There I said it.
I’m sure I’ll say it again.
In fact this is all very reminiscent of a clay Angry Birds post….
I guess that although I like to craft, and make, and do stuff, I just really hate uncontrolled messes.
And that’s exactly how these feel!… until the bitter end, when they do end up looking kind of cute. And then it sort of seemed worth it.
Because I actually don’t mind the cake baking, crumbling, rolling-balls steps.
That works out fine.
It’s when we get to this blasted part of the process that I want to throw everything away!….
…..and treat my kids to a plastic container of those neon-colored sugar cookies at the grocery store instead (you know, those ones that your kids ask you to buy every season, because they come in a different color for every holiday? That might have been easier.)
Don’t mean to melt and complain on you.
Bear with me and we’ll trudge through the bowls of hardened chocolate together.
I mean, Why?
Why did I use so many bowls?!
Dishes. For Days.
Okay. Here’s the deal with the cake pops.
My mom got me the Bakerella Cake Pops book a few years ago.
Maybe you remember the Rudolph pops I made for Owen’s birthday a couple years ago? With cake poop oozing out the back?
Owen loves looking through this book. It’s in my pantry and every once in a while he pulls it out and just studies all the pictures and schemes in his mind how he might make them. It really is the cutest thing.
And for the last month he’s been flipping through the Halloween section and asking if we can make some (btw, I just noticed on the Bakerella site that she has an entire Halloween book out!….better not show that to Owen. Heh Heh)
So in the midst of October craziness, I told him that the week after I finished shooting videos we would make some.
And then he did the cutest thing my amateur cake-pop heart had ever seen.
He drew me a picture of the steps for making jack-o-lantern cake pops. Ahh!
He even drew the pictures in a little mosaic, similar to her photos at the beginning of the book. And he included a section for packaging and sending a pop off in the mailbox to a friend. Oh Owen!
How could I say no to something like that?
So. I baked two cakes. I made the balls.
And when the kids came home from school we invited 5 friends over to help decorate the pops.
Not because of the friends….but because of the delicate process (please share any tips you have for making it easier!) The balls were falling apart in the chocolate, the chocolate wasn’t melty enough, tic tacs were bounding on the floor, kids were running wild.
So we quickly made some disaster pops to appease the masses—covered with more sprinkles than chocolate—and most of the kids were happy. Owen still wanted to make his special jack-o-lantern pop and was dying to try out the edible pen.
So the next day we gave it another go (after I had dipped the pops in a more controlled setting)
And here’s what I concluded this time around:
• Work in small batches.
• Keep all of the balls in the fridge and move about 10 at a time to the freezer so they’re only in for a short period of time.
• Melt the candy in small batches, and after you dip a few balls, melt it again.
• Plastic bowls work better than ceramic bowls.
• Dip the balls all the way under and use a spoon to smooth chocolate around the ball.
• Don’t get hung-up on the word “smooth”. Most of us will never be Bakerella. And if you are, please share tips!
• Do all the dipping at night, so you can be as neurotic as possible and let the kids help you decorate the next day.
That’s what we did.
And I gotta say, I love how they turned out.
We used a mix of edible pen drawings, frosting gel tubes, googly eyes (to make crazy eye balls):
And we made ghosts, zombies, anything Halloween-y.
And in the end the kids were really proud of their creations.
Owen’s favorite pop was his jack-o-lantern, which looked pretty close to the ones in the book.
My worst pop was a clumpy ghost, too bottom heavy to stay on his stick.
Of course the other silver lining to the crazy mess, is that when you’re done you have all sorts of treats to wrap up and share with friends, stuff in the kids lunches, send off in the mailbox as Owen illustrated (actually, that’s probably a bad idea)
And if you have any leftovers, they make the perfect late night treat (they’re yummy even with out the chocolate coating and whole lot easier to make!)
My rant is done.
Till we meet again next month, cute little book….
I’m off to sew costumes!