Saturday, November 19, 2011

Petranaki Arena - Medium/Difficult

Oldest son wanted this classic scene from Episode 2 for his birthday, but he doesn't like cake so much so he asked me to use snickerdoodle cookies.  The arena walls are all cookies, the rest is fondant and inedible decorations.

This treat requires some prep.  I started with a very large plastic plant saucer from Home Depot, then got 4 sheets of craft foam from from Michael's.  Greg was nice enough to cut a big hole in the foam so the saucer could fit inside.  (So the foam was like a collar around the top of the saucer.)  He then covered all the Styrofoam with brown duck tape.

The Styrofoam gave me added height for the arena walls, to help with scale.  It also gave me a perfect way to anchor skewers to hold the cookies up.

I also got a pine dowel at Home Depot, stained it Sedona Red, and cut it to 8" lengths for the posts. Using a glue gun, secure these to the saucer.

Make the figures and beasts in advance from fondant.  I made Padme crouching, to position her on top of her post.  Anakin and Obi Wan were flat, for positioning against their posts.  For all, I made the bodies and heads, but left them bald (piped on hair at the end).  Make little handcuffs from dark grey fondant.

The Geonosian was suspended on a clear skewer obtained from the florist dept at Publix,   Roll the wings very, very thin.  I made the legs and arms separately, then attached with 1/2 toothpick.

The reek was the easiest - make him out of dark grey fondant, with a very thin stip of red on the back.  Add horns.  I did the brown bumps later with icing.  I did use the end of a skewer to make indentations on the back, then I piped brown icing into the indentations to get the desired effect.

The nexu was made from brown fondant.  I also made the spines for the back from dark grey fondant. When assembling, I piped tan icing on top with a #16 Wilton tip.  I used a #2 black tip to add some of the brindling (see a pcutres), as well as the claws, and I inserted the spines on the back into the icing. No. 2 tip white teeth.

The acklay requires some experimentation.  I made the body out of blue fondant, which set up on a glass (on its side) to give it the rearing-up shape.  I went over the back and head with some water and diluted green food coloring when he was set.  I also make the legs.  Note that he has 3 vestigial toes.  My plan was to support him with a clear skewer, but I could not do that on the plastic saucer, so  I ended up attaching the legs to a bit of white fondant that I wedged under the body to make it stand properly.  You could see the white wedge, but it was not a problem.

I traced the saucer curve shape onto parchment paper and cut it out. I made 4 batches of snickerdoodle cookies, using a rolled sugar cookie recipe.  Chill the dough, roll a long strip, the use a pizza cutter to cut the bottom edge of the cookies to follow the curve of the saucer.  Cut the strips in approx. 3 " lengths, and using a large round Wilton tip (such as 172) cut a hole in each cookie approx 1/2 inch from the end.  You will thread cookies onto skewers with the hole, so try to get cookies that are the same width with the hole in approx. the same place!   Before baking, sprinkle sugars with cinnamon-sugar.   Width of the cookies doesn't matter as much - I make some wider for the bottom rows, then some narrow for the top.  But do keep the width the same, so you don't get gaps between the rows.

To assemble, fit a row of cookies around the saucer, covering 2/3rd of so of the circumference. Stick a long skewer through each hole, securing it well in the Styrofoam.  Fitting cookies in like a puzzle, build the arena walls.  You'll want a lot of the height behind the posts.  This took around 160-175 cookies.

The spires are fondant covered Styrofoam cones, just for effect.  I also used some fondant for the "doorway" on the side of the saucer.

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