You Need to Know How to Make Caramel by Wood and Spoon Blog. This is a tutorial with visual cues on how to caramelize sugar. Learn how to know when caramel is done, when to pull caramel off the heat, and how to prevent a crystallized, grainy caramel mess! Learning about caramel is an essential baking skill that you can master today! Read more here on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood caramel sauce, salted, spun sugar, drizzle

Step 3: Caramelize the Sugar Syrup

Once the sugar has just barely dissolved, STOP STIRRING YOUR MIXTURE. Other recipes may contradict this statement, but in my experience, stirring a caramel will lead to a pan full of rock candy- no joke. So just leave it alone while it comes to a boil and begins to bronze. Some recipes may call for you to “baste” the sides of your pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent crystals from forming along the perimeter of your pot. You’re totally welcome to do this if you prefer, but I find that if you truly leave it alone on the stove the crystal build-up on the pan won’t be too bad.

Once the syrup has come to a boil, you’ll likely notice the color will first begin changing around the edges of the pan. If you see that some parts of the syrup are browning a lot faster than others, you can give an occasional gentle swirl to the pan- one time, barely moving it, and really just to allow the mixture to caramelize evenly. Be sure to not swirl the mixture all over the sides of the pan. Continue to let the mixture cook on the stove.

You Need to Know How to Make Caramel by Wood and Spoon Blog. This is a tutorial with visual cues on how to caramelize sugar. Learn how to know when caramel is done, when to pull caramel off the heat, and how to prevent a crystallized, grainy caramel mess! Learning about caramel is an essential baking skill that you can master today! Read more here on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood caramel sauce, salted, spun sugar, drizzle

As you begin to see the mixture turn golden, do not leave your pan’s side. The caramelization process happens quick, and you want to be there when it’s time to remove it from the heat. From golden, the mixture will continue to darken. Pull you pan off of the heat  when you see the mixture turn to the color of a shiny copper penny. That’s how you know it’s done!

You Need to Know How to Make Caramel by Wood and Spoon Blog. This is a tutorial with visual cues on how to caramelize sugar. Learn how to know when caramel is done, when to pull caramel off the heat, and how to prevent a crystallized, grainy caramel mess! Learning about caramel is an essential baking skill that you can master today! Read more here on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood caramel sauce, salted, spun sugar, drizzle

Step 4: Stop the Cooking Process

Once the caramel is the perfect shade of auburn, you need to stop the cooking process to prevent it from burning. If you’re making a caramel sauce or chewy caramel candies, this is when you’d carefully add the cream or milk to your pan. If you’re using the caramel to line your pan for a upside-down cake or flan, now is the time to add it to the dish! And if you need to stop the cooking process so that the warm caramel can be spun or added to a number of other dishes, have a bowl of ice water ready to dunk the bottom of your pan in. If you don’t stop the heat, the caramel will likely burn, so have your next steps laid out for you before you even begin the process. 

You Need to Know How to Make Caramel by Wood and Spoon Blog. This is a tutorial with visual cues on how to caramelize sugar. Learn how to know when caramel is done, when to pull caramel off the heat, and how to prevent a crystallized, grainy caramel mess! Learning about caramel is an essential baking skill that you can master today! Read more here on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood caramel sauce, salted, spun sugar, drizzle

HOW CAN I USE IT?

More often than not, when I’m making caramel, I use it to create a caramel sauce. There’s almost always a jar of homemade caramel sauce in my fridge waiting to be spooned over ice cream, layered into cakes, or sandwiched in between cookies. I’ll leave a few links below to some of my favorite caramel-containing recipes.

Caramel Apple Pie

Espresso Caramel Thumbprint Cookies 

Chocolate Caramel Crumble Cake

Turtle Ice Cream

ANYTHING ELSE I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CARAMEL?

Yes. David Lebovitz wrote a whole post about this that you need to read here. If you’ve never made homemade caramel before, you’ll want to give this a read ASAP. He’s really a food genius, so you can trust what he says!

Give homemade caramel a try in your home kitchens this weekend. If you follow these steps, I feel confident you can have success in the kitchen! I’m sharing my favorite recipe for homemade caramel sauce below as well, so if you want to finish out the caramel in a decadent, use-everywhere kind of sauce, this is your chance! Happy Labor Day weekend and happy baking!

