Wednesday, December 12, 2012

chocolate peppermint cake pops




Finally I come bearing a recipe! :)  In my last post, Fashionable Wine Garb, a knitted hat and scarf pattern for a wine bottle, I promised to explain why the post wasn't about food, and what had happened to my food photos, and me.

First and foremost, I was sincerely blessed and thankful to spend Thanksgiving with my son and daughter, my son's beautiful wife, and my four adorable grandchildren!  I hadn't seen them since January, one month after my granddaughter Charlotte was born.  Charlotte (or one of the many other nicknames she has lovingly inherited) will be 1 year old on Friday.  What an absolute joy it was to spend time with all of them!

Unfortunately, then came the strokes of bad luck.

My 8 month old Mac started doing very strange things the day after Thanksgiving.  After bringing it into the Apple Store, insisting I needed a fix for a virus (Macs supposedly don't get viruses,) it wound up being a hard drive crash...a one in a million occurrence after that short a period of time, so I was told.  Stupid me, had not backed up any of my food photos, so I lost everything!  Yes, everything!  All my holiday recipes I had so diligently created and taken photos of, I lost.  All my earlier recipe photos, I lost.  Recipes I had created earlier in the year, and not blogged about yet, I lost.

The computer crash was followed by losing my driver's license somewhere in Atlanta while visiting my son and family.  ...and I finalized it all by getting really sick! :)  I need to hurry and get a flu shot while I'm well, so I don't get it again!

So after all that, my knitting post came into play.  I was able to take some quick photos of one of my knitting projects and blog about it, prior to starting to cook and bake all over again! :)

Everything is back to semi-normal, and the food creations will start rolling out again.  Thank you all for bearing with me, and continuing to visit A Cup of Mascarpone!  With all the little mishaps, November was a super month for my blog!  I was ecstatic to be included in The Kitchn's Delicious Links with my  Sparkling Sugar Cranberries.   Thank you so much to The Kitchn for this wonderful honor!  If you haven't experienced this amazing blog, you will have to check it out, it's a real treat!  A Cup of Mascarpone was also visited the most in one month since its inception in mid-July, with just shy of 34,000 visits!  Thank you, thank you for stopping by my humble little blog and leaving all your kind comments and messages!  This all came about because I wanted to share my weekend love in the kitchen with all of you, and as mentioned in an earlier post, I will continue striving to improve, to keep you all returning! xox






Now onto my food creation!!!  These delicious cake pops made their way to a sweet bunch of middle school girls in Northern Virginia, who play on the  school's basketball team.  My daughter, who teaches in the middle school, is also the Assistant Basketball Coach.  It was the team's very first game, and  Coach Kelly asked me to "pretty please" make cake pops for the girls.  How could I resist?  Although the team lost, they were thrilled with the awesome cake pops after the game, and had big smiles on their faces anyway!

A dark chocolate, brownie like cake interior is covered with a hard candy coating and sprinkling of crunchy peppermint.  I've created many cake pops over the last couple years, but can say without a doubt, these were the tastiest ever!  The combination of flavors - scrumptious chocolate, and crunchy, aromatic peppermint - worked perfectly together, and the completed cake pops looked so seasonly charming and festive!







The process looks long and tedious, but trust me, once you get the hang of it, it's very easy!  You do need some time, so make them when you're not feeling rushed.  I've added an excellent link below from the original creator of cake pops, "Bakerella," and highly recommend watching it a few times to understand the process prior to making the pops.  You will be so happy you did!

My Chocolate Peppermint Cake Pops recipe post is also being linked to the monthly "Chocolate Party" I'm so happy to be part of!  Thank you so much to my friend, Roxana, of Roxana's Home Baking, who hosts this delightful monthly Chocolate Party.  Peppermint was the lovely ingredient  added to chocolate for December. Inspiring bloggers, all part of the Chocolate Party, have used their creativity to make some absolutely delicious chocolate and peppermint recipes. Links to check them all out are at the bottom of my post.  Hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

Until next time...mangia!  xox

Carol

PS:  Promise not to talk so much next time...got a little carried away! :)







Chocolate Peppermint Cake Pops
Adapted from the book Cake Pops by Bakerella

Yields 30 - 48 depending on cake mix used and size of cake pops.

