Friday, March 30, 2012

Safari Animals Cake Pops

For my godson's first birthday celebration, I volunteered to make cake pops since I thought making decorated animal sugar cookies would be time consuming, considering the volume and detail needed for a children's party.    Man oh man was I in for another emotional roller coaster ride.

Of course I made a practice batch batches weeks before the party and for the life of me I just couldn't get it right.  Just when I thought the coating had set perfectly, each and every pop would crack.  One after the other, right before my eyes.  Disaster.  When I did a search on this, there was a plethora of questions, frustrations, and disappointments dealing with the issue on cracking cake pops but no one has seemed to provide for a solution.  I tried Bakerella's tip to roll the balls lightly,  giving them enough room to expand later on when covered in candy.  Nope, didn't work.  I also tried dipping the pops in candy coating right away, without refrigeration.  Didn't work either.  The pops just fell off, happily sliding down the sticks.  I had to eat skewered cake balls that day.  In tears.

Then I encountered a post in a forum where you should let the temperature of the melted candy/chocolate cool down, since dipping the cold cake pops in hot chocolate would cause it to crack later on.  The party was just around the corner and I didn't have much time to have a back up plan so cake pops it were.  It had to be.

Anyway, after shaping and leaving the cake balls to set in the fridge for a couple of hours, I took them out then started melting the chocolate in the microwave.  After melting, I patiently waited for its temperature to cool down - around 98F (36C) - and started dipping.  So far so good, the coating was slowly setting.  At that time I was conditioning myself, to get ready in case the cracks started forming 40 minutes after the pops had set.  Three hours go by, still no cracks.  Could it be?

Look ma, no cracks!
After several broken pops and about 10 pounds heavier, I have made the perfect batch of safari animal cake pops.  Unbelievable. 
Best of all, these cake pops were perfect for the party's theme.  Even though my friend - birthday boy Iñigo's mum - and I never spoke at all about the color combinations for the party theme (she just said it was a safari birthday party), these cake pops fit right in.  

This amazing cake was made by Iñigo's mum.  Look at those cute animal toppers!  The detail on those little monkeys under the lion is just insane.

Of course there were cupcakes, too.

My cake pops even matched the colors of the balloons.  How cool is that?

Monday, March 5, 2012

De-Luxe Cookies

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As the ad campaign for a New York shoe store once read:

"There's a little bit of Imelda in all of us."

this post is dedicated to all the ladies whose closets can hardly contain their ever-growing shoe collection, and for those who think that having a few basic pairs just won't cut it.

Sugar cookies piped and designed with royal icing.

My favorite, the blue disco pump.