Friday, May 20, 2011

What they say

I wanted to give you a recipe that I am really excited about. I'm excited about it because it is really easy, turns out great, and it's a HUGE hit! They can be made ahead of time, and taste great days later, they are fun, festive, and hip, and you are going to absolutely love them.
Cake pops.
We've all seen them at Starbucks, and when I was doing a tea party last weekend, I thought it would be really fun to have them as a dessert. Now, they are fairly simple to make, but it took me several hours to make 150 of them. This is how easy it is: bake a cake mix of your choice in a 9x13. when its cool, break it into pieces. add frosting. shape into balls. place on a stick. dip stick in chocolate. Pretty easy, right? And let me tell you, they are good!
The original recipe that I found tells you to dip them in candy bark coating, but I'm not a big fan of the flavor of candy melts, so I compromised and added some semi sweet morsels to get a better chocolate flavor, but still take advantage of the firmness that candy melts offer.
The other thing I really like about these is the sky's the limit for creativity. You can top them with nonpareils, drizzles, nuts, whatever! You can make them any color or flavor (strawberry lemonade is next on my list), and they look impressive.
So I will give you a recipe for chocolate (they were AMAZING) and you can change it for your preference.

Cake Pops
makes about 30-35, depending on the size
1 box chocolate cake mix prepared according to package directions, baked in a 9x13
1/2 tub chocolate frosting (or 1/2 cup homemade)
16 oz brown candy melts
8 oz semi sweet morsels
1 package 6" lollipop sticks (we found them at Michaels)
block of Styrofoam, etc that you can place the pops in to dry in an upright position
decorations of your choice (we make some rocky road by adding almond slivers and marshmallow pieces)

As soon as the cake is cook, break it into pieces in a large bowl. Add the frosting and mix until thoroughly combined. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Shape the mixture into uniform balls, making 30 - 35 depending on the size you want the cake pops (I would recommend somewhere between a ping pong ball and a golf ball. They will be bigger once you dip them in chocolate)
Place them on the baking sheet, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
If you have a fondue pot, it works great for this step. If not, make a double boiler-place 2 inches of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and place a glass bowl over the pan with your candy melts and chocolate chips in it. You can also do this in the microwave, although I wouldn't recommend it because the chocolate will cool too quickly, you will have to reheat, and risk ruining the chocolate).
Leave the chocolate for 1 minute, then begin stirring to combine. Once completely melted, dip the lollipop stick into the chocolate, and insert into the flat side of the cake ball (the side that was on the pan). If the room is warm (over 72) you may need to refrigerate again at this step for about 20 minutes.
After you have dipped all the sticks, and chilled if necessary, start with the first lollipop and dip into the chocolate, turning as you do so all sides are covered. Lift out and gently tap on the side of the pan. If you tap too hard you will lose the cake ball into the chocolate. If the cake ball comes off anyway, return the entire pan to the refrigerator and chill for 10 minutes longer.
Add desired toppings, and place cake balls into Styrofoam, or other stand while they cool. Alternatively, you can use cupcake papers and set the cake balls in them and serve that way. (it is probably a bit less stressful, but no less fun)
Allow chocolate to cool for about 20 minutes, and you're all set! These keep great for about a week (I'm sure they won't last that long...)

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