There are days when I fully buy into the whole personality-based-on-your-astrological-sign business. Today is one of those days.
The rational, scientific side of me knows that of course they aren’t true. But, you see, my mom and I are Geminis. And, together, we bring a whole new meaning to the word “indecisive”.
We are in the process of planning a trip to Europe later this summer (Hi Cate!). Today was going to be the day where we finalized our plans. However, after spending two and a half hours pouring over google reviews and trying to come up with an itinerary this morning, we still had nothing.
So we set out to the bookstore to get some good old fashioned travel books, and for awhile it felt like progress. And yet, three hours after that, we still haven’t come up with more than, “We should definitely fly into Dublin.”
I have no doubt that my mom will be able to pull this together. I have never planned a trip before, and she is definitely the expert here. And I can’t wait for the trip itself. However, I think that I’m starting to annoy her with my constantly changing ideas, so I’m letting her sit over on the other side of the counter and plan things while I tell all of you about my Fourth of July baking this year!
As usual, we spent the Third of July (a holiday in its own right) at the beach watching the fireworks after a big family cookout. With no plans for the fourth itself, I decided to bring dessert to that party instead.
Three years ago, before the inception of SMiLes by Meg, I made my first attempt at cake pops and failed pretty miserably. You couldn’t really pick them up without a stick breaking, the tops were too big and hard to eat, and the decorating lacked any real effort.
With almost two years of weekly baking adventures under my belt, I now feel significantly more qualified to do cake pops justice. And because I like all things brownie, I used that as the base instead. Spoiler: they were a huge hit.
For brownie pops, you really don’t need to go crazy and make things from scratch. They aren’t particularly fast to make, so save time by using mixes when you can. I used the following:First, prepare the brownies according to the box instructions. I used the Duncan Hines mix for Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies, and followed the “fudgy” rather than “cakey” directions. If you’ve never made box brownies (in which case you should be asking yourself why you are reading this blog), it will look like this:
Let the brownies cool completely in the pan before you move on. I made them the night before I would be serving the pops, and did the next step in the morning.
That next step is to cut up the brownies and put them in a large bowl.Add about half of a 16 ounce container of cream cheese frosting to the bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon or your hands. You want it to come together and be easy to manipulate. Roll the brownie-frosting mixture into one inch balls. They will seem small, but this is one of the key switches I made from my initial attempt at cake pops that made a big difference. Place them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and put in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.When you are ready to make the pops, melt the Candy Melts according to package directions and remove the brownie balls from the fridge.
Then, take each brownie pop by the stick and dip into the melted Candy Melts. Stick them into a styrofoam block so that they can harden upright. Sprinkle with sprinkles before they begin to harden.And that’s it! In fact, it was so easy that while I was dipping and my mom was decorating, I mentioned that cake pops were something that if I spent some time on, I could really excel. At which point she looked at me and pointed out that it was rather alarming how serious I was about that endeavor. So goes the life of a baking enthusiast.However, I do think it’s important to note that she was the one that insisted the styrofoam bases be covered in tin foil to look better. So at least I know where I get it from.
- 1 box brownie mix, prepared according package directions
- 16 ounce container cream cheese frosting
- 32 ounce bag brilliant white Candy Melts
- Sprinkles, for decorating
- 60 cookie sticks
- Make brownies according to package directions. Allow to cool completely.
- Cut up brownies and combine with about half the container of cream cheese frosting. Stir with wooden spoon or mix with hands. Add more frosting as necessary to ensure consistency for rolling.
- Roll brownie mixture into one inch balls and place on baking sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
- Melt Candy Melts in a deep bowl according to package directions until smooth.
- Dip cookie stick into melted Candy Melts and press into center of each brownie ball, allowing to harden.
- Pick up brownie pops by stick and dip into melted Candy Melts, covering completely and shaking off any excess. Push stick side into styrofoam block to harden upright.
- Decorate with sprinkles as desired while still wet. Allow to harden completely before serving.