Sunday, August 12, 2012

Making Your Own Fruit Bouquet

As you may have noticed, edible arrangements are flooding the internet and airwaves as of late, having you shell out $49.99 just for a small coffee mug with fruited "florals" or chocolates. Now I know many of you just don't have the time nor the inclination to make your own but let me show you not only how easy it is to make, but how fast and how deliciously economical as well.

Don't follow the exact fruit and chocolate I am showing you if you don't want. Make your own shapes, sizes, elements and imagination. I am only giving you the basics, and you can expound on that.

Make a bouquet with nothing but white chocolate covered strawberries, dark or milk chocolate covered and plain, this type is very attractive. Roll some of these covered strawberries in crushed nuts, coconut, colored sugar or opposite colored mini chocolate chips from which it was dipped. Mix up plain strawberries with cantaloupe centered pineapple flowers for a bright, cheery bouquet. Or mix all the aforementioned together, it's entirely up to you.

As for the vase, again, use your imagination. A glass, ceramic, straw, wicker or plastic holder of any kind is sufficient. Make a few small bouquets in decorative, coffee mugs.

Many people use halved lettuce head to stick the skewered items in, which works very well. Top this with either fresh chicory or kale or use M&M's or jelly beans or gum drops(which I much prefer because of the color added).
Also keep in mind that your fruit arrangement will be top heavy so either use a wide-bottomed container or just be careful and equitable when distributing the fruited skewers.

Items you will need:

bamboo skewers
vase or basket
crafters foam or lettuce head
cookie cutters in the shape of flowers(or any shape-up to you)
melon baller
gumdrops or mini marshmallows
Fruit of your choice; pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew,strawberries,grapes,watermelon, fresh cherries and/or blueberries
Lemon juice(needed to prevent browning of some fruit)

Shape to fit your crafters foam into your container, making sure there is a half inch space from the top of the basket, or cut to fit the lettuce head. Pour gum drops over the top so the foam is not seen, leaving about 20-30 for skewered fruit. Slice all fruit into at least 1/2-inch thick slices. Using a melon baller, "scoop" ot balls of fruit from cantaloupe and/or honey dew melon. You can also cut wedges from the seeded melons as well.

Do what you wnat with the strawberries, dipping or cutting an "x" in the top of the berries, spreading open for a grape or blueberry or just leave. Wedge watermelon into desired shapes, I used mini pyramids. Using your cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes from desired fruit. Follow the pictures shown for ideas.

Before threading on the fruit(and remembering to break some skewers down to size so that the middle of the arrangement is higher than the rest) push a gumdrop down on the skewer first and then the fruit.

This serves as a solid anchor so that none of the fruit will slide off. You can also thread all blueberries and/or grapes on to skewers or wedged cantaloupe and/or honeydew melons.

There are two ways of threading fruit onto a skewer. Either going from one edge to the other with the center cut out into a small hole so that a grape can be skewered as well or after sliding a gum drop on, slide a fruit cutout onto the skewer flat side down, topping with a melon ball.
Arrange according to desired presentation. With a pastry brush or a clean small paint brush, brush some lemon juice onto pineapple, and other fruit you think may brown.

Now let me give you another idea. Cookie Baskets. They are great for a children party or just someone you want to say "Have a Great Day" to. Buy prepackaged cookie dough or use your own recipe. After rolling out your dough or balling up the dough to bake, stick a bamboo skewer into each and then bake. Once done and cooled, warp each skewered cookie in colored cellophane decoratively and use the same technique as with the fruited baskets. Try some doughnut holes, of varying types, as an arrangement as well. Especially attractive in a large coffee mug. How about dipping apple wedges in melted chocolate and rolling all or just one side into nuts, sprinkles or mini M&M's, coconut or chocolate chips?
Use all strawberries for a beautiful arrangement as well,. Melt dark, milk or white chocolate and dip skewered strawberries. Let cool on waxed paper or film warp in the refrigerator until hardened and arrange in a basket prepared as directed above. Again, roll them in anything you choose for that extra special touch.
You can always stick to one theme as well. If you want just pineapple flowers with cantaloupe ball middles throughout the entire arrangement, that is pretty as well. What ever you choose, remember to add your own little touch, such as raffia tied around the outside of your container or large flower leaves around the base of the basket. Thin about some special ways to make it say "You" and everyone will be delighted at your gesture.

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