My favorite banquet pastry garnish Pro Cooking and Baking Tips and Tricks: My favorite banquet pastry garnish
By W.DeBord on Monday, April 17, 2000 - 09:55 am: Edit

This is my signature garnish in Chicagoland, no one else seems to make it here. I've moved on so don't mind sharing, although I admit I certainly didn't create it, I just use it alot.

Simple little marzipan bee's have been a big hit for me. When used on sweet tables they don't have the same impact as pass plate. Other garnishes such as chocolate items or spun sugar are used alot at other places so they have little impact anymore. Where as the bees can completely steal the show. Really helpful to use on hard to garnish desserts. You can make 100 an hour from start to finish.

Pinch off small ball of yellow marzipan. Roll into ball, with heel of hand push one end down to a point. With black food coloring and paintbrush, paint three stripes on tail, two dots for eyes and insert almond slices for wings. It's fun to balance them (landing on) on the side of a goblet or on top of anything.

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Monday, April 17, 2000 - 06:52 pm: Edit

Ladybugs are also really cute, especially on a wedding cake with leaves. Put them on in a few pieces and people's eyes light up when they 'find' it.

By W.DeBord on Monday, April 17, 2000 - 06:59 pm: Edit

Yes, I'm sort of into that style... I do ALOT with that. Mothers day this year I'm doing a picnic cake with ants (royal icing) crawling up it in a parade. I like to make the unexpected when possible, the laughs are great.

By Gerard (Gerard) on Monday, April 17, 2000 - 07:56 pm: Edit

What we need now is a place to post photos.

By momoreg on Monday, April 17, 2000 - 10:47 pm: Edit


By Dlachez (Dlachez) on Tuesday, April 18, 2000 - 12:12 am: Edit

1,its my ugly mug

By Dlachez (Dlachez) on Tuesday, April 18, 2000 - 12:16 am: Edit

Well obviously that didn't work. I wouldn't want to squander George's server memory with that any way.

By W.DeBord on Tuesday, April 18, 2000 - 08:28 am: Edit

Anyone else have a favorite garnish?

By d. on Monday, April 24, 2000 - 09:26 pm: Edit

French rolled wafers in tuxedos. Gets them "oh how cute" every time.

By W.DeBord on Tuesday, April 25, 2000 - 09:11 pm: Edit

d. do you make them or buy them? Do you have any tricks for producing them quickly?

By d. on Wednesday, April 26, 2000 - 01:14 pm: Edit

For large parties we buy the cookie(or depending if they want something a little different I make a long shortbread wedge/rectangle) and then dip them in both chocolates. The dipping part is easy once you've made a couple. No need to temper the chocolate since we store in walk-in.

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Thursday, April 27, 2000 - 12:28 am: Edit

I like to use small chocolate diamonds on chocolate pavees like marjolaine. I spread out a thin layer of coating chocolate, allow it to set a little, pipe random squiggles with a cornet and then cut them into small pieces with a multi-wheeled pastry cutter.

By Kris_b (Kris_b) on Tuesday, May 02, 2000 - 12:38 am: Edit

Never thought of using a multi-wheeled cutter...that's a great idea. The chocolate diamonds are nice on transfer sheets too. You can get a lot of diamonds from one transfer sheet so the cost is not prohibitive. I use dark chocolate on the gold colored transfer sheets and white chocolate on the pink (nice garnish for Mother's day).

By tom on Thursday, July 05, 2001 - 04:18 pm: Edit


At the top of this thread you talk about making marzipam bees for a garnish. I once made the bees following your instructions to put on a behive cake for our weekly buffet. The black food coloring I painted on never dried and would come off on your hand when you touched the bees. Am I using the wrong kind of coloring? It was a black liquid I found at a hobby store. I'd like to do the bees again, but was curious if yours did the same. I also made a separate ball for the head and attached tiny pieces of angel hair pasta for antennae. (As the morning progessed, I noticed a bee was missing. A dad told me his son ate it. Bet he had a real black tongue).

By panini on Thursday, July 05, 2001 - 07:52 pm: Edit

You might want to think about making all your garnishes edible. The marzipan bees look pretty good with dark choco to. We also toast the almonds. They are actually great to eat.

By debord on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 08:17 am: Edit

I do use the black food paste......I don't use it that heavily just a couple of quick lines. My bee's are small, too small to make seperate heads.

Several ways to go.

I love Panini's suggestion of the cocoa powder (that's not quick enough for how I plow through these, I have to make 100 this morning). Wait, maybe I'm reading him wrong, are you saying chocolate? I've done that but it takes ALOT ALOT more time (although it holds great and tastes the best). When I toast our almonds they break too easily and it takes me too long putting the wings into the bodies. Martha makes hers' this way (with chocolate), you could try looking it up.

WATER down your paste so dries, because the dense paste tends not to dry easily.

Leave your bees uncovered to dry for a while... Either all the way or partically.

They can rub off on your hands if the paste is damp, definately! Or if you place them uncovered on your cakes in the cooler the cooler will reconstitute them, and the black can even bleed if it's on thick. Drying your bees will prevent this. If you not drying them don't place them on light colored cakes until your presenting them. Mine aren't really for out-right consumtion (rich people don't eat the garnish), for that I'd go with chocolate stripes.

P.S. I don't have a photo of a bee alone that I can think of. If I get sometime off I'll look thru my photos, if I have a good picture of what I'm doing I'll send it to George.

By Panini (Panini) on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 01:24 pm: Edit

We use thinned coating, line them all up and use a paper cone and and move fast like straw. They are not perfect but you can crank them out, We use caned blue diamond blanched sliced almonds, they are pretty strong. If we don't have them we use the sliced with skins. They are even better when dried like marzipan fruit. If I hav4e something special I paint cocoa, dry, and hit with some Moganglanz sp? edible shellac.
DeBord, do you roll out long snakes and cut? Have you ever used rolled fondant? great color!

By debord on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 11:41 pm: Edit

No logs first, I pinch off pieces of marzipan in the quantity I want, then roll each in my hand dropping them down to my tray or plastic container, stick wings in, then paint. I find this way to be the quickest for me...if I roll on a surface I then have to pick it back up and place it on something. The almonds we have are sooooo thin it takes me the most time finding whole slices and sizing them so the wings are roughly equal in size per bee.

I must make much smaller bees than you Panini. With piping chocolate it's hard to miss hitting the wings with the third stripe up the body. Also I found the chocolate didn't "mold" around the shape so the stripe of chocolate was more of a dash. It's just slower with chocolate, I find I have to hold each bee and angle them around to get a nice look. Have you seen the ones Martha does? She had them in her catalogs last year or the year before (when she first began) with her stacked cake platters with cookies and tarts on them. She also uses chocolate but as I recall they are more "rustic" then mine.

I've made them out of several media. With white chocolate plastic, rolling fondant, gum paste can place them on wires (spiraled) which is really fun. I did centerpiece bee hive cakes (for each table) for one of our ladies parties last year.

Anna Von Marboral (I'm spelling her last name wrong) has a couple of neat books with wired items coming out of the cakes. She calls them "bouncy cakes"'s kind of what got me interested in stuff on sticks and wires. My last grooms cake had exploding stars coming out of it.

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