This post about dye-free sprinkles was brought to you by Fresh Origins, who supplied a product sample to facilitate my review. I was not compensated for this post, and all opinions are my own and honest.
Easter is almost here, which means that jellybeans, marshmallows and a rainbow of other candies are also making their way to children’s baskets everywhere. What’s a dye-free family to do? I wasn’t sure quite how we were going to approach Easter this year, and then I found Fresh Origins and their beautiful dye-free flower, fruit and herb crystals. As soon as I saw the beautiful spring colors, I knew. This year, we’ll be filling the baskets with garden toys and some very special handmade treats: petits fours!
As a little girl, I was always entranced by petits fours. I would study the Swiss Colony catalogue, marveling at each little piece, hand decorated so perfectly. I guess it only makes sense that I grew up to work in bakeries for nearly 20 years. These days, I only bake for my family, but I truly bake from the heart, so I’m super excited to have found something to help me add some color, crunch and sweet natural flavor to dazzle the kiddos!
If you could have seen the look of sheer delight on my son’s face when I unveiled my trial run of these little beauties… Oof. It just melted my heart.
So, here’s the thing about petits fours. You can use almost any type of firm-textured cake, and any filling that is thick enough not to slide. The possibilities are endless. For this venture, I wanted something that would complement the flavors of the Fresh Origins crystals I had, which were basil, cranberry, rose, hibiscus and mint. (I have fennel and cilantro, too, but I’m saving those for some savory summer salad recipes.) So I went with a classic pound cake and filled it with lemon curd and organic blackberry preserves. Then, I just mixed and matched so each petit four was a different combo.
blackberry mint, lemon basil, lemon cranberry, blackberry rose, lemon hibiscus, you get the idea…and each one is better than the last!
Busy Mom Tip: Bake your cake ahead of time, or if you want to skip a step and make things really simple, head over to your local bakery and pick up some premade pound cake. They’ll still be perfect. Whether you choose to bake or buy, it’s a good idea to partially freeze your cake before cutting. Once nice and cold, cut your cake into 2″ pieces, taking your time to trim them nice and square.
Or, if you’re feeling fancy, get out some small cookie cutters or a tiny knife and cut shapes. Easter eggs would be adorable…
Slice each square in half and fill with a touch of whatever you love.
Then, get those squares nice and cold again. I like to freeze them so you can trim off any filling that squeezes out the sides. Nice, even sides make nice, pretty petits fours.
Then, the magic happens…
Petits Fours Icing
adapted from MarthaStewart.com
- 9 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup Organic Light Corn Syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon carrot juice (for orange icing)
- 1 teaspoon beet juice (for pink icing)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest OR scant 1/8 tsp turmeric (either will give you a hint of yellow)
[Before starting, line up petits fours to be iced on a cooling rack.]
Fill a saucepan with about 2″ water; set over medium heat until simmering. Set a heatproof bowl over (but not touching) simmering water. Add sugar, corn syrup, 1/2 cup water, vanilla and almond extracts; warm and stir together until they are blended and smooth. Ladle icing into small bowls to add coloring. Do one color at a time, allowing remaining icing to stay warm in the bowl.
Once each color is mixed, it should cool for about 5 minutes before pouring. You don’t want it too hot, but you also don’t want it to cool to where it has a crust on top (stirring can help prevent that.) Once ready to pour, spoon icing over each petit four, one at a time, taking care to cover all sides. If adding sprinkles, do so before icing dries completely so they stick well.
Covers approx. 32 petits fours, but number of servings will vary depending on the size of petits fours. (Note: Petits fours shown were allowed to dry, then drizzled with melted white chocolate, then sprinkled with Fresh Origins Herb, Flower and Fruit Crystals.)
I can’t think of a better Easter basket than one filled with seeds, tiny garden tools, bubbles and some yummy little handmade pretties that taste like flowers and herbs.
You can find Flower and Herb Crystals on Amazon, at GourmetSweetBotanicals.com and other specialty shops. Check out FreshOrigins.com for a list of current retailers, and be sure to connect with them on Facebook and Pinterest to see what new flavors are in the works!