Watermelon Turtle

Let’s take a break from baking and talk about watermelons! It’s been a while since I last posted and I don’t have any baking projects I want to show, but I did work on a watermelon project over the weekend. Summertime is a great time to exercise your watermelon cutting skills and through Pinterest, I came across a website where I was inspired by what others have done with watermelons thus far. I’ve never really created anything special with watermelons, except make a basket out of them when I was younger, but when I saw this turtle, I knew that was my next project.

Tools: a long knife, paring knife, channel knife, toothpicks, and melon baller.

Ingredients: 1 oblong seedless watermelon, blueberries, grapes, and 2 peppercorns.

I searched many places for the channel knife – Target, Crate & Barrel, Chef Central, Bed, Bath, & Beyond – and all the employees gave me a blank stare when I asked if they carried channel knives. Surprisingly, IKEA had them and they come together with a melon baller too. If you’re not on a time crunch, you can purchase these online. Amazon.com has a lot to choose from.

Below is the process work and the final product. I didn’t follow all the instructions on the website, such as not using the dry erase marker, so I’ll give you my version according to what I did.

Instructions:

  1. Choose an oblong seedless watermelon for carving.
  2. Wash watermelon and pat dry.
  3. Cut in half lengthwise.
  4. Cut a slice no more than 1/4″ thick off the bottom, lengthwise, to create a flat base.
  5. Hollow out both sides, using a melon baller.
  6. Carve out block design in the bottom side, using a channel knife. (Copy from photo).
  7. Take the top half, cut that in half lengthwise. The top portion will be the shell. The bottom portion of the top half will be for the head, legs, and tail.
  8. Draw the legs and head on top piece (not being used for the shell) by lightly scoring with the tip of the paring knife. I went about 0.5 mm – 1 mm deep.
  9. After the sketch lines look ok, cut through the piece all the way, using the paring knife.
  10. Carve the shell design using the channel knife.
  11. Add peppercorns to the eye holes to fill.
  12. Fill bottom with fruit salad.
  13. Attach legs, head, and tail to shell using strong toothpicks or skewers, and put on top of salad.

Scooped out the inside of the watermelon using a melon baller

Made the block design around the bottom piece using a channel knife

Cutting out the limbs, head, and tail

Using the channel knife to create the turtle shell pattern

Attached limbs, head, and tail to the shell with toothpicks. Cut out small holes for the peppercorn to create eyes. Added the fruit salad.

Finished watermelon turtle

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DIY: White Chocolate Snowflakes

As promised, here is namabakery’s first free tutorial! Since some of you are looking for ideas on winter-themed cupcakes and decorations, I am going to demonstrate something fun and easy to make.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to temper white chocolate first and then pipe snowflakes. Feel free to pipe anything else besides snowflakes though. The whole process, from tempering to fully hardened snowflakes, took about 2-3 hours. This will vary though, depending on how much you are going to pipe, or if you accidentally burn the white chocolate and need to start over, etc.

Ready?

Here’s what you need:

– wax paper
– white chocolate morsels
– Ziploc snack bags
– scotch tape
– scissors
– knife
– glass or ceramic bowl for mixing and microwaving
– cutting board (optional)
– If you have piping bags, then you won’t need the Ziploc bags and scotch tape. Also, if using a piping bag, I like to use a tall cup to help hold the bag open while I pour the white chocolate in. But I am going to use common household items in this tutorial so that you won’t have to buy piping bags to do this.

Directions

1. Place a 2″ piece of Scotch tape over a bottom corner of the bag. Make sure it is lined up against the edge of the bag.


2. Place a second piece of tape over the same corner of the bag, overlapping the first piece of tape.


It should look like the above.


3. Fill about 3/4 of your bowl with the white chocolate morsels.


4. Microwave the bowl of morsels at 50-60% power (adjust accordingly to how powerful your microwave is) for about 1 minute. Stir with the knife, microwave for about 15 seconds, stir, microwave, and repeat until most of the morsels have melted.


5. Add fresh morsels (about 1/4 of the amount already in the bowl) to the already melted batch. Stir, then microwave for another 15 seconds.


Repeat until the white chocolate is like paint dripping into a bucket. Keep stirring until the are no clumps left.


6. Pour the white chocolate into the bag.


7. Squeeze out the air and then seal the bag. Air bubbles will disrupt the white chocolate flowing out of the bag’s tip and cause breakage while piping.


8. Lay a sheet of wax paper over the cutting board. (The cutting board is here to make it easier to move your work to a different location without damaging what you’ve piped. I have to do this because my mom tends to move my stuff out of the kitchen while I’m not there, and that’s how things break.)


9. Cut about 1/8 inch (3mm) of the tip of the taped corner off. It’s always safer to cut a hole too small so that you can continue to cut and make the hole bigger if the piped lines appear too thin.


10. Squeegee the white chocolate towards the taped corner.


11. Twist the top of the bag. This creates more pressure while you’re piping the white chocolate.


12. Pipe the white chocolate onto the wax paper. Practice by drawing lines first. Don’t forget to release pressure when you want to end the line. Turn the bag tip upwards will help prevent the white chocolate from dripping during the times when you’re not piping.


The harder you squeeze the bag, the faster you need to move your hand. Otherwise, the white chocolate will start piling up, creating a vertical squiggly line and the line won’t be smooth anymore. This takes some practice.


Feel free to make snowflakes in different sizes.


After about 30 minutes, they should be pretty dry. Carefully peel the wax paper off and gently press the snowflake onto the frosted cupcake.


Here is the finished product.


To make a Christmas tree like this one (above), use a large, medium, and small snowflake. Add a dollop of white chocolate or frosting in between each snowflake to hold them together. The white chocolate will be sturdier though.

I hope this free tutorial was helpful. Feel free to ask questions or make suggestions if you have any. I would love to hear you! Happy holidays, and happy baking! 😀