How to Make Sugar Paste Decorations for Xmas

Written by sylvia cini
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How to Make Sugar Paste Decorations for Xmas
If making edible ornaments, be sure to wrap tightly during display. (Christmas image by Horticulture from Fotolia.com)

Sugar paste, also called gum paste, is an edible, sugar-based dough that is used for making decorations on cake, cookies and serving trays. Sugar paste is not difficult to make; however, many cake supply retailers and speciality stores will have pre-made paste, which saves time and provides a regular consistency between batches. Jazz up your next holiday party tray with some Xmas-themed decorations. Or set up a station so friends and family can decorate their own baked goods. Kids and teens especially will love the hands-on and creative nature of the activity.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • 4 Cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 Tbsp Gum tragacanth (or Gum Tex)
  • 1 Tbsp Liquid glucose
  • 1 Packet gelatin
  • 3 Tbsp Water, warm
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • Icing sugar
  • Food colouring
  • Fondant block
  • Xmas cookie cutters
  • Rolling pin
  • Spatula
  • Marble
  • 1 Gallon zippered plastic bag
  • Scissors

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Pour water in a large bowl and sprinkle with gelatin.

  2. 2

    Stir until powder is fully dissolved.

  3. 3

    Add liquid glucose and stir slowly.

  4. 4

    Sift 3 cups icing sugar and all the gum tragacanth into the bowl, stirring between additions.

  5. 5

    Place mixture in an electronic mixer and use dough hook to mix well.

  6. 6

    Wrap tightly in cling film, and set overnight at room temperature.

  7. 7

    Knead, and add icing sugar to make dough less sticky and more pliable.

  8. 8

    Wrap small blocks of dough in cling film, and store in a zippered bag for later use.

  1. 1

    Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of gum powder on your work surface.

  2. 2

    Cut fondant into 1/2-pound blocks.

  3. 3

    Roll and knead one block of fondant, incorporating the gum powder to make sugar paste.

  4. 4

    Roll into a long sausage shape.

  5. 5

    Cut into fourths.

  6. 6

    Wrap the sugar paste blocks individually with cling film.

  7. 7

    Store in a zippered plastic bag in a cool, dark place until ready to use.

  1. 1

    Roll sugar paste into a 1/4-inch thick sheet.

  2. 2

    Cut out 3 triangles, 1 small star, 12 balls, 1 rectangle and 3 thin strips using cookie cutters or a non-serrated knife.

  3. 3

    Lay the rectangle and triangles in a row, slightly overlapping the pieces to form the body of the tree.

  4. 4

    Make strings of Christmas lights using the balls and strips of sugar paste. Press the balls onto the body of the tree using the tip of the knife, and drape the strips between the baubles to finish forming the strands.

  5. 5

    Top the tree with the star.

  1. 1

    Roll 10 marble-sized balls.

    How to Make Sugar Paste Decorations for Xmas
    Holly is easy to model because it has sharp lines and irregular construction. (holly image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com)
  2. 2

    Use a knife to cut out 4 flat leaves.

  3. 3

    Lay two leaves to serve as the base. Curl the tips of the leaves as desired.

  4. 4

    Stack the balls to form a cluster of berries. Poke 1 small hole in the side of each berry.

  5. 5

    Drape the last 2 leaves over and around the stack of balls to add support and decoration.

  1. 1

    Roll sugar paste into a thin sausage. Cut a 2-inch length and form a hook.

  2. 2

    Cut a 1-inch-long strip of sugar paste that is 1/2 inch wide. Mark the strip with the knife at even intervals. Wrap around the base of the hook.

  3. 3

    Attach hook and base to a 3-D ball or flat sugar paste disc.

Tips and warnings

  • You can add flavour or colour to your sugar paste using icing accessories. Just add flavour/colour one drop at a time using a toothpick until the desired effect is achieved.
  • Add (edible) glitter for extra colour.

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