I’ve always loved the old-timey look of envelopes sealed with wax and stamped with a crest– they just look so important and mysterious at the same time. And while I’ve never had a reason to send a letter in such an envelope, an opportunity arose when my daughter decided to have a Harry Potter-themed birthday party.
As you may remember, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry receives a letter (many letters) from Hogwarts regarding his acceptance, and in the movie those letters are sealed with red wax.
While our party invitations weren’t paper invitations, we did have a Hogwarts seal (included in a fancy quill pen set she got for Christmas), and I was determined to use it. The solution: Cookies!
Along with the owl cookies we made for the party, we decided to make Hogwarts letter cookies– basically just rectangles, iced in white, with a red candy seal. After all, melted chocolate is a lot like wax– how hard could it be?
Well, pretty hard. At least, until you learn the tricks to get it just right:
- The seal must be ice-cold when you impress it in the melted chocolate (or candy melt). I like to put it in a cup of water filled with ice cubes.
- The melted candy must be only just warm to the touch when you impress the seal, or else it’ll just stay gooey and stick to the seal.
- You must do the pressing on a cold surface, like a frozen metal sheet pan.
I went through a lot of failed attempts before figuring all of this out!
One thing I did to make my seals more consistent was to use a heat gun to melt individual round candy wafers, which happened to be the perfect size for the seals. I placed each wafer on a small piece of parchment, heated it up for about 10 seconds, then let it cool to merely warm before pressing my cold seal into it and using the seal to pick up the whole thing and move it to my frozen sheet pan. After another 10-20 seconds, the seal would be ready to release and I could repeat the process. I could do about 3 melts at a time this way before the seal and sheet pan warmed up too much to be useful.
That being said, I will admit that heating up the individual candy melts meant that each one started off pretty warm from the heating process, and took a while to cool down to the appropriate temperature– at least a minute or two. I actually think that melting all of the chocolate at once, letting it cool a bit, and then spooning it out into blobs to cool further might be a better way of doing things, though your seals would be less consistently sized and you might end up wasting some chocolate.
Anyway, here’s the process:
- Prepare a sheet pan or plate by putting it in your freezer for a few minutes.
- Prepare your seal by chilling it down in a cup of ice and water.
- Melt your candy by whatever method you like, and blob it onto a piece of parchment paper.
- Once your candy is just barely warm to the touch, move the paper to your frozen sheet pan, wipe any moisture off of your seal, and press it into the center of your blob.
- Let the seal and and candy rest on the frozen sheet pan until the melted candy has completely firmed.
- Pop the seal off of the candy and set aside.
If you like, you can also mix some gold luster or highlighter dust with some vodka and lightly brush it onto the seal to bring out the detail– I liked the way this looked, especially when put on an envelope-shaped cookie!