If you liked this post on how to make caramel, you should check out:

How to Brown Butter

How to Make Whipped Cream

How to Make Ganache

 

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How to Make Caramel and Caramel Sauce

You Need to Know How to Make Caramel by Wood and Spoon Blog. This is a tutorial with visual cues on how to caramelize sugar. Learn how to know when caramel is done, when to pull caramel off the heat, and how to prevent a crystallized, grainy caramel mess! Learning about caramel is an essential baking skill that you can master today! Read more here on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood caramel sauce, salted, spun sugar, drizzle

Learn how to make homemade caramel and homemade salted caramel sauce here!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 2
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 17 minutes
Scale

Ingredients

To make caramel:

  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Sugar

To make salted caramel sauce:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, slightly warm
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

To make caramel:

  1. Stir the water and sugar together in a large heavy-bottomed, light-colored pan. Set the pan over medium high heat. Stir occasionally, allowing the sugar to dissolve. Once the sugar granules have dissolved completely, quite stirring the mixture and allow it the sugar to come to a boil. Once the mixture begins boiling, watch it carefully as the mixture turns from clear, to pale yellow, to golden. You can swirl the mixture occasionally to keep it browning evenly. After about 9 minutes of boiling, the mixture willl turn into a deep color, similar to a shiny copper penny. Remove the mixture from the heat and use immediately. 

To make salted caramel sauce:

  1. Once you caramel has completed browning, remove from heat and immediately being to slowly add the heavy whipping cream, whisking vigorously to incorporate. Wear oven mitts during this process to ensure that the fierce steam and bubbling doesn’t spatter or burn your hands. Place back on low heat and continue stirring for about 1-2 minutes until the mixture is smooth and incorporated. Add the butter and salt, stir to combine, and allow the mixture to cool in a heat-proof container. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. 

Notes

Once the sugar has caramelized to the correct color it will burn if you do not stop the cooking! Read through the post for more tips on creating the perfect caramel!

Doughnut Croquembouche

Doughnut Croquembouche Tutorial by Wood and Spoon Blog. Learn how to make the classic French celebration dessert for your upcoming parties and wedding! Just in time for Bastille day, this DIY will show you how to shortcut your way to a donut tower using store-bought treats, a styrofoam cone, and lots fo toothpicks. This is a fancy impressive dessert for parties, brunches, and everything in between. Find out the how-to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Listen, I’ve searched through and through my family tree to hunt out any trace of French in my lineage. It’s nowhere to be found. Apparently my undying fascination of French culture is built on a foundation of croissant consumption, not some innate inner tug towards the homeland. Regardless, I will forever get starry-eyed over the language, the scenery, and those precise methods of cooking. There’s something about that place that is almost fairytale-like, you know?

Doughnut Croquembouche Tutorial by Wood and Spoon Blog. Learn how to make the classic French celebration dessert for your upcoming parties and wedding! Just in time for Bastille day, this DIY will show you how to shortcut your way to a donut tower using store-bought treats, a styrofoam cone, and lots fo toothpicks. This is a fancy impressive dessert for parties, brunches, and everything in between. Find out the how-to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

So even though there’s not a hint of Parisian in my blood, today we’re whipping out treats for Bastille Day which is coming up on July 14th. Why? Well, I think there’s some of you out there who are a little like me- willing and ready to celebrate just about anything at any point in time if there’s fun and food and a party to be had. So let’s do this. Let’s celebrate the French Revolution, okay?

Croquembouche is a classic French dessert usually made by towering a cone-shaped stack of profiteroles and spinning it in a web of candied caramel. I’m not typically one to shy away from making intricate, time-requiring desserts, but the thought of making over a hundred homemade cream puffs while risking third-degree burns to spin magma-hot candy around said tower was all out-terrifying to me. No thank you. Instead, I decided we’d take the easy (and delicious) way out by making a doughnut croquembouche. Spoiler alert: I even skipped the effort of homemade doughnuts and bought these! That means less time baking, more time spent eating doughnuts- a wise decision, if you ask me. 

So here’s your tutorial: a DIY doughnut croquembouche for you to make for Bastille Day, a wedding, a birthday party or whatever else is deemed worthy of loads of doughnut holes (which is really anything my opinion.) Let’s get started!

