October 26, 2009 by skwishface
I love the holidays. Love. About a week before Halloween (read: now) I begin to fill up with a bubbling, fizzing, effervescent glowing light of joy and hail-fellow-well-met-ness that is utterly out of character for me, and it lasts until New Year’s Day. At which point I deflate tragically and spend the entire month of January floating at half-mast like a mylar birthday balloon a week after the party.
This year, I have kicked off my holiday cheer with balls. Because I like to say “balls”. It makes me giggle. Because I’m (apparently) twelve years old.
In an effort to maintain a smidge more decorum, I decided to put the balls on sticks. That way I can get one hearty giggle out of my system and thereafter refer to the balls as “pops”.
It’ll all make sense in a minute, trust me.
Mosey on over to the Pioneer Woman’s site and check out her recipe for cake balls. She, it would seem, does not have the same giggle issues that I have.
If you’ve got a team of idle-handed older children nearby, put them to work helping you with this tasty project. I did not. I had only a sickly preschooler, an understandably insufficiently coordinated infant, and a husband to watch them both. Please believe me when I say this recipe takes about nine years when you do it by yourself. Fun! But lengthy.
Start by baking up a cake. I went with a super moist box mix. Which I did not photograph because I baked the cake the night before and because I’m a ninny who sometimes forgets things.
Once the cake is cooled completely, break it into pieces.
Drop said pieces into a big bowl and gently stab away at it until it’s all crumbs. Yes, stab. Yes, gently. I know of no other way to describe the oddly mincing brutality of this particular step. Fun, though!
Then you’re going to do something awful.
Then you stir the crumbs and the frosting together. Keep stirring until it looks pretty much like mud. Unappetizing, gross mud. Repeat that over and over in your brain; it’s the only way to avoid just grabbing a spoon and digging in right there.
Wash your hands so you don’t get swine flu on your balls (tee hee!). Scoop up a bit of the mixture, roll it between your palms until it’s ball-shaped (tee hee!). I used just a regular cereal spoon, it worked out nicely and helped keep all my balls (tee!) the same size (hee!).
Then I laid the little darlings out on wax paper and stuck ’em in the freezer for about an hour.
They really do need the freezer time. Fresh-rolled, they’re rather loose and threaten to fall apart at any moment. An hour of frigid temps later, and they’re quite firm and workable.
See how I didn’t giggle even once right there? I’m all growns up.
While that’s going on, you can contemplate the rest of the ingredients.
Did you know that your local craft store has everything you need to make candy? Like, an entire section dedicated to candy making. Seriously. Who knew?
There’s even this stuff called Candy Melts. Guess what it does! The best part is that this stuff warms up easily, melts smoothly, then cools to a hard shell at room temperature. No tedious keeping-in-the-fridge!
Pop your candy melts into the microwave, skewer your chilly balls (ha!), and proceed to coat.
There was alot of trial and error for me, in finding the right balance between getting a good candy coating on the pops and not laying it on so thick that it gets too heavy and falls off the stick. Don’t sweat it if you get some wrong – those are the ones you get to eat!
Coat the cake so it’s all covered in candy, and be sure to get a good seal around the stick. This will keep the whole thing from falling apart once the candy cools.
It’s basically all assembly-line work from there. Dip the pops, coat the pops, lay them out on wax paper. But they look a bit plain, don’t they?
Surely there’s something we can do about that ….
Once the candy cools, you can decorate to your li’l heart’s content.
Turns out, this recipe yielded about 30 pops. So I needed another bag of melting candy in order to cover them all. In keeping with the Halloweeny theme ….
Probably it says something about my life’s current stress levels that all my fun-loving little Halloween treats look very concerned about something.
Or maybe the little ghostie just knew what fate had in store for him.