Christmas Petit Fours

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When I tasted these delicious petit fours at my sister’s baby shower, I knew I had to make them for my family’s Christmas celebration.  Although mine did not look as perfect as the ones I had eaten at the shower, they were every bit as yummy.  These decadent treats are well worth the extra time and effort they take to make.  I owe a debt of gratitude to Kaaren Rue for giving me this fantastic recipe which will now be an annual Christmas tradition for our family!

1)  Bake this cream cheese pound cake in a jelly roll pan, so that the cake is about 1” thick.  Instructions for making the petit fours are below the cake recipe.

Cream cheese poundcake:

2 sticks margarine (softened to room temperature)

1 stick butter (softened to room temperature)

One 8 oz package cream cheese (softened to room temperature)

3 cups sugar

6 eggs (room temperature)

3 cups sifted cake flour (if cake flour is unavailable, sift all purpose flour twice)

2 tsps vanilla

1)   Cream the margarine, butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until very fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add sugar and beat for 5 additional minutes. Add eggs two at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sifted flour and vanilla and mix well.

Bake in a 325F oven for 1+ hour in a greased and floured pan.  Start testing for doneness after 1 hour.

2)   Remove cake from pan and allow to cool.  Cool the pound cake thoroughly, wrap well in saran wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze the cooled cake solid until you are ready to cut it into squares and glaze it.  This can be done weeks in advance if desired.  The frozen cake is much easier to cut and has less crumbs, so this is an important step even if you are not making it far in advance.

3)      Remove frozen sheet cake from freezer.  With a very sharp serrated knife, trim all edges off frozen cake.  Score cake in 1 x 1” squares.  You can use a ruler so the lines are straight.  Cut the cake into squares and set on cooling racks with cookie sheets placed underneath.  If your cake is more than approximately 1” thick, you may need to trim off the bottom of the squares so that the glaze will cover them evenly.

4)      Make Petit Four Glaze:

Petit Four Glaze

9 cups sifted powdered sugar (this will take 2 pounds)

½ cup light corn syrup

½ cup water

2 tsps almond extract

4 oz. melted vanilla almond bark

Melt all ingredients together in a double boiler or large melt-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Melt and stir until the mixture becomes very smooth.  You can add a tiny bit of water, a little at a time, if the mixture is too thick.  Be careful not to overheat.  The glaze should pour easily from a metal ladle.

5)      When the glaze is the consistency you like, begin pouring it gently and slowly over each square of cake.  The cookie sheet underneath the cooling rack will catch all the drips.

6)      It will take multiple layers of glaze to get good coverage.  You may need to double or triple the above glaze recipe if you don’t want to see any cake through the glaze. Be sure to reserve a small amount of glaze for decorating your petit fours.

7)      Let the glaze dry. Tint some of the glaze and put it into a Ziploc bag.  Cut a very tiny hole in the tip of the bag and decorate the cakes with lines, swirls, hearts, etc.

8)      My friend discovered that you can scrape the icing from the cookie sheet and reheat it one time.  After more than one reheating, however, the icing starts to get gloppy.  Also, if you are reheating the icing, make sure there are no cake crumbs in it.

9)      I kept half the sheet cake frozen for later use, and refrigerated half the glaze for about 3 weeks.  This enabled me to serve the petit fours at two different occasions, since this recipe makes a large quantity of this decadent dessert.  I did not notice any major differences in the look or taste of the cakes or glaze the second time around.

About Molly Evert

Writer Molly Evert is a wife and homeschooling mom to 6 kids, who range in age from 2 to 18. She runs an educational website, My Audio School (http://www.myaudioschool.com), providing access to the best in children's audio literature. She also blogs at CounterCultural Mom (http://www.counterculturalmom.com) and CounterCultural School (http://www.counterculturalschool.com).

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