That is, they are gently falling from chocolate trees onto plush buttercream grass! Oh, how I love October - the changing of leaves, crisp days and nights, hats and scarves, Halloween, my birthday and, of course, new baking possibilities! Apples, pumpkins, and cider...oh, my! So many recipes, so little time. Where should we start? I say with the bright colored leaves of fall!
Awhile ago, as I always seem to be, I was browsing through fall baking ideas. I fell in LOVE with the chocolate trees I found here. All you need is chocolate and Autumn Leaves Quins...which, as it turns out, are not so easy to find. Eventually, I ordered them from Amazon.com. They took a bit of time to arrive, but when they did I was hardly able to contain myself. I baked up some cupcakes immediately, melted the chocolate, placed waxed paper on the counter (any flat surface will do), and started on the trees.
Once you have melted the chocolate, pour it into a plastic pastry bag or Ziploc baggie. Cut the end (or corner of the bag if using a Ziploc) off a little at a time. You can always make a bigger whole, but cannot make it smaller! I learned this the hard way when I cut too much off the end and had a flood of chocolate flowing everywhere. Next time, I will use a funnel to pour the chocolate into a squeeze bottle for more control over the flow. I'm still orienting myself with pastry bags in general!
Make the rough shape of a tree and a few branches on the waxed paper:
Next, take a toothpick to make a thicker trunk and whimsical branches. Be sure to use enough chocolate to make a sturdy tree trunk because you want the tree to be strong enough to stand on it's own once placed in the cupcake. Also, do not worry about smoothing the chocolate perfectly. The swirls and texture will make the hardened chocolate look more tree-like.
While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle some of the Autumn Leaves quins on the branches. Work on one tree at a time. The leaves will stay on the branches nicely once the chocolate hardens.
While the trees are setting, approximately 10-15 minutes, begin frosting the cupcakes. I mixed up some buttercream icing, but you can use canned frosting if you prefer. Dye the icing green using gel or liquid dye. You can spread the icing on the cupcake as your normally would, but I bought an icing tip shaped to create the effect of grass (as well as many other things).
Once the cupcakes are frosted, carefully peel a chocolate tree off of the wax paper. Start with the trunk and work your way up. Go slowly, especially with the branches, and there should be no breakage. Look at how lovely the leaves look!
After you've lifted the tree, push it into the center of an iced cupcake. Repeat this process until you have created an entire forest. The result is magical! Wouldn't these be cute at place settings on a Holiday table?
HAPPY FALL EVERYONE!!!