What You’ll Need:Doughnut Croquembouche Tutorial by Wood and Spoon Blog. Learn how to make the classic French celebration dessert for your upcoming parties and wedding! Just in time for Bastille day, this DIY will show you how to shortcut your way to a donut tower using store-bought treats, a styrofoam cone, and lots fo toothpicks. This is a fancy impressive dessert for parties, brunches, and everything in between. Find out the how-to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

One New 5″x18″ Styrofoam Cone (I bought mine here)

12 Dozen Doughnut Holes (I ordered mine a day in advance from our local donut shop for less than $20)

1 Bag of Mini Powdered Sugar Doughnuts

About 300-400 Toothpicks

Additional Powdered Sugar and A Sifter, If Desired

Directions:

Begin by inserting toothpicks about halfway into the base of the styrofoam cone. The toothpicks should be placed in sets of two about an inch apart. You can go ahead and stick in a few doughnut holes to make sure that you’re spacing out your toothpicks well. I chose to place toothpicks into the bottom quarter section of the cone before putting the doughnuts on, but you can do this however you’d like. Make sure your doughnuts are snug together on the cone so that the styrofoam cone isn’t visible beneath. Continue filling in the cone from bottom to top until you get to the very end of the cone. Arrange doughnuts on the peak of the cone and feel free to use toothpicks to stick a couple more doughnuts on top of the tippy top doughnuts as well. 

Doughnut Croquembouche Tutorial by Wood and Spoon Blog. Learn how to make the classic French celebration dessert for your upcoming parties and wedding! Just in time for Bastille day, this DIY will show you how to shortcut your way to a donut tower using store-bought treats, a styrofoam cone, and lots fo toothpicks. This is a fancy impressive dessert for parties, brunches, and everything in between. Find out the how-to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Next, fill in the cone with some of the powdered sugar doughnuts. I chose to do this step last so that I could space the powdered sugar doughnuts out well. Alternatively, you could use some powdered sugar doughnuts as well. Simply remove a doughnut hole and barely squish the doughnuts around it to make room for the slightly larger powdered sugar mini doughnut. Place the mini doughnut on the toothpicks and continue arranging a few more around the cone as desired. I chose to place one on top as well, but this is your choice.

Doughnut Croquembouche Tutorial by Wood and Spoon Blog. Learn how to make the classic French celebration dessert for your upcoming parties and wedding! Just in time for Bastille day, this DIY will show you how to shortcut your way to a donut tower using store-bought treats, a styrofoam cone, and lots fo toothpicks. This is a fancy impressive dessert for parties, brunches, and everything in between. Find out the how-to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Finally, if desired, use a fine sifter to sift on a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Be sure to do this step just before serving. 

What Else You Need to Know:

  • Each doughnut requires about two toothpicks to ensure that it stays on the cone well.
  • Be gentle with the top of the cone! I broke mine while trying to pull out a toothpick. You can glue this back on, but it’s an added step that isn’t necessary.
  • If you use a larger or smaller cone, the amount of doughnuts and toothpicks you’ll require will differ.
  • Fresh doughnuts taste best, so do try to assemble this the day you’re planning to serve it. 

And That’s All It Takes to Make a Doughnut Croquembouche!

Truly, this has got to be one of the cutest shortcut DIYs I’ve ever made. I hope you’ll give it a try for your upcoming parties. In the meantime, vive la France! Vive la dougnuts! Vive la croquembouche!

Doughnut Croquembouche Tutorial by Wood and Spoon Blog. Learn how to make the classic French celebration dessert for your upcoming parties and wedding! Just in time for Bastille day, this DIY will show you how to shortcut your way to a donut tower using store-bought treats, a styrofoam cone, and lots fo toothpicks. This is a fancy impressive dessert for parties, brunches, and everything in between. Find out the how-to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

If You Liked This Tutorial for Doughnut Croquembouche, You Should Check Out:

Alphabet Cream Pie

Marbled Sugar Cookies

Gold Splattered Sugar Cookies

Ganache Tutorial and Homemade Truffles

Alphabet Cream Pie Tutorial

Alphabet Cream Pie recipe and tutorial by wood and spoon blog by Kate wood. this is a tutorial for those letter / number pastry cream filled tart cookies that have been popping up all over the internet! Find out how to make this simple dessert that is perfect for celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. You make two sheets of pie crust letters and fill the whole thing with piped out lemon whipped cream cheese filling. The tart is topped with fresh fruit, macaroon cookies, flowers, candies, sprinkles and whatever else feels festive. Learn how to stencil and prepare this fun treat! recipe on thewoodandspoon.cpom

Around here, we look for any reason to celebrate. Whether it’s Christmas Day, the neighbor’s cat’s birthday, or 5 days since someone in our home wet the bed, we hunt out reasons to throw a party like our lives (and sanity) depend on it. There’s something 100% fabulous about celebrating for little reason at all, and I love to find new treats to serve at these any-occasion gatherings. So unless you’ve been living under a giant rock or still haven’t mastered Instagram (shoutout to my husband!), you’ve probably seen the cute little layered cream tarts in the shape of numbers and letters all over the internet. They’re adorable, and I loved the idea so much that I hopped on that bandwagon to bring you a tutorial to make your very own alphabet cream pie. 

