Not All Glazes are Created Equal
I've worked for a number of bakeries, and I've owned my own, and throughout my career I've used 5 different methods of coating those lovely cake petits fours! Would you like to know more? Should I go into the good, the bad, and the downright ugly?
1. Rolled Fondant Covered Petits Fours
Let me just say right now, this is NOT my petit four. No, I was not this fortunate. Goodness! I did this once on square petits fours that kept shifting and squirming. It was like trying to dress 200 fussy toddlers all at once, and when I was done, they looked as frazzled as I did! So, no pictures saved from that family picture day! LOL! I kept trying to explain at consultation that the client MUST mean Poured Fondant (the traditional name for petit four glaze). She was adamant...she meant my rolled fondant. (Natalie whispers *never again*) So kudos to you guys who have the patience to cover those tiny cakes! Not a skill I own :)
2. Sugar Glaze
One of the most common petit four glazes is a simple powdered sugar and water version with a smidge of corn syrup or invert sugar. (Why corn syrup or invert sugar?) You know how day-old donuts have a "crunch" to their sugary coatings? That's often caused by re-crystallization of the sugars! (Think micro rock candies forming a little line dance in the icing. Sounds fun at first, but when enough crystals line up, the dance floor gets uncomfortable! They start bonding and form a grainy texture that may end up a literal wall of crunch!) A small amount of corn syrup or invert sugar (glucose and fructose sugars) introduces a DIFFERENT sugary crystalline chain that's a bit different in structure from the standard cane sugar (sucrose). It elbows into the line, with their own dance moves, preventing the other sugars from bonding quite so readily. This allows the icing to firm up, but without the crunch.
3. Ganache Glaze
The ganache glaze! Mmmm Mmmm MMMMM! Ok, this is the one I learned on at my first ever bakery position. And they were sooo delicious. Just like they sound, the glaze is a simple chocolate ganache recipe of chocolate and heavy cream. The chocolate ratio is a little higher than a standard ganache, so it has a chance to firm up. The only downside is that these little beauties must stay refrigerated. BUT if you're making mousse and delicious fillings that have to be refrigerated anyway...GO WITH THE GANACHE!
4. Mirror Glaze
This glaze is definitely the coolest looking one! A lot of people are intimidated by the thought of making a mirror glaze, but I promise you they’re not as complicated as they seem!
The key ingredient to getting that stunning, glossy shine is gelatin. That, along with water, milk (sweetened condensed milk or whole milk), and sugar are the basis of all mirror glazes. Add some chocolate or food coloring and you’ve got a glaze for your petit fours that will knock everyone’s socks off! You also want to be sure everything is at the right temperature. Chill your cake in the freezer and make sure your glaze is around 90 degrees F before you pour. If it’s too warm, the layer of glaze will be too thin, and if it’s too cool getting full coverage of your cakes will be difficult.
5. The Hybrid Glaze
This one is my favorite! A mixture of sugar glacé and chocolate, (ganache minus the cream)! I love that the chocolate lends a softness to the icing, but the icing firms up quickly and is dry to the touch! I don’t have to refrigerate them. And I like that the icing is more opaque, providing a nice solid coat that holds color nicely! Tastes amazing too! Would you like the recipe?