Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sculptable Frosting! A Fun & Sweet Treat How-To



How about a fun treat tutorial that is as tasty as it is easy.  That's right - no matter what your sweets crafting skill level, you can make this delicious and fun creation: Sculptable Frosting! 

With this frosting you can cut and sculpt all sorts of fun shapes and designs, like those made with modeling chocolate or fondant, but with all the flavor and a softer texture of a buttercream frosting.  If given a few hours to firm up, sculpted shapes will hold up well and can be stored a few days at room temperature in an airtight container.  Yummy right?  Here's how to make some:


You'll Need:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon real vanilla extract
3-4 cups confectioner's sugar
Food coloring gels (I use Americolor)

Sculpting Tools - small rolling pin, small paintbrush, nesting circle and flower shape fondant/small cookie cutters, butter knife, waxed paper, standing mixer with paddle attachment

Beat butter & cream in mixer until smooth.  Adding a cup at a time, blend in the confectioner's sugar to create a dough consistency.  Add vanilla and beat to combine. 

 Scoop out frosting to form a mound of "dough" (roughly 1lb):

Separate frosting into portions for various colors desired and, using a single drop of color at a time, knead food coloring gel into frosting until color desired is achieved.  If frosting seems sticky, add a small amount of confectioner's sugar until smooth.

Dust a sheet of waxed paper with confectioner's sugar and get ready to start sculpting!  

To make my snail & mushroom vignette (great as a cupcake topper), use rolling pin to roll out some green frosting about 1/4 inch thick and use a large circle fondant cutter to make the base:

Next grab a piece of white frosting and roll with hands to make a rounded mushroom stem that is about 3/4 inch wide and 1 1/4 inches tall.  Stand up and push down slightly so base is a bit wider than the top:

Roll out the red frosting to 1/4 inch thick with rolling pin and cut a medium sized circle. Carefully place on top of stem and allow gravity to help mold the cap shape.

To make the snail roll a piece of pink frosting with hands to be about 1/2 inch wide and 1 1/4 inches long and flatten:

Pull up 1/3 of the strip and press down on the short side with the end of the paintbrush to create the antennae, smoothing & pinching with fingers to shape as desired.

Roll out some blue with hands until it is 1/4 inch thick and several inches long to make the shell piece.

Coil shell and trim outer end flat with knife:

Place shell on the snail's back. Add snail & mushroom to base.  Remove any excess confectioner's sugar with paintbrush:

Or how about a mini birthday cake made entirely of frosting?  Simply change the color of the base circle to make a "plate". Take a bit of white frosting and flatten about 3/4 inch thick, and use a small circle fondant cutter to create the cake shape:

Roll out a bit of pink frosting 1/4 inch thick and cut with a flower cutter and then flatten slightly with the rolling pin to make the shape more uneven and drape over the top of the cake piece to "frost" it.

Add a small piece of white to make a candle and a tiny tapered piece of red for the flame and the cake is complete.  Perfect for those kids who only want to eat the frosting off the cake - now they'll eat the whole thing!
 

 And if you really want to get whimsical, how about a little garden gnome?

Roll out pink, white and red frosting to 1/4 inch thick.  Cut a medium circle and taper slightly with hands on lower half to make a face shape:

Use knife to make a triangle with the red that is slightly wider at the bottom than the pink circle.  Use the cutter to round out the bottom to make the hat shape:

 Place hat over top of circle and curve to fit.  Cut flower from white to create a beard and place over lower half of face:

Use end of paintbrush to make eye holes and then fill with small dots or blue.  Create a mouth with paintbrush in same way and fill with a small strip of red for a nice smile.

Add a pink circle nose and a strip of pink with a pointed end to either side to create ears and place over a large circle of green under the beard for the gnome's body and this little guy will be nice and sweet:

Use Sculptable Frosting creations to decorate cakes, cupcakes, brownies or use as stand alone sweets.  It's also great for covering cupcakes.  Just not anything large scale like an entire cake, since it is a frosting and not as clay-like as fondant.  Try my Modeling Chocolate for posts HERE for bigger or longer lasting projects like cake covering.  The possibilities are endless and incredibly tasty.  Hope you enjoy them!

Sharing this with my FAVE LINK PARTIES too-
Click HERE to check them out!

79 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, gracious! How fun is this? I'm going to have to try it! I usually use molding chocolate; it tastes better than fondant but is kind of a pain to make. I am excited to give this a try! Thank you for sharing. :)

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  2. No way! You could do so much with this (and still get to eat it)! Thanks for the recipe!!

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  3. So fun! I bet it tastes better than fondant... but does it hold up or is still pretty temperature sensitive like a normal frosting?