Alphabet Cream Pie recipe and tutorial by wood and spoon blog by Kate wood. this is a tutorial for those letter / number pastry cream filled tart cookies that have been popping up all over the internet! Find out how to make this simple dessert that is perfect for celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. You make two sheets of pie crust letters and fill the whole thing with piped out lemon whipped cream cheese filling. The tart is topped with fresh fruit, macaroon cookies, flowers, candies, sprinkles and whatever else feels festive. Learn how to stencil and prepare this fun treat! recipe on thewoodandspoon.cpom

Alphabet Cream Pie recipe and tutorial by wood and spoon blog by Kate wood. this is a tutorial for those letter / number pastry cream filled tart cookies that have been popping up all over the internet! Find out how to make this simple dessert that is perfect for celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. You make two sheets of pie crust letters and fill the whole thing with piped out lemon whipped cream cheese filling. The tart is topped with fresh fruit, macaroon cookies, flowers, candies, sprinkles and whatever else feels festive. Learn how to stencil and prepare this fun treat! recipe on thewoodandspoon.cpom

Let me give you the quick scoop on these. I have no idea where they originated from, but I will tell you that they have taken over the internet. These desserts typically start with two sets of baked tart shells cut into the shape of numbers or letters. A cream filling is piped on each set of tarts that are then layered together and decorated with a million different treats: fresh fruit, macaroons, mini marshmallows, cookies, flowers, sprinkles, and the rest of the kitchen sink. Over time, the pastry cream barely softens the tarts so that you have a creamy layered dessert that is as beautiful as it is delicious. Alphabet Cream Pie recipe and tutorial by wood and spoon blog by Kate wood. this is a tutorial for those letter / number pastry cream filled tart cookies that have been popping up all over the internet! Find out how to make this simple dessert that is perfect for celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. You make two sheets of pie crust letters and fill the whole thing with piped out lemon whipped cream cheese filling. The tart is topped with fresh fruit, macaroon cookies, flowers, candies, sprinkles and whatever else feels festive. Learn how to stencil and prepare this fun treat! recipe on thewoodandspoon.cpom

I decided I didn’t want to fuss with tart shells and pastry cream. I wanted something I was more familiar with, something that would taste better, something way easier. So I introduce to you the alphabet cream pie: a few layers of buttery pie crust, filled with a simple lemon and vanilla bean whipped cream cheese, and topped with all of my favorite fresh fruit. Although this alphabet cream pie takes a step or two to make, it is the simplest version of this fancy pants treat that you will find and is incredibly fun to make. Let’s get started! Alphabet Cream Pie recipe and tutorial by wood and spoon blog by Kate wood. this is a tutorial for those letter / number pastry cream filled tart cookies that have been popping up all over the internet! Find out how to make this simple dessert that is perfect for celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. You make two sheets of pie crust letters and fill the whole thing with piped out lemon whipped cream cheese filling. The tart is topped with fresh fruit, macaroon cookies, flowers, candies, sprinkles and whatever else feels festive. Learn how to stencil and prepare this fun treat! recipe on thewoodandspoon.cpom

What You’ll Need:

Paper or stencil to trace letters/numbers

Paring knife or X-acto knife to trim out letters/numbers

Parchment paper for lining baking sheets

Piping bag fitted with a large round tip (I use Wilton 1A ) or a large plastic bag

1 Recipe for pie dough (see below)

1 Recipe for cream filling (see below) 

Items to decorate the pie

 

Directions:

You’ll need a stencil to trace out the numbers or letters for the alphabet cream pie. I printed out block letters on sheets of computer paper, cut them out, and used those to trace my letters onto the dough. You could also sketch it out on a piece of parchment paper. Using a stencil is vital so that your stacked letters match up. You’ll have enough dough to cover approximately two half sheet pans, so be sure that you letters aren’t any larger than what would fit on the pan- otherwise you’ll require more dough!

