November 3, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
My darling-est taste tester.
Ah bake sale, 2 powerful words. Bake sale + overachiever + Pinterest + a great new book full of crafty treat ideas…clear the counters and get a babysitter – it’s ON!
Let it be known that overachiever does not equal perfect! And we all know by now that simply getting an idea from Pinterest certainly does in itself result in perfection either. Of the 6 treats I attempted, only 4 actually made it to the bakesale. That’s 2 fails. But! 1 last-minute bonus item got wrapped and sent instead. Here are the goods:
Caramel Apple Cupcakes These were very very tasty, but also very very sweet – and then with the caramel? Lookout! I was scant on the sugar but still I’d go down to 1/3 cup of granulated and brown if I were to make them again. This recipe doesn’t really rise or dome, so you’ll want to be careful about how full you fill the paper liners or muffin tins.
MS Brownie Bites cloaked to look like mummies (they look like mummies, right? RIGHT??). These were so forgiving, a good warm up truffle. Since you’re drizzling them later, you don’t need to be very careful about the initial roll in candy coating. Now, don’t tell anyone, but you could totally use a box brownie mix here. Who would know? Especially if you’re making a whole lot of treats, it might be an easy out. With a box mix I’d add mini chocolate chips, just to up their usually less-than-stellar “chocolate” flavor.
From the far too clever new book Custom Confections: Delicious Desserts You Can Create and Enjoy I made the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles and Mini Apple Pies-on-a-Stick. This book is chock-a-block full of creative and tasty challenges like checkerboard cake(!); cupcakes you cut in half to reveal a heart inside (made by baking a heart of a different colored cake inside the cupcake batter); cake batter truffles; edible flower lollipops; and fondant how-tos as well.
I added a sprinkle of sea salt to the cookie dough truffles – their sweetness really benefited from that counterbalance, plus it is just so du jour (and for good reason). I put some of these truffles on a stick – that was crazy yummy. A bake sale table generally has a mostly horizontal display, so the things-on-sticks stick up and stand out.
The mini pies-on-a-stick are something I have wanted to make for years. It was a great experience – they came out super tasty and cute. They weren’t too much extra effort really, and a great way to use those mini-cookie cutters that never seem to see the light of day. I wasn’t sure I had a 2″ biscuit cutter, so as you can see in the photo below I used the lid from a canning jar. I used store-bought pie crust (hello convenience!) but made my own filling (have you seen how much those canned pie fillings cost?!). We have an over-abundance of apples around here (thank you apple tree!), so making my own was no biggie – I made a big batch and froze some for future pie-making.
In the FAIL category: Pumpkin Bread Truffles and Mini Caramel Apples. These were such. great. ideas. Sigh & alas.
The Pumpkin Bread Truffles really would have worked. And they would have been way too cute – I bought food-safe decorating pens and was going to draw little jack-o-lantern faces on them! Aaaahhh! However – plan ahead if you’re doing this around Halloween time. You do need orange candy melts. And they will be all sold out.
I mistakenly thought I could add food coloring to white candy melts – Yeeeah no. So I tried a hail mary white chocolate ganache type thing…womp womp. It kind of worked. It actually worked pretty well, and tasted great – but it was really difficult/impossible to get on the pumpkin bread balls in a uniform, smooth fashion. So I quit after a few. In the foreground at right is my best one, but you can see in the background what the majority looked like. Lucky for me, my daughter thinks the pumpkin bread + frosting balls are dee-lish and now I have a whole bag full of them in the freezer for her breakfasts.
The mini-caramel apples were going to be epic I tell you, EPIC. I can’t be the only one who thinks that a whole caramel apple is just too much. But a lovely morsel bit of caramel apple? Yes, please! And I was going to do 3-4 of them on a skewer ala kabob. I was pretty excited about this. But as you can see from the link…there are no real directions, just photos. I figured it must be pretty easy. Maybe it is – but I mistakenly used the leftover caramel from frosting the caramel apple cupcakes. That recipe adds a touch of cream to the melted caramel so that it will dip and swirl nicely on the cupcakes. Unfortunately the moisture of the peeled apple spheres plus the additional cream was just too much for the poor caramel to overcome – it all just got runny and wouldn’t adhere to the apple balls. Of course it was my bright idea to dump them all in at once…not the best call. Maybe it could have worked if I had dipped them one by one.
The good news was that I went into it knowing it was experimental, and all the supplies were “free” – apples from our tree and leftover caramel from the cupcakes. So it wasn’t a major loss, just a disappointment – I SO wanted that to work. For future reference I’d note that you need pretty big apples in order to get a nice ball and avoid digging into the core.
In the BONUS! category: It’s always good to have pretzel rods on hand when you have a bunch of leftover melted chocolate…instant bakesale treat!
Just so you don’t think I’m crazy (oh wait…too late for that?) – I’ll note that any/all of the “truffle” items can be made well in advance and frozen. I wasn’t doing this all in one day, or even in 2-3 days. I made the pumpkin bread, chocolate chip cookie dough, and brownies over the course of the past few weeks, balled them up, and froze them to decorate later.
FYI — I was provided with a free review copy of Custom Confections. However, that in no way has colored my opinions.
So – What’s your greatest/worst Pinterest fail? Greatest bakesale success? Go-to bakesale item? Please share!