Ingredients:

16.5 ounce or 18.25 ounce box cake mix (I used Duncan Hines 16.5 ounce Devil's Food)
box mix required ingredients (3 eggs and 1/3 cup canola oil on the DH mix)
16 ounce container ready-made frosting (I used Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Dark Chocolate)
2-3 bags Wilton 12 ounce candy melts (I used 1 bag white and 1 bag pink)
chopped candy cane pieces (I used the pre-chopped pieces found in the bulk food area of Wegmans)

Supplies:

30-48 6" lollipop sticks
styrofoam block (for drying coated cake pops)
4"x6" clear cellophane treat wrappers with twist ties or ribbon (optional)

Create the Chocolate Peppermint Cake Pops:

Bake the cake mix as directed, using a 9x13 inch cake pan.  Let cool completely.  This can be done a day ahead to save time.

Once the cake is cooled, section into approximately 6 or 8 pieces, and crumble the cake into a large mixing bowl. You should not see any large pieces of cake.

Add 2/3 container of frosting, if using DH mix.  With the back of a  large spoon or spatula, mix the frosting with the cake crumbs until thoroughly combined.  If using an 18.25 ounce mix, use 3/4 container of frosting.  You will not need the remaining frosting.  Only add the amount required, otherwise, the cake pops will be too moist.

Roll cake mixture into approximate 1-1/2" balls.  The mixture should be moist enough to roll into balls and still hold a round shape.  After rolling the cake balls by hand, place them on wax or parchment paper covered baking sheet.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours in the refrigerator, or place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.  You want the balls to be firm, but not frozen!

Reminder as we move along:  Watch the YouTube video referenced in Carol's note below on how to crumble, add frosting, roll balls and dip in candy melts.  This will make all these steps make better sense.

Place the candy coating in a deep, microwave-safe plastic bowl.  This type bowl makes it easier to cover the cake balls completely with candy coating, while holding the bowl without burning your fingers.

Melt the candy coating, following the instructions on the package - or, microwave on medium power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring with a spoon in between.  Make sure you do not overheat the coating.

Now you're ready to dip.  If your cake balls are in the freezer, transfer to refrigerator.  Take a few cake balls at a time out of the refrigerator to work with.

One at a time, dip about 1/2 inch of the tip of a lollipop stick into the melted candy coating, and then insert the lollipop stick straight into a cake ball, pushing it no more than halfway through.  Watch video again at this point for how to dip the cake pops and tap off excess coating.

Once coated, sprinkle peppermint candy pieces onto the wet coating and set in the styrofoam block to dry. Repeat with remaining cake balls and let dry completely.

Store the cake pops in an airtight container on the counter or in the refrigerator for several days.  You can also cover them in the small clear treat bags, and leave them in the styrofoam block.  I prefer to keep mine in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!

Carol's notes:
An awesome YouTube video with Bakerella guiding you through making cake pops can be found here.  This is the video I watched and learned from prior to making cake pops for the first time a couple years ago.  It's simple, right to the point, and everything you need to know!

If you are serious about learning hot to make cake pops, I highly recommend purchasing the inexpensive book "Cake Pops by Bakerella," found just about everywhere, including here on Amazon.  It's filled with wonderful step by step tips, and clear directions with photos for making cake pops.

For the light, pale pink candy coating color, I used 200 white to 50 pink candy melts.  Yes, I stood and counted them like a crazy person to get the color I wanted! :)

Poke holes in the styrofoam block before you begin dipping the pops.  Use one of the lollipop sticks to poke the holes about 2 inches apart.  You can then easily insert the cake pop for drying into the "pre-drilled" hole.

When preparing cake balls, I use a kitchen scale and quickly weigh out 1 1/8 ounce globs :), and set them on the prepared cookie sheet, until I've used up all the mixture.  Then I roll them into the balls.  This seems to work well for me, creates uniform sizes, and moves along much quicker.