Alphabet Cream Pie recipe and tutorial by wood and spoon blog by Kate wood. this is a tutorial for those letter / number pastry cream filled tart cookies that have been popping up all over the internet! Find out how to make this simple dessert that is perfect for celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. You make two sheets of pie crust letters and fill the whole thing with piped out lemon whipped cream cheese filling. The tart is topped with fresh fruit, macaroon cookies, flowers, candies, sprinkles and whatever else feels festive. Learn how to stencil and prepare this fun treat! recipe on thewoodandspoon.cpom

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and roll the dough out on a floured surface to ¼” thick. If the dough is too hard, allow it to rest at room temp about 5-10 minutes.  Use a paring knife or a clean X-acto knife to cut out the letters. You’ll need two of each letter or number as they will stack one on top of the other. (Sidetone: I opted to do “HBD,” which is millennial shorthand for “Happy Birthday,” but you could just as easily do a number 16, 21, or 50 for a special birthday, or even just one single giant letter to celebrate someone awesome!) Place the letters on a parchment-lined baking sheet at least an inch apart. If the dough got soft and the letters smooshed a bit, just use the stencil to reorient the letter how it was meant to be shaped. Place the prepared pan in the fridge or freezer to firm up (5 minutes for freezer, 10 minutes for fridge) and then bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the letters are barely puffed and golden. You can bake multiple pans in the oven, just be sure to quickly rotate the top and bottom pans about halfway through. Allow the letters to cool thoroughly on a cooling rack prior to use.

Alphabet Cream Pie recipe and tutorial by wood and spoon blog by Kate wood. this is a tutorial for those letter / number pastry cream filled tart cookies that have been popping up all over the internet! Find out how to make this simple dessert that is perfect for celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. You make two sheets of pie crust letters and fill the whole thing with piped out lemon whipped cream cheese filling. The tart is topped with fresh fruit, macaroon cookies, flowers, candies, sprinkles and whatever else feels festive. Learn how to stencil and prepare this fun treat! recipe on thewoodandspoon.cpom

When the letters have cooled, prepare the serving platter or workspace you’re going to assemble the pie on. Place about half of the cream filling in a large piping bag fitted with a large round tip. If you don’t have this, feel free to fill a gallon or quart sized plastic bag with some cream and snip the tip off of the corner of the bag. Your round dollops won’t be as perfect, but no one will care. Pipe a dot or two of cream under each letter (once it has chilled, this will adhere it gently to your serving platter), and then begin piping ½ tablespoon-sized dollops all over the letters. I prefer to use rows and columns, but you can do it however you please. Once you’ve covered the first layer of letters, place the second layer of letters gently on top and then repeat this process. Cover the letters entirely with dollops of cream, refilling your piping bag as needed.

Alphabet Cream Pie recipe and tutorial by wood and spoon blog by Kate wood. this is a tutorial for those letter / number pastry cream filled tart cookies that have been popping up all over the internet! Find out how to make this simple dessert that is perfect for celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. You make two sheets of pie crust letters and fill the whole thing with piped out lemon whipped cream cheese filling. The tart is topped with fresh fruit, macaroon cookies, flowers, candies, sprinkles and whatever else feels festive. Learn how to stencil and prepare this fun treat! recipe on thewoodandspoon.cpom

When you’ve completed the process, you’re ready to decorate! I use fresh fruit, like strawberries and blueberries, or even little candies. You are free to decorate with little cookies or edible flowers as well. If you use non-edible flowers, just wrap the stem or base of the flower touching the pie in a tiny piece of aluminum foil to keep them food safe. You can also color any remaining cream filling and use a star tip or another decorative piping tip to pipe on little colorful dollops of cream. The pie itself will keep in the fridge for a few days, but the items on top of the pie may begin to weep and bleed. As a result, I recommend eating this treat the day it is made.

Alphabet Cream Pie recipe and tutorial by wood and spoon blog by Kate wood. this is a tutorial for those letter / number pastry cream filled tart cookies that have been popping up all over the internet! Find out how to make this simple dessert that is perfect for celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. You make two sheets of pie crust letters and fill the whole thing with piped out lemon whipped cream cheese filling. The tart is topped with fresh fruit, macaroon cookies, flowers, candies, sprinkles and whatever else feels festive. Learn how to stencil and prepare this fun treat! recipe on thewoodandspoon.cpom

This alphabet cream pie is totally festive and the perfect treat to celebrate the birthdays, anniversaries, and everyday happenings in your life. Make it for someone awesome and top it with all of their favorite things. It will be the celebration pie to beat!

