28.10.11

Autumn Leaves




On a visit to The Cleveland Museum of Art I was astonished by the painting View of Schroon Mountain, Essex County, New York, After a Storm - Thomas Cole (American, 1801-1848). The intense colors of fall represented in a dramatic way are beautiful and impressive. Cole declared about the autumn theme on his painting: "one season where the American forest surpasses all the world in gorgeousness”. In my tropical country there is no colored autumn like in the north hemisphere. I think maybe that is why I am passionate about everything related to this season. I really like to feel the spice flavors, the cinnamon smell, and to observe the change of the colors.











This is my second autumn in US and I feel pretty lucky to live here. As I already mentioned on the last post, fall it’s really special for me. Visit the Cleveland Metroparks to see the beauty of the foliage and pick up apples and pumpkins at Patterson Fruit Farm are already essentials and delightful habits acquired for me and my husband.






Some days ago I resolved to take a stroll on the condominium were I live to photograph some trees. I was fascinated with so many different leaves shape and colors. After an hour I came back to my apartment with my pockets full of leaves, happy with my photos and an idea: to make painted leaves fondant. So I bought some cutters, made the marshmallow fondant again and with some food coloring I tried to recreate the essence of this time of the year. Then I used these edible cute leaves to decorate some delicious chocolate cupcakes with cinnamon frosting. I also use them to cover some cookies.














Chocolate Cupcakes 
(adapted from My Baking Addiction)

 Yield: 12 cupcakes

1 cup cake flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
2/3 cup vegetable oil 
3/4 granulated sugar 
1 egg 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 cupcake wells with paper liners or spray pan with spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Sift together cake flour, cocoa powder and salt.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine oil and sugar until well-blended. Add egg and mix until combined.
4. Turn your mixer down to the lowest speed add vanilla then slowly add in the food coloring. Note:If you are using liquid food coloring, it will take about 2 tablespoons of coloring to get a dark red shade. I used about 1 tablespoon of gel dye to achieve the shade in the photographs. Add the dye slowly and color according to your preference.
5. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches; scrape down the side of the bowl. Continue mixing until just combined, taking care not to over mix.
6. Add the baking soda and beat for about 10 seconds.
7. Using a medium scoop (about 3 tablespoons), divide batter among between the 12 wells, filling each well about 2/3 full of batter. Bake for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake.


Cinnamon Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Once the cupcakes have cooled, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, sugar, cinnamon and milk until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.


Sugar Cookies
(from Sweetapolita)

Yield: Approximately 30 medium/small mixed shape cookies
*Note: recipe reflects a recent decrease in baking powder, which creates a more compact cookie that won’t lose shape when baked.

6 cups (750 grams/1 lb +  10 ounces) sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (6 grams) salt
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
2 cups unsalted butter, (1 lb, 454 grams, 16 ounces) softened for about 2 hours at room temperature
2 cups (400 grams/14 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs (straight from refrigerator)
2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) pure lemon extract

1. In large bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
2. Use an electric mixer to cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs.
3. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Stir in vanilla and lemon extract.
Steps to the perfect rolled dough (again, modest, I know):
4. Remove 1/2 of dough from bowl, make a ball, and place on a large piece of plastic wrap on counter.
5. Wrap the sides of wrap over the ball, then press down with the palm of your hand and make a disc about 2″ thick. Finish wrapping the disc with the plastic wrap. Repeat with 2nd half of dough.
6. Chill both discs of dough for about 45 minutes.
7. Remove one disc and remove plastic wrap. Place on top of a large piece of parchment paper (I use a silicone rolling mat underneath to ensure it doesn’t slip while rolling, but you can even dampen counter so the parchment sticks a bit.), then place 2 wooden dowels on either side of your dough, then another sheet of parchment paper.
8. Roll dough (this will require a bit of elbow grease for the first few minutes until it softens up a bit) so it’s flush with dowels–they will ensure that your dough is even thickness.
9. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Slide your parchment paper and dough onto a board, then place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
10. Remove from fridge, and cut your shapes using the cutters of your choice, placing them on a baker’s half sheet lined with a Silpat Mat, with 2″ clearance around each one and the edge of sheet.
11. Place sheet with cookies into freezer for 15 minutes before baking. Then bake 10-12 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
12. Cool sheets on wire racks for 10 minutes, then gently remove cookies and place on wire racks to finish cooling.
May be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. They also freeze well.

Marshmallow Fondant 

10 oz mini marshmallows
1/4 cup water
2 lbs of powdered sugar
2/3 cup shortening

Drizzle the water over the marshmallows and microwave 1 minute and 25 seconds. Transfer to a mixing bowl, and add 1 bag (2 lbs) of powdered sugar and 2 tbs shortening. With the paddle attachment, mix about 2 minutes. Finish on the table, use more powdered sugar if necessary. Wrap in plastic wrap or bag, and store at least 2 hours or overnight before using. Always knead fondant before using.




17 comments:

  1. This post! Oh this post! Breathtaking. Thanks for adding a little beauty to my day...

    ReplyDelete
  2. How I understand that you feel lucky. The pictures are beautiful. I love the time of year when the leaves are turning......

    I was so lucky to be in New Hampshire one time many years ago, in the Autumm. It was so amazing :-)

    All the best,
    Birthe from Denmark

    ReplyDelete
  3. Living in warm California, I haven't seen these gorgeous autumn color for years. I used to love fall because of the foliage and everything. But now all the trees are green, brown, or bald. So sad. Your creations are absolutely beautiful. Always. I am happy I got to enjoy nice fall through your post Luciana!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The chocolate cupcakes look great, and your Fall photos are awesome! I really wish I could visit more often during the Fall to catch the amazing colors. Beautiful post!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow - the photos are awesome and I was STUNNED to scroll down and see those amazing cupcakes! BONUS!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Love these! Hope you don't mind if I feature these in my weekly favorites in a few weeks. Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  7. The photos of the autumn leaves are absolutely stunning. I've made one of them my wallpaper for today.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love the edible leaves on top! Those are just adorable and so colourful they could almost be real!

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a beautiful post! The photos are amazing and the cookies and cupcakes look so delicious. I've never made fondant with marshmallows but I'm definitely going to try this. Thank you very much for sharing these great recipes.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Gorgeous fall photos! And these cupcakes look adorable with the leaves on top. Those sugar cookies look awesome too!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Parabéns pela fotos, estão lindíssimas! Uma pena não termos um Outono tão bonito assim aqui no Brasil... E os cupcakes? Simplesmente de dar água da boca! Beijos Luisa

    ReplyDelete
  12. Gorgeous photos! Your fall inspired cupcakes looks more like art then dessert! :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your photography and the colors you got on those fondant leaves are astonishing! Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh wow! so cute and pretty! You've done an amazing job!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Luciana, Suas fotos estao lindissimas. Realmente, a mudanca de estacao em Ohio eh um espetaculo. Voce capturou o momento tao bem na sua lente. Ah! Que cupcakes lindos. O toque das folhas estao tao elegantes. Thanks for sharing this beautiful post.

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a lovely fall post. Your photos are really beautiful and I love the cupcakes you've shared with us. This is my first visit to your blog, so I took some extra time to browse through your earlier posts. I'm so glad I did that. You've created a great spot for your readers to visit and I really enjoyed the time I spent here, I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi!! GORGEOUS again!! I'm a food writer for She Knows, an online website, and wanted to let you know that your photo is featured with an article I did on leaf sugar cookies! I've tried to get a hold of you otherwise but can't find an email. Amazing photography!

    http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/848465/brightly-colored-leaf-sugar-cookies

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...