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How to make Decorative Carrots
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Method 1: Buttercream
Method 2: Candy Melts
Orange and green candy melts
Method 3: Marzipan
Orange food coloring
Fresh parsley, trimmed for carrot tops
Place 3/4 of the buttercream in a medium mixing bowl. Add orange food coloring and stir until colored.
Place the remaining buttercream in a small mixing bowl. Add the green food coloring and stir until colored.
Transfer the orange buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Transfer the green food coloring to a piping bag fitted with the leaf tip. Pipe an upside triangle on your cake or cupcake. Add three or four ‘leaves’ using the green buttercream.
Candy Melt Carrots
Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Melt the orange candy melts per the package instructions then transfer them to a sealable plastic bag or piping bag. Let the melts cool slightly until less runny. Cut off the tip and pipe the shape of a carrot.
Repeat with the green candy melts, but pipe the green leaves of each carrot.
Transfer the baking sheet to the fridge for 5 minutes or until the candy melts have fully hardened. Carefully release each carrot from the baking sheet and place on your cupcakes or cake.
Knead food coloring into marzipan until brightly colored. Roll into a log and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Rolling each piece between your palms, form into a small carrot shape.
Make lines into the carrots with a toothpick dipped in oil to give a realistic appearance. Use the toothpick to poke a small hole at the top of each carrot. Insert parsley stems the hole. Place on top cupcakes or cake.
How to make Easy Chocolate Cupcake Decorating
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Tempered chocolate (tutorial here)
Melting, decorating, or dipping chocolate, melted (should contain NO cocoa butter)
For piped designed:
Use a printable guide inserted into a sheet protector or placed under semi-translucent parchment or wax paper to get started, if desired.
Transfer the tempered chocolate to a squeeze bottle or small piping or ziptop bag with a small hole snipped in one corner. Hold bag about 1-inch above the sheet then gently squeeze, tracing the designers. Squeeze with even pressure but stop before you think you should as the chocolate will continue flowing.
Fill any gaps with the tip of a toothpick. Allow the chocolate to set completely in the fridge, about 15 minutes, before carefully peeling and placing on your cupcakes.
For shard or shaped designs
Scoop chocolate onto a small sheet of parchment paper and spread out evenly with an offset spatula, keeping about a 1-inch border on all edges. Pick up and gently drop the parchment on the counter a few times to spread out evenly and release any air bubbles. Sprinkle with sprinkles, decorations, or finely chopped candy.
Allow the chocolate to set just until it’s dry to the touch but still flexible. Use a knife to square off all the edges. Make cuts into the chocolate into shapes you desire. Alternatively, you could also use a cookie cutter to cut shapes. If the cookie cutter is sticking, allow the chocolate to set and harden for a few more minutes before continuing with the shapes.
Allow the chocolate to set completely in the fridge, about 15 minutes, before carefully peeling and placing on your cupcakes.
How to make Belgian Liege Waffles
Yield: 10 waffles
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
1/2 cup whole milk, lukewarm
1/3 cup water, lukewarm
3 teaspoons instant yeast
2 large eggs, at room temperature and beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
3 2/3 cups (16.5 ounces) bread flour
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (8 ounces) pearl sugar (or sugar cubes, broken into pieces)
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the milk, water, yeast, eggs, honey, vanilla, sugar, and salt. Mix until well combined.
On low speed, add in all but 1 cup of flour and mix until combined. On low speed, add the butter, one cube at a time, thoroughly kneading in each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed before adding in any more butter. Once all the butter has been incorporated, add the remaining flour and knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Remove the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 2 hours. Punch the dough down, cover again with plastic, and place in the fridge overnight or up to 24 hours.
When ready to cook, heat up a Belgian waffle iron. Remove the dough from the fridge and knead in all of the pearl sugar. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball.
Place first ball of waffle dough on grid and cook according to waffle maker’s instructions. Cook until deeply golden all over, about 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully transfer with tongs or a fork to baking sheet.
Keep waffles warm in a 200°F oven if you plan to eat them right away. These waffles must be served warm or the pearl sugar will harden. Freeze any leftover waffles and reheat in a 200°F oven until warmed through.
How to make Butterscotch Sauce
Yield: about 3/4 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons dark liquor, optional
In a medium heavy saucepan or skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the sugar, salt, and cream and stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Without stirring, let the mixture cook at a bubbling simmer for three minutes. Be careful not to boil too long, or you’ll end up with chewy butterscotch candies instead of a sauce.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly before stirring in the vanilla extract. Pour into a resalable container, preferably glass. Don’t scrape the sides of the pan into the container or you may end up with gritty pieces of undissolved sugar.
Serving and Storage: The sauce should be served warm. It can be stored in a jar, in the refrigerator, for up to two weeks. Reheat the butterscotch sauce in a saucepan over low heat.