If you like this alphabet cream pie tutorial, check out:

Painted Sugar Cookies 

Marbled Sugar Cookies

Gold Splatted Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

Easter Cake 

 

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Alphabet Cream Pie

Alphabet Cream Pie recipe and tutorial by wood and spoon blog by Kate wood. this is a tutorial for those letter / number pastry cream filled tart cookies that have been popping up all over the internet! Find out how to make this simple dessert that is perfect for celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. You make two sheets of pie crust letters and fill the whole thing with piped out lemon whipped cream cheese filling. The tart is topped with fresh fruit, macaroon cookies, flowers, candies, sprinkles and whatever else feels festive. Learn how to stencil and prepare this fun treat! recipe on thewoodandspoon.cpom

This alphabet cream pie is a take on those popular letter/number tarts that are taking over the internet! This is two layers of shaped baked pie dough filled with a lemon vanilla bean cream cheese whipped filling and topped with fresh berries. 

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 45
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 120
Scale

Ingredients

For the pie crust:

  • 3 ½ cups (420 gm) all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons (12 gm) sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon (4 gm) salt
  • 2/3 cup (135 gm) chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup (11/2 sticks, 170 gm) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 10 tablespoons (approximately) ice water

For the cream filling:

  • 8 ounces (225 gm) regular cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup (150 gm) sugar
  • 3 cups (680 gm) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 11/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

Instructions

To prepare the pie dough:

  1. Give the dry ingredients a whiz in the food processor to combine.
  2. Pulse in the shortening and butter, just until barely evenly dispersed and pea-sized clump exist throughout.
  3. Begin adding ice water 2 tablespoons at a time until moist clumps begin to form. I typically use about 6 tablespoons of water.
  4. Remove dough from food processor and separate in two round disks. Wrap in Saran wrap and chill for at least one to two hours prior to use.

To prepare the cream filling:

  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and lemon zest together until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add a few tablespoons of the cream and beat to incorporate. Add a bit more cream and beat to incorporate. Once the cream cheese mixture is thick and liquidy, add the remaining cream and the vanilla, beating until thickened and stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use, but best used immediately.

YOU NEED TO KNOW: How to Make Ganache (and Homemade Chocolate Truffles!)

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

There are a few recipes that every home baker needs to know like the back of their hand. Ganache, with only two ingredients and two steps to create it, is one of a few baking fundamentals that can elevate homemade dishes to sweet, chocolatey bliss. Despite its simplicity, ganache often scares bakers away from attempting to make it themselves at home. Today, in an effort to conquer this Everest, we are going to cover the basics on ganache so that you can create decadent, chocolate dishes with ease from here on out. We’re also going to learn how to make 4 different types of homemade chocolate truffles from a single ganache base, so if you’re interested in making some treats for your valentine (or yourself, no judgement here!), this is a post you’ll want to listen in on. Let’s get started!

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

What Is It?

Ganache is the mixture of warmed cream and chocolate that can be used to glaze, fill, coat, or whip into baked goods and desserts. Ganache can take on a variety of forms depending on the cream to chocolate ratio, and the concentration and preparation of these two ingredients will alter the final product.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com
The three different types of ganache, photographed just after being mixed together.

How Do You Make It?

All ganaches begin by heating heavy whipping cream until hot but not boiling. The warm cream is poured over finely chopped chocolate and allowed to rest for a few minutes until the chocolate has melted enough to be stirred into the cream. When combined, the chocolate and cream transform into a smooth and rich liquid that we know as ganache.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

What Are the Different Types of Ganache?

The proportion of cream to chocolate will determine how viscous your final product will be. A higher cream:chocolate weight ratio will land you a more thin chocolate glaze, while a ganache with more chocolate than cream will result in a thick, fudgy texture. Here are three basic cream:chocolate ratios that you need to know. 

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

1:1 – One part cream to one part chocolate

Using the same weight of cream and chocolate will result in a thick fudge sauce consistency. When warm, this ganache can be poured thickly over cakes, breads, and ice cream, yet when chilled, the ganache can be used to fill cakes, pastries, and tarts. If whipped, this ganache ratio will transform into a hardening frosting that is perfect for cakes to be covered in fondant. You might remember this ganache from marble loaf pound cake .