Wilton Candy Melts are found at any craft store, and also some grocery stores.  You can usually find them on sale at Michael's at least once a month.



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21 comments:

  1. The perfect addition to the party Carol! About the computer, it´s unbelievable at times to loose everything, yet I think most of us do. You sit there, NOT BELIEVING that you really lost it all. Been there. I´m glad you could spend time with your family and hope your grand-daughter is well. Never made pops but they do look good!

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    1. Hi Paula! Thanks so much for stopping by! You are so right, that's exactly what I did...sat in front of the Apple tech, not believing and I kept questioning "I lost ALL my photos?" Thank goodness it wasn't any of my family photos, they were all on a different computer, backed up! :) My food photos are now up in the cloud! :) My granddaughter, Charlotte, is doing very well, thanks so much for asking and remembering her! She is on two medications daily that we are praying keep her liver from deteriorating. She is a sweetheart! Have a beautiful day! xox

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  2. Carol, I am so glad that you're feeling better, and am sorry to hear about your Mac challenges and losing your driver's license. Especially happy to hear about your visit with those gorgeous kids!

    Your cake pops are so pretty, and I am sure delicious, and must have made Kelly's girls very happy.

    Your blog is a phenomenon, and no wonder it's taken off like a rocket! I am not surprised in the least!

    Hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

    xox,

    Jeannie

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    1. Hello my dear friend!!! Thanks so much for stopping by! You are too sweet and give me way more credit than I am due! ...but it sure makes me smile! Love you! xox

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  3. These cake pops look fantastic and perfect for the holidays!

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    1. Thanks so much, Katie!!! ...and thank you for stopping by acom!!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Jen! I am in love with your Eggnog Roulade!!!

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  5. I'm so sorry to hear about your wave of mishaps! Computer problems are The worst.
    But I have to say, these cake pops must have made everything better and brighter!! They look delicious and whimsical! :)

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    1. Hi Val! Hope all is well over at - une gamine dans la cuisine! Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Wow Carol what a month!!! I'm happy to see your chocolate peppermint cake pops and that your blog is doing so well...computers can really drive you crazy;-)

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    1. Good evening, Patty! I'm happy to be baking and posting again, too! Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the rest of your week!!!

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  7. Carol, so sorry about your computer woes. I can only imagine the frustration (let's be honest, I'd be devastated!). Glad you are back with us again :). Gorgeous pops, these are so perfect for the Chocolate Party!

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    1. How are you Laura? Thanks for stopping by...yes, honestly, it was horrible...I didn't know whether to scream or cry, so I just stood there stunned and said "huh?" lol Thanks for the cake pop compliment for the Chocolate Party!

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  8. Carol, I am so sorry to hear about your troubles. That must have been devastating, but you're strong and have made a beautiful comeback. I am not the least bit surprised about the takeoff of your blog. It is perfection at its best.

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind comments, Lady JJ! Appreciate it very much! Thank you for stopping by acom!!! I'll look forward to your next visit! xox

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  9. Oh Carol I'm so sorry to hear about all the bad things that happened to you lately. It would be enough to make me sick. Glad you are back and your computer is fixed. Your cake pops are gorgeous and I love the pink color!

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    1. Good Morning, Suzanne!!! Thanks so much for your sweet comment! Have a wonderful weekend!!! xox

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  10. Carol, so sorry to hear about the string of bad luck! Hopefully, you had a great time with your family! These cake pops look delicious, and I bet they taste delicious too!

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    1. Thank you, Jessica! Yes, the family time overshadowed all the bad luck! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  11. Your cake pops are absolutely beautiful - so eye-catching on Pinterest, that I linked to you here as an example of how they're done RIGHT on an upcoming CraftFail post. :) The person who sent the submission didn't fail at these pops specifically (which is clear in the post), but your picture was so lovely I wanted to share a link to your recipe. You should be able to see the post here, if you like, on Feb 1st. : http://craftfail.com/2013/02/cake-pop-flop/
    Have a wonderful day!

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Hi! Thank you so much for stopping by a cup of mascarpone, and taking the time to leave a comment! I read, smile, and cherish each and every one of them! xox

Carol