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    1. It holds up pretty well since it hardens slightly, but like any fondant or frosting a lot of humidity could effect it. I've had good results every time I've made it. It's definitely best for shapes or decorations - I wouldn't try to drape a large, layered cake with it (but it's ideal for covering cupcake tops).

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  4. Thank you so much for this tutorial!
    I'm gonna practice, it's fun and beautiful

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  5. Hey there!! I just added myself to your followers for support, and wanted to invite you to check out an awesome Modcloth giveaway I'm having!

    Hope to see you there! Thanks so much!
    Emily

    http://emilymmeyers.blogspot.com/2012/05/giveaway-time-again.html

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  6. Brilliant! I can't wait to try this! Thanks for sharing!

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  7. LOVE IT!!!! I just love the step by step!! I can follow it :) Thanks!!

    Thanks for sharing at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality!! :)

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  8. Wow! This looks amazing. I am visiting you via the linky party at Somewhat Simple. I look forward to seeing you at My Dream Canvas.

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  9. Can you store the leftover frosting for future use? This sounds like the perfect product for all those things you want to make. Thanks for the post.
    plepoma@aol.com

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    1. Frosting can be store in an airtight container, unrefrigerated, for up to a week, but it will be less pliable. I sculpt or cut shapes and then put them in a container if I'm not using them immediately.

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  10. This frosting looks so cute! I love it!
    ..and I **love** cupcakes!

    Following you from Katherines Corner Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop.

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  11. Ha! Love the peep. So fun! I'd love it if you would share it on my Fun Stuff Fridays link up party. I think my readers would love this. It just opened up!!

    -ashley
    http://pencilleddaydream.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/fun-stuff-fridays-link-up-2/

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  12. How fun! The kids would love this. Thanks for sharing at Terrific Tuesdays.
    Rachel
    adventuresofadiymom.blogspot.com

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  13. sweet..and its okay to play with your food when it turns out so cute! giggle. Hugs and thank you for joining in the hop fun. xo

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  14. Great recipe and some great ideas of what to sculpt too!


    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success
    http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

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  15. I love this! I've always wanted to sculpt sugar, but didn't want to use fondant so this is a great substitute! Thanks for linking up to What I Learned Wednesday. I'm featuring you tomorrow!

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  16. I'll have to try this! we make a homemade fondant that is similar but always love to try new things! I hope you'll link up to our Kids in the Kitchen!! we link every Tues with family friendly recipes (no kids necessary) - open all week

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  17. This is so fun! We hope to see you back next week to our "Strut Your Stuff Saturday." Thanks for coming!! -The Sisters

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  18. Thanks so much for sharing this! I'm doing a few birthday parties over the next few weeks that I was planning on making gum paste decorations for; hopefully I can use this instead. Love the cute little snail & mushroom.

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  19. adorable, and such a fun idea! thanks so much for sharing on craft schooling Sunday!

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  20. Thanks for linking with Kids in the Kitchen! I adore this!!!

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  21. How fun!! I will definitely give this recipe a try!

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  22. Would I be able to make and cut shapes and then store in a sealed container until the next day or two? Have a very busy week, and infant, and birthday party on Friday...trying to do as much prep work as early as I can. Thanks! Can't wait to try!

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    1. Yes that would work great - it's what I did the first time I made it. Easy and tasty, so it's just what a busy mom needs!

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  23. adorable. such whimsy!

    thank you for linking it up at our link party: http://www.finecraftguild.com/party a brand new party will open today!

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  24. OMG!! I had nooooo idea you could do this!! I've seen modelling fondant made from powdered milk but never this easy!! Thank you Cheryl, you're a pioneer! :)

    Thanks you so much for linking to Bird's Party Link Party!!
    Hope to see you next month too! XOXO

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  25. made this tonight and my kids had so much fun sculpting. they also loved the taste. thank you SO much for this!

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    1. Shirley - I'm thrilled to hear it. Definitely a good boredom buster now that summer is almost here:)

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  26. OMG! This is the most AWESOME thing I've ever seen! I'm definitely doing this for now on. :)

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  27. I don't have a standing mixer with a paddle attachment will it work using something different?

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    Replies
    1. Beating it by hand with a rubber spatula should work too (just a little more work for your arm than the mixer!).

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  28. When you use this as cupcake topper, does the moisture seep out? As the fondant (marshmallow fondant)
    When its been sitting for awhile?

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    1. I would say no (most of the time my creations get eaten by impatient family members before I can even put them on anything!). Since it's made from the same ingredients as "regular" frosting it should hold up better than fondant or other toppers that have a different make-up or are a bit more clay-like in texture. For best results I'd recommend doing a practice run or adding the toppers just beforehand. Hope this helps!