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com
1:1 Ganache after cooling for a bit.

1:2 – One part cream to two parts chocolate

Ganache will become thick and viscous as you increase the amount of chocolate to cream. The more chocolate, the thicker it will be. We will use this ratio later today to prepare homemade truffles, but you might remember a similarly rich ganache from the mint chocolate sandwich cookies.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com
2:1 ganache after cooling a bit.

2:1 – Two parts cream to one part chocolate

When warm, this ganache will be a thin, pourable glaze that can be used to coat baked goods, but when allowed to cool, this ganache ratio will whip into a light and fluffy frosting that will stay soft upon setting.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com
1:2 ganache before and after whipping.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Ganache?

There’s a few other things that will affect your final ganache. First: time and temperature. A warm, freshly made ganache will be a bit more loose than one that has been resting at room temperature or chilled overnight in the fridge. Given enough time and cool temperatures, all ganaches will firm up somewhat from their warm state. For example, if you’ve prepared a thick ganache with more chocolate than cream, you’ll find the ganache is pourable and saucy while warm, but will harden up to a firm, malleable consistency after some time in the fridge. Cold ganache will always be more firm than a warm one, so if you find that your final outcome is not as thick as you anticipated, it may be that you just need to let it rest a bit more.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

The type of chocolate that you choose to use will also affect your final ganache. While most recipes call for bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, ganache can be made with white or milk chocolate as well. The type of chocolate you choose will affect the flavor and texture of your ganache, so be sure to use chocolate that you would normally enjoy eating on its own.

Finally, ganache can be flavored with a few simple add-ins. Extracts, liquors, and even nut butters can be whisked into a warm ganache to to add flavor the the chocolate base. I’ll share a few simple variations below, but be sure to tell me if you have any favorites that I need to try!

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

Homemade Chocolate Truffles

Let’s be honest. There’s nothing sweeter than romance via chocolate on Valentine’s Day and no better way to share that love than by making homemade chocolate truffles. Now that you’ve mastered ganache, you can easily prepare 4 different homemade chocolate truffles to show love to your boo thang. Of course there’s a million other options, but here are a few rich candies to get started with:

Simple Chocolate Truffles

The gold standard for chocolate candies, these babies are the most basic form of truffle, prepared by scooping firm rounds of chilled ganache and rolling it in cocoa powder. These are perfect for the more-is-more kind of chocolate lover in your life. 

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

Peanut Butter Truffles

Here, peanut butter is stirred into the warm ganache before it’s chilled to a thick consistency. Once firm, simply scoop small mounds of chocolate to roll and refrigerate until cold. The chilled balls are then dipped in a coating of melted chocolate and sprinkled with chopped peanuts.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Truffles

Simple, rich, and decadent are these truffles, made by preparing a dark chocolate ganache with the addition of sea salt. Once chilled, balls of ganache are dipped in dark chocolate, and a sprinkle of sea salt gives these little guys a sophisticated look with that sweet and salty taste.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

Hazelnut Truffles

Similar to the peanut butter truffles, these hazelnut truffles are made by stirring chocolate hazelnut spread into the warm ganache. I like to roll the chilled truffles in chopped hazelnuts, but certainly you could dip these in chocolate as well.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

A Few Other Truffle Filling Variations:

Boozy Truffles: Add 1 tablespoon of rum, bourbon, coffee or orange liqueur into the warm chocolate ganache recipe. 

Vanilla Truffles: Add 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract to the warm chocolate ganache. Roll the finished balls in powdered sugar.

Coconut Truffles: Add 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract to the warm chocolate ganache and roll the finished balls in toasted sweetened coconut.

Peppermint Truffles: Add 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract to the warm chocolate ganache and roll the finished balls in crushed candy canes. 

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

Ok, I’m Obsessed with Ganache. How Do I Get Started?! 

Ganache and homemade truffles are one of the easiest recipes you’ll make all year. Once you know how to make a base ganache you can make a ton of different treats like peanut butter chocolate cheesecake, mint brownie ice cream cake, and pretzel millionaire bars. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you’ll be glad to have this technique in your pocket, and you honey booboo will be even more thrilled. Give these homemade chocolate truffles a try and let me know what you think! #MonthofChocolate will continue next week, so stay tuned for more milky cocoa goodness!

