To make Sugar Holly Leaves
Holly leaves can be made in one of two ways. Firstly and the simplest is to use plunger cutters. These cut out the leaves and indent the veins onto them at the same time. These cutters are available from: A Piece of Cake Thame (www.apieceofcakethame.co.uk)
The other method is to use metal holly leaf cutters and a veining tool or to as in the case of holly leaves, simply use a flat bladed knife to indent the veining.
Using Plunger cutters
Roll out some sugar paste (fondant) using icing sugar to prevent sticking. Take the plunger cutter and either dip into the icing sugar or brush on a little hard white vegetable fat to prevent sticking. Press the cutter firmly into the icing and twist slightly.
Lift the cutter up and the fondant leaf should be in the cutter. Place the cutter onto a clean surface (dusted with a little icing sugar) and firmly press the plunger down.
Lift up the cutter and carefully remove the leaf and place on a board to dry. Twisting the leaf slightly or drying it over a curved object will give it a less flat and more natural look.
Make lots more of these leaves (in various sizes if you have more than one cutter size) and leave to dry completely.
Using Metal Holly Leaf Cutters
Roll out the fondant (sugar paste) in the same way as for the plunger cutters and cut out the holly leaf shapes.
Then taking a flat bladed knife, indent a line down the centre of the leaf.
Finally indent a line from the centre line to each of the points.
Place on a tray, dusted with icing sugar or cornflour and leave to dry for at least 24 hours.
When they are dry, spray them with green colour mist food colour spray and leave 24 hours to dry.
To make the leaves a more natural green, take a small amount of petal dust (I used green, blue and burgunday mixed together) and brush lightly over the dried leaves. Do not worry if the dust does not look evenly spread this will look more natural.
When all the leaves have been dusted, boil a kettle or saucepan of water and carefully holding the stalk end of each leaf, ‘dip’ them into the steam (not the water). Hold in the steam for no more than 2 seconds, the leaf should have a sheen but not look wet. Leave the leaves to dry. Steaming the leaves sets the petal dust and gives a lovely finish to the leaves.
Finally using some red fondant (I used super cooks ready coloured fondant), make small balls for holly berries and leave to dry.