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  29. Would it work for putting it on top of sugar cookies?

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    1. Yes, I'd say the best results would be to spread regular frosting or icing as the base and do any shapes or details with the sculptable frosting.

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  30. Do you think I could use regular Whipping Cream instead of Heavy Whipping Cream? I have some that needs to get used!

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    1. Probably - the consistency might be a little less dense. If you need to use it up, this would be a good time to try that. If it was for a party, I'd say to wait on experimenting to be sure to get the best results.

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  31. To put this on a cupcake, would you suggest putting this directly on the top or would you put a thin layer of normal frosting down first to make it stick better?

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  32. I went through an entire 2 lb. bag of powdered sugar before I got anything resembling a dough. Any ideas? I make marshmallow fondant quite frequently, so I'm familiar with what the texture and consistency should be. I used the exact ingredients you called for in the recipe. Eventually I got the dough consistency I needed but it took a lot of powdered sugar.

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    1. Hmm, if you mixed everything in the order specified you should get a very dense frosting that comes together as dough when scooped out of the mixer. It's worked for me every time. It will not be as rubbery as fondant, but still should be shapeable and more clay-like than typical frosting. I know frosting/candy making can be temperamental when it comes to humidity so that can possibly be a factor.

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  33. Do you think you could use this to make ruffles to go around a cake?
    Lisa

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    1. Possibly - it would depend on how thick or sculpted they were. I've found it works best with condensed designs, but will be making some again soon and will play with it a little and see.

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  34. Would I be able to frost a whole cake with this like you can fondant? I am making a cake for my brother this week and I hate fondant, but I want something that wont crack and will be easy to cover the cake.

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    1. No, as mentioned in previous comments, it's definitely best for shapes or decorations - I wouldn't try to drape a large, layered cake with it (but it is ideal for covering cupcake tops).

      I have used modeling chocolate to cover complete cakes with ideal results. You can see more on using that and the recipe in these posts: http://www.sewcando.com/search/label/Modeling%20Chocolate

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    2. I created a quilt using this and covered a whole cake with it. It did crack some, but I just smoothed them out with some water.

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    3. That sounds so lovely - I'd love to see if you have any pictures - just send to info@sewcando.com :)

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  35. I was thinking of making super hero logos with this & wondered if it would keep its shape if "glued" with regular buttercream frosting vertically to the sides of a 3 tiered layer cake.

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    1. With something like royal icing, possibly, depending how thick and how big the shapes were. I would think they would slide right down with buttercream since it's a very soft frosting. You'd want something that would firm up more to act as glue.

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  36. Can you use milk instead of cream?

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    1. No, it's really best to stick to the ingredients and amounts indicated or the consistency will not work.

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  37. Hi Cheryl. I must say that as I scooped the frosting out of the bowl and felt it in my hands, I got the largest smile on my face that I think that I have ever had while making frosting. It turned out perfect. That said, I hadn't read the comments until after attempting to roll it out to drape over a cake...Which practically left me in tears for a moment. However, after taking a few minutes to collect myself, I decided to come back here to investigate further. And I am glad I did or else I would still be freaking out in the kitchen. Lol. Anyways, I am going to give this another go using simpler designs, shapes, and decorations and I will be back with pics. Thanks for this awesome tutorial.

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    1. I'm glad you did too. It's really best for smaller scale items. It's great for covering a cupcake or sculpting shapes, but because it is more fluffy in texture than fondant it isn't really meant to cover entire cakes. I do recommend using modeling chocolate for that though - I've covered several cakes with much success (and it tastes A LOT better than fondant). Here's a link to all my modeling chocolate posts & tutorials: http://www.sewcando.com/search/label/Modeling%20Chocolate

      I'd love to see the pics, so please link them to the Craftastic Monday weekly party or email them!

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  38. Oh yeah, I was also wondering what you would recommend for giving it a little more moisture after it getting slightly drier than it was originally. I tried a dab of water and quickly realized that anymore would make it a gooey mess. Do you have any better suggestions? Thanks again

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    1. The frosting is meant to be shaped right away and will harden a bit after being exposed to air. That's why I put finished shapes in an airtight container right away or make everything just before I want to serve it. If you have a batch unsculpted you could probably add a little more of the heavy cream (and maybe an extra tablespoon of butter?) to soften it up a bit, but for best results just make as needed.