 

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Chocolate Ganache

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

Making homemade ganache is simple and only requires two ingredients. Use some basic ratios to learn how to make the perfect ganache your recipe needs!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
Scale

Ingredients

  • Dark Chocolate, finely chopped
  • Heavy Whipping Cream

Instructions

  1. Place the chocolate in a bowl and set aside while you prepare the cream.Warm the cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat until cream is hot and beginning to steam. Do not boil.
  2. Pour the warm cream over the chopped chocolate and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Allow it to rest about 5 minutes, and then use a spoon or spatula to stir the chocolate and cream together. If the chocolate is not completely melted you can microwave the chocolate and cream together in 15 second increments, stirring until the two have combined. 
  3. Allow the ganache to cool to your desired consistency. You can expedite this process by placing the bowl in the refrigerator. Stir it regularly to keep it uniform in consistency.

Notes

For a thick glaze/ cake or pie filling:

  • Use a 1:1 chocolate to cream ratio.
  • Weigh equal amounts of cream and chocolate. For example, you may use 2 ounces of heavy whipping cream and 2 ounces of chocolate to make 4 ounces of ganache.
  • If you plan to frost a cake with this ganache, allow it to cool and then whip with a paddle attachment until fluffy in the bowl of a stand mixer. 

For truffle thick ganache:

  • Use a 1:2 cream to chocolate ratio.
  • Weigh out double the amount of chocolate to cream. For example, you might combine 2 ounces of cream and 4 ounces of chocolate to make 6 ounces of truffle thick ganache. 
  • If you plan to use this ganache to make truffles, chill the ganache until it is firm enough to scoop.

For a thin glaze/ whipped ganache:

  • Use a 2:1 cream to chocolate ratio.
  • Weigh out double the amount of cream than chocolate. For example, you might combine 4 ounces of cream and 2 ounces of chocolate to prepare 6 ounces of thin ganache. 
  • For whipped ganache, allow the cream to set out or chill in the fridge until slightly thickened and viscous. Place in the bowl of a stand mixer and use the whisk attachment to beat until light and fluffy. Be sure to not overbeat- you may make butter!

 

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Homemade Truffles

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

If you know how to make ganache, these homemade truffles are a cinch! Four variations will make for a beautiful homemade dessert!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Total Time: 20
  • Yield: 18 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces (115 gm) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces (60 gm) heavy whipping cream
  • Cocoa powder (for classic truffles)
  • 1/4 cup (60 gm) creamy peanut butter (for peanut butter truffles)
  • 6 tablespoons (90 gm) chocolate hazelnut spread (for hazelnut truffles)
  • Sea Salt (for dark chocolate truffles)
  • 1 cup (180 gm) chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate for dipping, optional
  • Toasted peanuts or hazelnuts, finely chopped, optional

Instructions

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a small mixing bowl
  2. Heat the heavy whipping cream until hot. Pour over the chocolate, stir to combine, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow to rest 5 minutes and then stir to combine until smooth. Microwave in 15 second increments if the chocolate is not thoroughly melted. If you plan to make classic truffles, refrigerate this mixture until firmed but still malleable. Scoop out 2 teaspoon sized balls and roll them in cocoa powder. Refrigerate to firm and then serve at room temperature. 

For peanut butter truffles:

  1. Stir the peanut butter into the warm ganache and place in the fridge to chill. Once the ganache is set but still scoopable, spoon 2 teaspoon sized balls (I use a small cookie scoop) of ganache and roll gently in your hands. Place the balls back in the fridge to cool. In the meantime, melt the additional chocolate in a double boiler set over medium-low heat. Roll each chilled ball in the melted chocolate and place on a piece of parchment or wax paper to set. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and cool completely in the fridge.

For hazelnut truffles:

  1. Stir the chocolate hazelnut spread into the warm ganache and place in the fridge to chill. Once the ganache is set but still scoopable, spoon 2 teaspoon sized balls (I use a small cookie scoop) of ganache and roll gently in your hands. Roll each ball in the finely chopped hazelnuts and place in the fridge to set. 

For sea salt truffles: 

  1. Sprinkle in a small pinch of salt and stir to combine. Place in the fridge to chill. Once the ganache is set but still scoopable, spoon 2 teaspoon sized balls (I use a small cookie scoop) of ganache and roll gently in your hands. In the meantime, melt the additional chocolate in a double boiler set over medium-low heat. Roll each chilled ball in the melted chocolate and place on a piece of parchment or wax paper to set. Sprinkle with sea salt and allow to firm up at room temperature or in the fridge.