Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Who Wants To (Lego) Party?

Well, my younger son's birthday party is a mere 2 weeks away so we are in full Lego party frenzy here. I thought I'd post one of the items I made for his party... Lego marshmallow minifigure heads. These are super cute, and a really good introduction to working with coating chocolate. I'm going to start with a finished product picture, and then walk you through how to do it.
Super cute, right? These are going to be the toppers for his cupcakes. He's so excited and honestly, I am getting there too!! So let's start with ingredients. You'll need 1 bag of large marshmallow, 1 bag of small marshmallows, 1 bag of candy melts (I use Wilton brand), a pack of lollipop sticks, and a food grade marker. I bought the food marker online from Amazon. Here's the items so when you go to buy them, you know you're getting the right thing.

So, the first step is prepare your work area. Line your counter with wax paper. It makes cleanup much easier, and the candy releases from it very easily. One very important rule. Chocolate doesn't play nicely with water!!! Make sure every last bit of you tools, workspace, bowl, etc is completely dry. Not mostly dry, no partly dry, I'm talking Sahara desert dry. Water causes chocolate to bind, which means it turns all grainy and clumpy. Once it's hit that point, you're sunk without a ton of work. Okay, so put all the candy melts into a microwave safe bowl. I use a ceramic bowl because it holds heat so well, so the chocolate stays fluid longer. Put the candy melts into the microwave and set it on 50% power. Start with 1 minute, and stir. Continue doing this at 50% power until the chocolate is fully melted and will run off of a spoon, like this:
While the chocolate is melting oh so slowly in the microwave, cut the mini marshmallows in half like this:
I know you will be temped to crank up the microwave to full power but trust me, don't. There's nothing like the smell of burnt chocolate to help you learn that lesson. Please let my mistake help prevent you from making the same one. If your candy burns, it all has to get throw out. It ruins the flavor of the entire batch.

So now, pick up the half of a mini marshmallow, dip it into the melted chocolate and stick it onto the top of the regular marshmallow. Here's two pics of these steps:
You can see I have a bunch lined up already "glued" together. Now you need to let them sit for a few minutes until the chocolate sets. You may want to nuke the chocolate for another 30 seconds at 50% power and give it a stir. Remember, you want it to be really "liquidy". Once they are set, grab a marshmallow stick and carefully jam the marshmallow onto the stick, almost all the way. It should like this:
Now you're going to dip the marshmallow into the melted chocolate and swirl it around to make sure it's completely coated. Lift it straight out of the chocolate and tap the stick on the side of the bowl. This will help remove the excess chocolate so you don't have a puddle under your candy while they are setting. Use the spoon you stirred the chocolate to carefully scrap the excess chocolate. It doesn't matter if you scrape it bare, because it's the back, and no one should be that picky anyhow! Here's how it looks once it's coated.
From here, I just lay them out on the wax paper, being careful to make sure they don't touch, since they will stick together and make an ugly mess. Here's my work drying.
Once they dry, use the food safe market to gently draw faces on each one. I just grabbed a bunch of heads from the boys Lego bins and started copying them. Now, as the candy sets, it won't be shiny anymore, but that's okay.  That's it! All finished! To clean the bowl, I just run really hot water in it and then add a drop of dish detergent. Easy! Enjoy and happy "Lego-ing"!

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