Every year when the kids’ birthdays roll around, my wife Carol tries something different to celebrate. As a creative director, she is, well, pretty creative, so I’m always expecting something new & exciting. This year she decided to try her hand at making cake pops.
Cake pops have been “all the rage” ever since Angie Dudley of Bakerella fame published her recent book. Although Angie forms her pops from crumbled cake, Carol decided to try baking them from a set of Bake Pop trays. Carol also wanted her pops to have a soft exterior coating of frosting, rather than the harder candy melt surface that Angie suggests. Either way, cake pops are all about the decorating, and, as you can see from our photo above, anything goes!
You will need…
- cake mix
- bake pop tray or baking pan
- candy melts and your favorite frostings
- lollipop sticks
- piping bag & tips
- sprinkles, nonpareils, etc. (for decorating)
- styrofoam board (for drying)
Bake cake mix in bake pop trays. Allow to cool. Remove pops from tray.
Place candy melts in narrow microwave-safe bowl and melt in microwave, per candy melt package directions.
Dip lollipop stick approximately 1/2″ into melted candy. Next, insert stick halfway into cake pop. Place pop on small baking sheet or plate. Repeat with remaining pops.
Place pops in freezer for 15 minutes to secure lollipop stick.
Place frosting in narrow microwave-safe bowl and microwave one minute. Tint if desired. Stir. Repeat until frosting is thinned enough for dipping. (Do not overheat or frosting may break down.)
Dip cake pops fully into melted frosting and allow excess to drip away.
Insert stick end of cake pops into styrofoam board to dry. Once the pops have dried, decorate as desired.
For more cake pop tips & methods check out Bakerella’s “how to” video.
Looking for a spooky Halloween snack ? Check out this adorable witch that we recently shot for The Popcorn Board. It’s easy to make & fun for kids —you just need grocery store ingredients and your imagination. Trick or Treat!
Here’s the recipe, courtesy of The Popcorn Board.
Witchy Popcorn Balls
- 16 chocolate wafer cookies
- 3 quarts popped popcorn
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or
- 3 cups miniature marshmallows
- 3 tablespoons (1/2 of a 3-ounce box)
- lime gelatin dessert mix
- Green food color, optional
- 8 chocolate ice cream cones
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips
- Orange sugar sprinkles, placed in small bowl
- Jelly beans, candy corn, licorice string
- Spread a sheet of wax (or parchment) paper over a work surface and place the wafer cookies on it.
- Spray a large mixing bowl with cooking spray and place popcorn inside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in marshmallows and gelatin dessert powder until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth. If desired, adjust color with a drop or 2 of food color. Pour over popcorn and mix well until coated.
- Spray hands with cooking spray and press firmly to form into 8 balls. Place balls on 8 of the wafer cookies. Press candy decorations into popcorn balls to form eyes, nose and mouth.
- Place chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cover and heat for 10 seconds. Stir chocolate to aid melting. Repeat as needed until chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon melted chocolate onto the top of each popcorn ball. Press a few licorice strings into chocolate to form ‘hair’.
- Make hats: dip cone edges into melted chocolate and then into orange sugar sprinkles. Using melted chocolate as the “glue,” attach cones to remaining wafer cookies to form hat with brim. Place hats onto popcorn balls, again using melted chocolate as the “glue.” Allow chocolate to set for about 45 minutes before serving.
- Serve or seal individually in plastic wrap for storage.
Have you noticed? Cupcakes are all the rage. So many flavors, so many frostings, so many toppings, and so many sizes! Cupcakes have become a whimsical replacement for traditional desserts. I remember when they were just a simple treat to send to school for kids’ birthdays—now they pop up all over, even at wedding receptions!
For those in the Connecticut area, I have started a cupcake venture, Cupcakes for a Cause. Part of the proceeds are donated to a local animal shelter. Visit my website and see my limited holiday flavors!! www.cupcakecause.com
Showcased in the above photo is one of my offerings – Cup o’ Joe (developed in honor of my A LA CARTE partner, Joe, who makes the best coffee in town!) It is a rich Espresso Cupcake topped with Mocha Buttercream, then sprinkled with chopped candied coffee beans & ground cinnamon.
Here’s the story behind these adorable little morsels! I had dinner with my friends from PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Society) last night. The conversation always turns to animals, and we all share our stories in one way or another. At dessert time, my friend Alexis presented a tray of adorable edible mice. They were actually quite simple in design: a chocolate-covered cherry (with stem) for the body and tail, a Hershey’s Hugs Kiss for the face, sliced almonds for the ears, and icing for the eyes and nose. Serve them over a triangle of cheese… genius! Or should I say “Micey” Nice!
When planning a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner for two, dessert is a must! An indulgent combination of mascarpone cheese, coffee liqueur, cocoa and ladyfingers, Tiramisu is perfect for special occasions. For an elegant presentation, I serve the Tiramisu in wine goblets. Ladyfingers (spongecake cookies) may be hard to find in grocery stores, so I substitute Walkers Shortbread Cookies. They have a uniquely rich texture and a melt-in-your-mouth buttery flavor, plus they do not get as mushy as ladyfingers in a Tiramisu recipe. Look for Walkers’ signature red plaid packaging in the cookie aisle.
Tiramisu for Two
Makes 2 servings
2 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur
1 tablespoon brewed coffee
8 shortbread cookies, such as Walkers Pure Butter Vanilla Shortbread
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 container (8 oz.) mascarpone cheese
1 square (1 oz) semi sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
– In small bowl stir together coffee liqueur and coffee. Brush both sides of 6 of the shortbread cookies with coffee mixture. Cut each cookie in half.
– In medium bowl beat heavy cream and 2 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form.
– In separate medium bowl, beat mascarpone cheese and 1/4-cup sugar. Fold in whipped cream.
– In each of two wine goblets, place 3 cookie halves. Spoon 1/4 of cheese mixture over cookies. Repeat layers. Refrigerate at least 2 hours so that cookies soften slightly.
– Meanwhile, in small bowl, microwave chocolate on High 40 seconds, then stir until melted. Using a small spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over remaining 2 cookies.
– Just before serving, use a fine sieve to lightly sprinkle each dessert with cocoa. Garnish each dessert with a chocolate-drizzled cookie.
I’ve never really been a cheesecake person. But I am now. While in New York City a few weeks ago, I stopped in at Lindy’s, a diner/deli just north of Times Square. Lindy’s gets few points for atmosphere or value (it’s horribly overpriced), but it’s world-famous for its cheesecake. So, I figured, when in Lindy’s, order the cheesecake. Was I glad I did! The cheesecake was quite simply the best I’ve ever tasted. Light, yet dense. Fluffy, yet creamy. Not too sweet, with just a hint of lemon. A tender cookie crust. And a garnish of canned whipped cream which should have been all wrong, but was somehow just right.
Not exactly a healthy snack, but a generous slice and a cup of surprisingly good coffee kept me going for the rest of the day.
I googled “recipe for Lindy’s cheesecake” and 28,600 results came up! I must get started. Now, where did I put that springform pan…