I feel like the blog’s been a little boring the last few weeks.
Recently I’ve been consumed by work, WeddSplosion R’n'D, and a tiny bit of money fatigue over aforementioned R’n'D as well. Even so, I feel badly that I haven’t been doing anything super creative (or even been a frequent poster at all!). And while I’ve really enjoyed my more frequent experimentation with cakes, I’m not sure how interesting that’s been for the reader (that’s you).
So in the interest of doing something a little more interesting, check it out! German chocolate cake pops!
I’m pretty late to Bakerella’s cake pop party, and since I was looking for something fun and different to try out, I thought cake pops would be the perfect experiment! Think my lollipop sticks look a little funky? That’s because they’re swizzle sticks. >.> Last minute baking decisions do not mesh well with oddball ingredients.
Additionally, teh BF was coming into town and german chocolate cake is one of his very favorite things. I knew that if I made it not only would he be in heaven, but he would also eat most of them for me. Double bonus.
So how to go about doing this?
First, in the slacker tradition (as well as in Bakerella’s directions), I decided I didn’t feel like baking the cake from scratch….so resorted…to a box. /shame Don’t judge me! I wanted a break from cleaning mixer blades every day…and little Betty Crocker never hurt anybody (to the best of my knowledge). ^_^
Second, after reading over the basic cake pop strategy on Bakerella’s site (that being “crumble cake, mix with 1 can of frosting”), I decided to take the traditional german chocolate cake icing and mix it in with the chopped up cake in order to hold the pops together. In less slacker tradition, I planned on creating the icing from scratch since really, if I was using boxed cake mix there was no way I was going to use store-bought icing too.
…Then I got home and stared at my kitchen. Then I went to the store and bought a can of coconut caramel icing. -_-
Despite my culinary depravities, I sought to make the tastiest cake pops possible. I did melt my own chocolate in which to dip the pops, and also I bought pecans for a final german chocolate cake bit of flair. And to be honest…I’m pretty happy with how they turned out! Just a note, though: if you ever can’t find lollipop sticks, I don’t recommend using swizzle sticks instead. They’re alright in a pinch, but they can’t stand the weight of the cake balls very well. They are weak!
Technique from Bakerella.
Makes 2 million. You think I’m joking?
So, the Thanksgiving Dessert Bonanza was quite a success.
I managed to churn out 3 desserts in 3 days (alright alright, technically 4…maybe I fail after all?) and didn’t completely screw up any of them (meaning, I didn’t have to re-bake any baking monstrosities). I think I get a pat on the back.
As evidenced by above jazz hands, my brother and his girlfriend approved of these desserts.
When it comes right down to it, I think of the 3 desserts the pumpkin cream pie probably won as my favorite. My pecan bars need a little work; they’re good, but a little too chewy for my taste. When I make them again I’ll be taking them out of the oven earlier. The chocolate pudding cake was delicious, but it’s really rich. I thought that the pudding would be lighter and less dense to even out the richness of the cake, but no…no it wasn’t. I don’t think I messed up the recipe; I think that’s just what the bakers intended.
The pumpkin cream pie had the right amount of sweetness and lightness to provide and satisfying dessert experience without overwhelming you (assuming you didn’t take too big of a slice). This was so good, I actually made a speed-pie the next morning to send with to boyfriend’s family, and I hear they enjoyed it a lot too.
Anyway, I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving and you gave many thanks for, at the very least, your delicious desserts.
Boom: day 1, dish 1 of the Thanksgiving Dessert Bonanza. Yesterday I tackled my pecan flavor.
I took this recipe from the fabulous Southern Living’s Best Loved Cookies book that I’ve had for a few years now. I love this book mightily; I have as of yet to come across a recipe in it that I did not like. Instead of doing a traditional pecan pie, I thought I’d make the pie in bars. You know, just to shake things up a bit. /shimmy
I’m a big fan of pecan pie, though as a kid I had trouble getting past the fact that someone was putting nuts in my pie. That tooth-achingly sweet flavor is one I’ve grown to love and cherish as a specifically Thanksgiving-related treat.
And so I began my baking journey…with a little Ron Burgundy:
My TV faces my kitchen. Can’t resist putting on a little something while I’m cooking. ^_^
Anyway, to start, a tip! For slackers!
For Slackers: A neat tip I came across recently both via word of mouth and an excellent Cook’s magazine – line your baking pan with a cross (one running vertically, one running horizontally) of tin foil, leaving several inches of excess, when making brownies or other bar-type desserts. When it’s done baking, you can then lift the entire rectangle of bars out of the pan by the edges of the tin foil, thus negating all problems with cutting out your edge pieces.
I, however, forgot to do this. So do as I say, not as I do, y’know? >.>
After forgetting to line my pan with tin foil, my next challenge was figuring out what it means to “cut butter into flour.” A quick call to my all-knowing brother confirmed that this process is relatively simple. I was actually going to explain it here, but decided it would make this post way too long…so look for a post later on cutting fat into flour (sorry for the anticlimax).
Once I got that figured out everything else was mostly pie (get it get it?). This recipe was kind of neat because it didn’t call for corn syrup like many other pecan pie recipes do; this one used brown sugar, honey, and a little whipping cream. I thought that was a cool little difference.
Want to know what the innards of a pecan pie look like?
…Typically without a spatula in it, though. Unless you like plastic and rubber in your pies. There’s got to be a that’s-what-she-said joke in there somewhere.
So! Let’s take a look at some final products, yes? Without further ado, a pan of Pecan Pie Bars:
Well, alright, I’ll be straight up: they’re okay.
But seriously, don’t blame it on the book or recipe; I’m pretty sure the sub-par nature of these things are due to my own flubs. Really, the bars are completely edible, they’re just a little crunchier than I’d like. In fact the ones nearer the center are probably just fine (I made sure to…test…a more centrally located one today to see if it’s any better). I think the biggest problem was that I baked it for too long. The recipe said to pull them out in 25-30 minutes, or until the center was bubbling.
For Slackers: And everybody, actually: Always (always always always) set your timer for less than the actual listed baking time. You can always bake things longer…you cannot un-bake a thing! Although if you can, let me know. I want your secret.
Final analysis: good. I just need to do a better job next time. ^_^