Summer Foraging Recipe: Elderberry-Blueberry Jam with Chia Seeds

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In the woodland valleys of Central California, Elderflower trees have been in bloom all spring with their prolific, lacy white blossoms.  I've enjoyed making Elderflower syrup, candied elderflowers and sweet Elderflower Tempura.  A few days ago, I noticed that some of the trees are starting to bear fruit -- diminutive, tart little berries, deep purplish-blue growing in heavy clusters.  

Inspired by a love of biscuits and jam, foraging, and adapted from a recipe from Simply Beyond Herbs, I whipped up a simple and delicious jam made from the foraged Elderberries, fresh blueberries and using chia seeds for a perfect jammy consistency.

Enjoy and Happy Foraging!
PrintWith ImageWithout Image Elderberry-Blueberry Chia JamYield: One half-pint jarAuthor: Jenn Erickson Prep time: 10 MCook time: 10 MTotal time: 20 M An easy and delicious sweet-tart jam to make from foraged Elderberries. Ingredients:1 1/2 cups elderberries, rinsedPinch of salt1 cup blueberries, rinsed2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds1/2 Tabl…

Fondant Tutorial: Woodland Toadstools


Last weekend I had the opportunity to make the birthday cake for my niece's 1st birthday. For her woodland themed party, I created a whimsical little enchanted toadstool cake. Today, I'm sharing a tutorial for how to make your own sweet little toadstools out of rolled fondant.  



To decorate a cake you'll want to make many toadstools in lots of different shapes and sizes, so perfection isn't important. Because they're mounted on toothpicks, the edible candy toadstools make excellent cupcake toppers too!

FAIRY FACT: Fondant mushrooms are very popular with gnomes.

The fondant mushroom toadstools are quick and easy to make and don't require any special equipment. You don't need to be a cake decorating professional to get great results from this beginner level project.


FONDANT TOADSTOOLS

  • Materials
  • White Fondant
  • Red Fondant
  • (I tinted mine with a touch of brown for a more organic color)
  • A thin paint brush
  • cocoa powder
  • toothpicks
  • a Styrofoam block
  • royal icing (recipe below)


Step 1:  Take a small ball of white fondant and roll it between your palms to form a cone.  Flatten the bottom slightly.




Step 2:  Dip the bottom end in a small bowl of cocoa powder.  Use your fingers to help distribute the cocoa powder part way up the sides of the stem.




Step 3:  Insert a toothpick through the bottom of the stem.  At this point, you can reshape the stem to give it a curve or more dimension.  




Step 4:  Roll a small piece of red fondant in to a ball.  Give it a flat side with your thumb.  




Optional:  use a dab of water to attach a small disc of white fondant to the flat side of the red fondant.  Use a toothpick, or the end of the brush to press it in to the "cap" and to give it the appearance of mushroom "gills".  I usually do this step for the larger toadstools, but skip it for the smaller ones.  




Once you've finished your cap, use the end of the paint brush to make an indentation in the flat side of the cap, to receive the stem.



Step 5:  Put a small dab of water inside the depression and insert stem.  Set on the Styrofoam block to set, while you make the remaining toadstools.


Step 6:  Dot the caps with royal icing and allow to set. The finished toadstools can be kept in an airtight container for months.


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Easy Royal Icing
1/2 cup confectioners sugar (plus more, depending on humidity)
2 teaspoons meringue powder
1 Tablespoons water

Whip all ingredients with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 5 minutes.  Volume will have increased and the glossy sheen will begin to dull.  The icing should hold its shape.  If it is too loose, add another Tablespoon of confectioners sugar.  Transfer to a pastry bag (or ziploc) and snip a small hole in the tip.  Or, use a pastry bag fitted with a #3 tip for more precision.

Tip:  Leftover royal icing can be stored in the freezer for up to a month. I simply roll the bag up on itself, then wrap with a rubber band. When I need it in a pinch, it can be microwaved in 5 second increments to bring it back up to room temp.


Inside the Woodland Toadstool Cake:
Applesauce Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Icing




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