Wednesday, January 4

Cake Pops, A Tutorial Of Sorts

I already posted pictures from my first batch and my latest batch (which was about three attempts later) here. I must have seen and read enough things about cake pops on the internet since their the "new" cupcakes for this year.

If you haven't already heard about them, essentially you make a large rectangle cake, let it completely cool, smash it up into tiny crumbs, and then mush it all together with a can of frosting to get a sticky sweet dough. From this point it varies, but you roll the dough into small balls, put lollipop sticks into them, and dip them into some baking chocolate or candy coating. You can also dip into sprinkles of your choice or let them cool and harden to decorate them with more frosting or other cake and/or candy decorating tricks.

That was a little too much prep for me given the time and space constraints I was under, so I chalked it up to my "to-do-someday-in-the-far-future" list. That list is like an encyclopedia set of nonsense. :D Slowly but surely, I do accomplish things from it! That was until I saw a recipe that... I think it comes from Pampered Chef. Oreo truffles.

Imagine those chocolate cookies crushed and then mixed into a dough using cream cheese. Then following the rest of the steps above. They are rich no-bake goodness. I have a strong sugar tolerance that not many share, but I know that the cake mix and frosting can be very overwhelming. There's something about the cream cheese that cuts down the sweetness of the cookies while keeping a very delicious full flavor. It's one package of cream cheese (about the size of two sticks of butter) per package of Oreo cookies.

Why am I going over all of this now? Well, I was hired to make another batch for a retirement party this Friday so I'm at it again. This time, I have my methods down pat! Well, as "pat" as they are going to get for a while, lol.

Some tricks/tips/things that I learned:
1. If you don't like chocolate or cream cheese, I have tasted the vanilla Oreo cookies with peanut butter. Very delish as well!

2. Food processor. Use a big one if you have it. I went and bought one for this task and I am in love.

3. I crush up one row of cookies first then add one-third of the package of cream cheese until the mixture rolls into a ball on its own. This seems to be a pretty good way of avoiding getting chunks of cream or cookies left in the dough.

4. I also bought a 1-inch scoop to help me keep better consistency in size. It's also good for scooping melons and such!

5. Make room in your freezer. They colder they are (I left them in a freezer bag overnight and they didn't freeze at all), the easier they are to manipulate without falling apart. If you need to pause to go grab a few more supplies- stick them in the freezer, heat up something- stick them in the freezer, or clean up a little bit to make some room- stick them in the freezer! You get the idea. It's so sad when it falls apart... even if that means you can eat that one. :P

6.Some people dip the stick (you can get them at a big chain craft store as well as individual wrapping baggies) into the melted candy coating and then into the cold balls of dough. They feel that it helps keep them in. I've done it, but I'm not entirely convinced that it helped.

7. I did end up using the whole bag of Wilton's candy melts so I would have a deep enough dipping supply.

8. I had a wooden spoon handy in case I needed to fish anything out, but getting the melts warm enough that it's as close to a very liquid consistency as possible is important. That meant sticking my wax/parchment paper-covered cookie tray with the dough back into the freezer as I heated up the candy coating in the double boiler again.

9. I'd use the spoon to scoop a pile to one side of the pot, grabbed the pop by the stick and quickly swish it from side to side to cover it in candy, and then twirled and gently tapped to get the extra coating off. It's so important to have the pops cold before this step since the coating warms it significantly. The pop can fall apart into your candy at this point if it gets too warm! So tragic and messy.

10. After dipping and getting as much excess off as I felt comfortable doing, I'd put the pop back on the tray and repeat the process with two to three more. This gives the newly coated pops some time to start hardening but are still wet enough for me to dip in my small prepared bowl of sprinkles. The tiny spherical ones seem to look the best for me so far. Nonpareils. By letting them start to dry just a little before sprinkles prevents the coating from pooling over and covering the pretty decoration. That was a big problem with my first batch because I dip the pops into sprinkles right after coating them.

They do fine sitting in the freezer for however long you need them to wait for you. It doesn't take very long for them to completely harden in there, about ten minutes. I keep them in the refrigerator after I've individually wrapped them in baggies. It's a relatively cheap treat to make that many can enjoy. If I have more than one flavor in the batch, I try to either use a different color candy coating or sprinkles or both.

There's plenty of other little things I do because it works for me. Let me know if you have any other tips or questions about my methods. I'll be happy to help!

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