Tuesday, December 21, 2010


As you can probably tell I'm obsesses with baking right now... I thought I found my niche but then the Great Pumpkin Disaster happened. *sigh* But then! A revelation! At work we took personality assessments and it clicked... I'm not a great combo for baking - low patience but high detail... well.. I'm going to my self-awareness to work!

The hubster and I have a lot of fun friends... this year we were invited to several themed holiday parties... one being Booze-a-Palooza. Well who am I not to contribute? I decided to get created with Bakerella's cake pops and make little beer mugs. Learning from my previous mistake of adding too much frosting (this is when I attempted to make longhorn shaped cake pops for the UT/OU game... that disaster was more of a defeat which is why I didn't share).. I took leftover cupcakes and crumbled all but 3 in my food processor. This way, if I've added in too much frosting, no biggie, I had cake reserved to help balance it out.

TIP: The consistency of your cake should feel like dough... For 1/2 a 9 x 13 cake, I use about a 1/4 of the container of frosting.

After I made my "dough" I used a cookie dough scoop to make 25 equal shaped balls. I pushed them through a one inch flower shape cookie cutter and kept the top part round. That would eventually be the "beer foam" part of beer mug cake balls.

After I had all my cake balls shaped, I put them in the freezer over night.
Day Two: I got a bunch of chocolate covered pretzels as a gift at a holiday party, so I just used though. Using a knife, I "sawed" the curved part of the pretzel to be the handles on the "beer mugs." I glued them on using Wilton peanut butter flavor candy melts. You just need about 5-6 discs for this step. If you are planning on coating them, then melt more.

Day 3: Dipping... so when in my first attempt at cake balls this is when this fell apart (literally). So I wanted to go very slow. I decided to make two flavors of cake balls - Wilton peanut butter candy melts as "golden ale" and Wilton dark chocolate candy melts as "Guiness." Before dealing with melting the chocolate, move the cake balls from the freezer to the fridge.
Reading a ton of reviews online, here's how I melted the chocolate for a smooth consistency:
(I use about 8-10 oz and a pretty shallow bowl)
1. Place candy melts in a microwave friendly glass bowl (I heart Pyrex)
2. Defrost the candy melts for about 30 seconds, stir and then defrost for another 30 seconds
3. Add in about 1 tsp of vegetable shortening OR, if you have it, 1 tsp of paramont crystals
4. Melt in the microwave for 15 seconds, stir, 15 seconds, stir, etc... until smooth
5. Place the glass bowl over boiling water (as a double boiler)... turn off if it starts getting too hot

Take out 2-3 cake balls from the fridge, leaving the rest, take your stick, and dip it in the chocolate, insert it into the mug (make sure you don't push all the way through!) Wait about 15-20 seconds for chocolate melt to harden.
Dip your cakeball into the chocolate and don't swirl! Just rotate the stick until the entire ball is coated. Lift out and tap, while rotating the stick, to let the excess melt drip off.
Since my mugs had a lot of nooks and crannies, I took a toothpick and "scraped" out the excess melts so you could actually see the shape and handle on the pop.

Now for the "beer foam" on top I used Wilton candy sprinkles in white. Along the theme of Booze-a-Palooza, I actually found that a shot glass was the perfect height and had the best diameter for dipping my beer mugs into the sprinkles without making a mess.
After I got the hang of it, I was able to move quickly from scraping the excess chocolate and dipping into the sprinkles. For my first initial ones, where the chocolate harden before I had a chance, I just redipped the top part and then dipped into the sprinkles. I doubt anyone will complain about an extra layer of chocolate!

They ended being a huge hit!! Who says cake pops have to be round??

Friday, December 3, 2010

Merry Christmas to Meeee

Some people want their two front teeth for Christmas.. Others want the latest fancy gizmo with blinking lights. Not me, I've never been much of a technie. If it was up to me, we'd still be playing 2-D Super Mario Bros. where yes! you do need a running start to jump over the gap and Ms. Peach is waiting for me to school King Kroopa to get her to grab a shake (which has yet to happen). I've never really needed the "latest and greatest" of anything until my cake decorating class. After the 4 a.m. Great Pumpkin Disaster that involved many initimate hours with my hand mixers, it was time to graduate to the big leagues... investing in a countertop stand mixer... and not just any mixer! I was going to join the elite group of bakers (in my mind of course) and get a Kitchenaid Mixer! (Please imagine me onto of a cupcake with the theme of Superman playing in the background)

You know when the big box came, I was going to open it. Pshhh... I'm on the forefront of a generation of instant gratification... Santa can leave me a lump of coal on Christmas morning.
So what was I going to make?? I mean this was the kick-off to many many years of mixer explosions... err.. success ahead! I decided to start of with a good ol'chocolate chip cookie :)
Look at that! No flour on my counters! No gooeiness leaking! And best of all, no Zack Morris bang wave due to shortening in my hair!

Ok I didn't take picture of the end results mostly because 5 were consumed right away. I couldn't control myself... My inner Cookie Monster was released! But they were delish!
What you'll need:
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar (make sure you pack this down tight in the measuring cup)
1/2 cup of butter or margarine (softened at room temperature)
1 tsp of Pure Vanilla
1 egg
1 tsp of baking soda
1.5 cups of flour
6 oz of chocolate chips
The "How-to":
1. Beat the sugars, butter and vanilla for about 2 minutes; pre-heat your oven to 375F
2. Add in the egg and beat in about 30 seconds
3. Gradually add in the flour and baking soda, mix for about 2 minutes of medium speed
4. Add in the chocolate chips and beat for another 30 seconds (until well incorporated, should be less than a minute)
5. Using a small scoop or a tbsp, place the balls of dough about 2 inches apart on a cookie tray
6. Back for 10-12 minutes, cool and enjoy!