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How to make eyes, maws, more for zombie cupcakes

Here's more detailed recipes from "Zombie Cupcakes," the Zilly Rosen cookbook featured in today's Taste section. Below, how to make "Half & Half," the preferred medium for cupcake toppings. Plus, how to make the toothed maws and bloodshot eyes for the "Bludgeon to Survive" cupcakes in the newspaper recipe.

Half & Half
Makes about 8 oz

4 oz store-bought white fondant
4 oz ready-to-use gum paste
Plain vegetable shortening (as needed)

1. Knead the fondant and then the gum paste separately on a counter until smooth, then combine and knead until well mixed. If the mixture becomes sticky, add a little shortening.

2. Cover with an upturned bowl or cup to prevent a crust from forming. To store, roll the mixture into a ball, double wrap in plastic wrap, and keep in a sealed container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Rolling Out Half and Half for Cupcake Toppers

Acetate sheets (available from art and crafts or cake-decorating stores or suppliers)
Plain vegetable shortening, for sticking and greasing
Half & Half

1. Cut a strip of acetate to the size directed by the recipe. Put shortening under the strip to stick it to the counter and grease the strip liberally with more shortening.

2. Place the Half & Half on the acetate and roll out very thinly to a thickness of 1/8 inch or less. Using a craft knife, cut as directed in the recipe. Let dry, uncovered, overnight.

Coloring Fondant and Half and Half

Store-bought white fondant or Half & Half
Drops of paste food coloring (as directed by the recipe)
Plain vegetable shortening, for greasing

1. Place the fondant in a large bowl. Add as many drops of paste food coloring as directed by the recipe. When instructed to add a dab of coloring, use the end of a toothpick to pick up a very small amount of coloring, then mix it in the fondant or Half & Half.

2. Lightly grease the counter with a little shortening and knead the mixture until evenly colored. If necessary, add a little shortening to the frosting to prevent it from becoming sticky. Add more food coloring as needed until the color is the desired shade.

Eyes and maws for "Bludgeon to Survive"

1. Dust the counter with cornstarch. Roll black Half & Half into a ball and then roll out the ball very thinly. Use a craft knife to cut out 12 mouth shapes.

2. Roll white Half & Half into a ball and roll out very thinly. Use the piping tip again to cut out 24 small circles for eyes.

3. Use the red edible marker pen to add veins to the eyes. Fill a pastry bag or parchment paper cone fitted with a fine plain piping tip with the black Royal Icing and pipe an eyeball in the center of each eye.

4. Use a small amount of white Royal Icing to attach 2 eyes and a mouth to each cupcake. Use the black Royal Icing to pipe suture lines on one side of the face and to give the zombies mean eyebrows.



Food and Drink
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