Grillin’ Goodies

By Paula Gottlieb Herman

Happy Labor Day!! It’s so hard to believe that the summer is almost over, but you have one more chance to fire up the grill, invite family and friends over, and enjoy the last tastes of the season.

Or, if you’re like me, you never want the fun to end. So, this summer, I’ve been hard at work creating whimsical treats that you can do, too. They’re perfect for this holiday weekend, any summer barbecue, April Fool's Day, Father's Day, Junk Food Day (July 21), or whenever you want to celebrate the burger throughout the year!

Learn exactly how to make Chef Paula’s Cookie Sliders, Itsy Bitsy Burger Tables, and Grillin’ Cupcake Toppers by sharing with the buttons below. There are also more cute photos!

[sociallocker id="1162"] ChefPaula'sCookieSlidersFirst, I made my Chef Paula’s Cookie Sliders for The Old Homestead Steak House in NYC. While they look like the delicious meat sliders they sell, they are actually made from Nilla Wafers (buns), Peppermint Patties (burgers), yellow Tootsie Rolls (cheese) “melting” down the sides, and green & red gum drops (lettuce & tomato). I especially loved creating the French fries in a paper pouch (Nilla Wafers microwaved 3 seconds at a time for a total of 9 seconds since they can burn easily). The goal is to get them just soft enough so you can cut them with scissors. The pouches were made from scrapbooking paper.

To add to the slider’s authenticity, I added sesame seeds to the top of each bun. You can paint on a little corn syrup, honey, warmed apricot jam, or water, and sprinkle on the seeds. I like using corn syrup since it dries the quickest. The lettuce and tomato were created by cutting the gum drops in half and rolling them out with a fondant roller. Once flattened, you then use your fingertips to create the desired shape. You can sprinkle a little sugar on your mat to make it easier to roll out. I just used the roller and the mat. A simpler way to achieve the lettuce is to put some shredded coconut into a Ziploc bag, add a little green food coloring, and shake. Then, you will have shredded lettuce. Instead of a tomato slice, you can use some red decorator icing sold in tubes for the ketchup.

DSCF3724cNext, I created my Itsy Bitsy Burger Tables featuring miniature burgers that are made with Golden Mini Oreo Bite Size Cookies (buns), Mini Oreo Bite Size Cookies (burgers), yellow Tootsie Rolls (cheese), green Tootsie Rolls (lettuce leaves), and the red gum drop tomato slices. I really enjoyed making the lettuce a third way. I rolled out a small piece of green Tootsie Roll, marked the veins of the lettuce lightly with a butter knife, and then curled the edges up or down to create the leaf. And of course, sesame seeds topped those buns!

The table was actually a whole Nabisco Graham Cracker supported by Vanilla Sugar Wafer legs. I used melted chocolate to glue the legs in place. After a while, these tables will begin to buckle in the middle, so I would recommend attaching the legs right before serving. I used Gefen Vanilla Wafers for the legs. They are longer and sturdier than some of the other brands. So, one cookie cut in half provided me with two legs. I used another half wafer for the middle leg to give the table a little more structural integrity. Along with the adorable sliders, I added some of my fries (Nilla Wafers) and bottles of soda (Haribo Happy Cola Gummi Candy). For an extra little flair, you can place a “dinner plate” under each slider with a Necco wafer candy. Yum!

DSCF3722aLastly, I created Grillin’ Cupcake Toppers made from melted chocolate piped onto parchment in the shape of grill tops. Then, I added cheeseburgers without the buns, using the same Mini Oreo Bite Size cookies for the burgers and yellow Tootsie Rolls for the cheese. To make the grills the right size, I traced the top of my largest sprinkles container on card stock 6 times, and laid the parchment paper over it. That way, I could pipe/trace the melted chocolate onto the parchment. I transferred the parchment onto a cookie sheet and popped it into the freezer for a few minutes so the chocolate grills would harden. Once firmed up, I carefully lifted off the grill tops with a spatula, and placed each onto a frosted cupcake.

And, what’s a barbecue without kebabs? I made kebabs with Gummi Bears cut into thirds and skewered onto a toothpick. Thread the ingredients onto the toothpick varying the colors. With enough cupcake toppers on your display, you can get really inventive with the food you’re grillin’. Burgers, kebabs, steaks, chicken, fish, and veggies can all be made by shaping candy, cookies, fondant, candy clay, modeling chocolate (melted chocolate morsels and light corn syrup), or any ingredients you come up with. Let those creative juices flow![/sociallocker]

All of these Grillin’ Goodies were so much fun to make! So, whether you do them by yourself or with the kids, they will be loved by your guests, and receive high marks for originality, cuteness, and taste!

If you have any questions about these projects, please email me. I would be happy to share more information on techniques, helpful tips, and ingredient substitutions. Also, if you do make any of these treats, please share your experiences with me, and send along some photos of your finished pieces.

Happy Grillin’!

Chef Paula