I’ve always been a frugal person. I say frugal, though many people who know me would consider that a bit of a euphemism. On most occasions that don’t involve baking or giving gifts, I am downright cheap. One of my past roommates and best friends shares some of my bargaining values, especially when it comes to eating and preparing food. During the year we spent together, our motto for the apartment was “waste nothing!,” an anthem that led to the idolization of leftovers and the agreement that all edible things were made equal and should be thus treated. I continue to live that lifestyle, partially because I genuinely do disapprove of the amount of food waste in our society and partially because it softens the blow that pointe shoes, tights, physical therapy appointments, and protein powder take on my budget!
The ideology translates into my baking rather frequently. Since I began the blog, I am constantly baking and re-baking to refine recipes until I deem they are post-ready. This inevitably results in many failed efforts and–to my horror–many wasted ingredients. Each time I reluctantly slide a too mushy, too dry, too crumbly project into the trash can, a tiny part of my soul dies. Dramatic, maybe. But throwing away a perfectly good set of cookie ingredients is, to me, the equivalent of someone else’s painful decision to toss stained Lululemon shorts or trash an incorrect Starbucks order.
Fortunately, sometimes failure in one arena means success in another. If I can manage to politely excuse myself from my pity party after a recipe explosion, there’s a significant chance I can find some sort of use for all or part of the debris. In the dessert world, the epitome of this mindset is cake pops. Thanks to the creative mind of Angie Dudley, or “Bakerella,” no one will ever have to waste excess cake or frosting again, a discovery very dear to my penny-pinching heart.
While struggling to produce the texture I needed for my vegan brownie recipe this summer, I found myself left with an abundance of chocolatey crumbles and a shortage of any actual brownies. I’ll admit I let my frustration take over for a minute, especially after the second pan emerged from the oven in shambles. Soon enough, though, I regained enough common sense to gather up my deconstructed brownies, whipped up a batch of peanut butter frosting to mix in, and transformed them into a couple dozen “cake” pops. No recipe needed, I simply added frosting to the crumbs until they held ball shapes, froze them with sticks inside, and covered them in melted chocolate. I even got fancy and pulled out some colorful packets of sprinkles to top them off. Who needs to buy an overpriced coffee shop cake pop that’s been sitting behind the counter for a century and looks almost too perfect to be edible, when you can simply screw up some brownies instead?
When faced with a seemingly unsolvable problem in the kitchen, don’t be too quick to discount what you’ve created. Maybe that broken pie crust could make a delicious topping for a crumble or cobbler. That overcooked bread could make a yummy homemade batch of croutons or breadcrumb coating. As a host on my favorite food podcast suggested, don’t tell people what you’re going to serve them before you do–a dish that doesn’t go to plan may have potential to become something equally tasty if you take a step back and get creative. I’ve learned that each time I take down my apron, I have to hang up my desire for perfect control over the baking project.
This recipe is very, very simple. No, I’m not trying to trip you up with a Great British Bake Off technical challenge. Cake pops are just so easily customized that it’s silly to establish a concrete recipe–try out different cake/brownie, frosting, chocolate pairings and see what you can create!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17
- leftover cake/brownies, or crumbles of either
- frosting (amount will depend on the cake/brownie you use, but you won’t need as must frosting as cake/brownies)
- white, milk, or dark chocolate (color white chocolate if desired or swirl food coloring in for marble effect)
- topping of choice (sprinkles, chopped nuts, crushed pretzels, sea salt)
- sticks (I often use wooden bamboo skewers; popsicle sticks work too)
- Begin adding frosting to cake/brownie remnants until mixture can be formed into balls that will hold their shape. (You can stir by hand or use a mixer) Roll the entire mixture into balls (smaller sizes are easier to handle later, so I like to keep mine about tablespoon sized).
- Place cake balls on wax paper-lined tray or plate and place in freezer for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt your chocolate in a microwave safe container/measuring cup. Use 30 second increments, and stir in between each.
- Remove cake balls from freezer. Dip each of your sticks in the melted chocolate (about 1/2 inch down), and stick it into a cake pop. Place them back in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Raise a cooling rack on two cups, and place a cookie sheet underneath to catch chocolate drips. Remove the cake pops from freezer. Coat each pop in the melted chocolate, spinning stick a few times to remove excess. Place the stick of each pop through a hole of cooling rack. If using a topping, sprinkle it on immediately after dipping the pop in chocolate.
- When pops are coated and chocolate has set at room temperature, transfer pops to a a sealed container, and store in the freezer or fridge. (I like them frozen). Be sure they’re airtight–otherwise, condensation will form on the chocolate.