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  39. HI Cheryl,
    WOW - LOVE this! My question...after you sculpt what you want for your cupcakes and apply them after you frost the cupcakes, do you refrigerate or leave out at room temperature? I'm making cupcakes for a baby shower on a sunday and need to give them to the host on saturday, one day before the event. If they are refrigerated, how do I cover them and also, if left out at room temperature, how do I cover them? Thank you very much for the advice and for all of the awesome ideas!
    Melissa

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    1. Melissa, I would say make your toppers on Friday night/Saturday morning and put them in a sealed container in a single layer (like a tupperware). Keep in a cool place away from sun. On a counter would be fine - you can refrigerate, but room temp is best to maintain the same consistency. Then place them on top right before serving. That should give you the best results. Hope they turn out great!

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  40. I've never seen anything like this! Congrats on coming up with something so ingenious! :) I've been making cakes for a while and just recently got into making sugar cookies decorated with fondant. I've actually been added onto an event planer's vender's list for cookie wedding favors and such. Since then, I've been looking for a fondant that's more consistent than the MMF I've been using. SO happy I found this! Can't wait to try it out!! Thanks for sharing!!!

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  41. Hey Cheryl I was just curious on whether or not I would need a fondant glue or something to keep my pieces together or if the dough is sticky enough on its own?

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    1. If you're putting the pieces together immediately, they'll stick well enough on their own.

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  42. Could I make a batch of this ahead of time and freeze it, to defrost it when I need it? I'm thinking of making it for a fun activity at a party (kids making their own shapes, sort of like edible play-doh) but want to make it at least four days in advance, if not more.

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    1. I wouldn't recommend it. I cannot guarantee the consistency would stay the same. It really only takes minutes to make so it's fine to make at the last minute.

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  43. Can this sculptable frosting be written on? Such as with edible food writers? Thanks for your time.

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    1. For small details, yes (the eye of my peep was food marker). I'd recommend doing very basic drawing and not too far ahead to avoid bleeding. I've noticed food markers bleed on anything that isn't incredibly dry and this frosting doesn't harden all the way through like royal icing so there will be a bit of moisture in it.

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  44. Looks delish! I was wondering if this could be put on a sugar cookie as a topping and the put in a cellophane baggie? Would it be dry enough to not stick to the plastic? I'm thinking of making basketball sugar cookies... I would use this recipe as a base for the the orange and then put the details of the lines and the jersey numbers in black royal icing. Does that sound like it would work?

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  45. Looks delish! I was wondering if this could be put on a sugar cookie as a topping and the put in a cellophane baggie? Would it be dry enough to not stick to the plastic? I'm thinking of making basketball sugar cookies... I would use this recipe as a base for the the orange and then put the details of the lines and the jersey numbers in black royal icing. Does that sound like it would work?

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    Replies
    1. Yes you could absolutely do that. I'd recommend letting them sit out for maybe 15-20 minutes before bagging, just to be on the safe side.

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    2. Amazing! Thanks so much :) can't wait to try it!

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  46. Love this recipe and idea. I know you said you wouldn't recommend for a large layered cake, but what about a small sculptured cake? Like a pregnant belly cake. Do you think this frosting would be ok to roll out thinly and cover a pregnant belly cake?

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    1. I wouldn't advise using it to cover anything larger than a cupcake or cookie, it's better suited for making shapes or smaller details. If you made a small figure to put on top of a cake and were rolling it out for that it would work fine, but not for anything covering more than a few inches. I'd recommend using modeling chocolate for that. You can find my how-to for that here: http://www.sewcando.com/2010/06/craftshare-week-4-turtle-cake-modeling.html and more use ideas with it here: http://www.sewcando.com/search/label/Modeling%20Chocolate

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    2. Thank You!! I'll check out the other tutorials.

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  47. I was wondering if this can be used in candy molds to make shapes that would be placed on a cake?

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    1. If they are on the small side and not super deep I would think you could use silicone molds. I'd recommend doing a test run to be sure (it's very tasty so it won't go to waste!).

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  48. I understand that this frosting is not suitable to cover an entire cake, but what if it were cut into small squares first? I am attempting to make a Minecraft cake (see link) and am wondering if I could use this frosting instead of fondant or modeling chocolate? I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. http://geekartgallery.blogspot.com/2012/09/sweets-minecraft-cake.html

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    1. I think that would work - I'd recommend letting the squares dry out a bit on a sheet of waxed paper after making them so they're more firm to work with and won't lose their shape from being handled when applied. You'd want to use a good crumb layer of buttercream of another sticky/tacky frosting as a base to hold them in place. As always I'd recommend doing a mini-test version to be sure it'll work:)

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  49. Hi this is great! I like to try this, just have one question...Is there a substitute for heavy cream since I don't have access to it everytime? Thanks

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    1. Substituting ingredients will definitely change a frosting or candy's specific texture/behavior so I wouldn't recommend it. You could try experimenting with other things, but they probably won't give the same results. Heavy cream is pretty easy to find at most grocery stores though.

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