So, a few summers ago when Dave first got his job working active duty in the National Guard, we were invited to a family day they hold annually. At this point, Dave had just gotten home from training for the job and only had met everyone the few times he had worked prior to this event. Know what that means? Good guess! Yes, this was my first time meeting everyone and I volunteered to bake something to bring with us. Talk about pressure for a good first impression! Not only did I not want to bring something that no one would like, but I didn't want my shortcomings to reflect onto him! Honestly, who wants to be known as "the girlfriend who brought the dry cupcakes" or the person who brings the fifth plate of brownies that no one touches? Not me, that's for damn sure! So, my quest began to find an out-of-this-world dessert that no one else would have brought and that would be sure to give the first impression I want!
And then, I discovered the "cake ball." Okay, I don't mean I "discovered" it for the world, but I discovered it in MY world..and it has never been the same since. Somehow I found myself on this website for someone who called themselves "Bakerella" (yeah, I know..she's AWESOME!) and I found myself hooked to her blog. A ball of cake? Hell yeah! That sounded phenomenal and I couldn't wait to try them out to bring to the cookout. This really solidified the beginning of my baking career and made me realize my love for creating things with my own two hands and seeing the delight it brings to other people. They seemed easy enough and I had seen my mom baking enough in the kitchen to know how to decorate and present them nicely..even in 90 degree weather. This recipe made about 45 cake balls and we lugged every single one of them with us and I'm not kidding you when I say that half of them were gone before we had even been there for an hour. I was the reason everyone's children were off the walls with a sugar high, but it was okay, because the parents were too. I couldn't believe how much everyone loved them, and now Dave says I'm not allowed to any of their events without them. So I'd say I did a good job that day and made a great choice! Since then, I have tried a variety of different flavor combinations for all different occasions which led me to think, "if you can do it with cake, why not with brownies?" So, I did it with brownies!
This was my first time making them as pops...usually I stick to just rolling them into balls. But, I think the pops are totally cute and you can wrap them up nicely and they make the cutest little favors. It just so happens that Michael's had awesome little heart candy decorations for Valentine's Day, so I thought they would be perfect for the brownie pops. Talk about being wicked freakin' cute. Parting is such sweet sorrow..I could have looked at them for days.
I really have Bakerella to thank for having her blog and inspiring me to bake something new to me that day. It got me in the kitchen and I've spent most of my time there ever since. Between cake balls and festive little cupcakes, those are the two best "go-to's" whenever I need to bring an impressive dessert somewhere. The summer I made the cake balls and showed my best friend the website, I swear we spent the last month of summer just baking up all different combinations of flavors we could think of. And now, a few years later, we still spend our days off baking and buying things for baking. I know, I know, we're 20 not 70..but we have so much fun and yes, we even bought all these little Valentine's Day decorations together too.
(You can use a brownie mix or make them home-made..this is a great homemade recipe)
Note: If you wait until toothpick inserted comes out clean, they’re overcooked. You want fudgy crumbs.
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- veg cooking spray
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
- 10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Whisk flour, salt and baking powder in a small bowl; set aside. Spray an 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Fit a sheet of foil in pan and up two sides, so you can use it as a handle to pull cooked brownies from pan (I used parchment paper). Spray sheet with cooking spray.
- Melt chocolates and butter in a medium bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat; whisk in sugar and vanilla. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each one before adding the next. Continue to whisk until mixture is completely smooth and glossy. Add dry ingredients, whisk until just incorporated. Stir in nuts, if using.
- Pour batter into prepared pan; bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in center comes out with wet crumbs, 35-45 minutes.
- Cool brownies in pan on a wire rack for five minutes. Use handles to pull brownies from pan. Completely cool brownies on rack, at least three hours.
Adapted from: My Baking Addiction,
“The Perfect Recipe” by Pamela Anderson
Now, to make them into pops!
- Once cooled, cut off the edges and start rolling into balls (you don't want them to get bigger than a golf ball)
- Place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and freeze after all are rolled (these will be really oily when rolling, but if they aren't staying together you can mix in some chocolate frosting to help)
- These can be kept frozen if you make them in advance, which would need to be put into a plastic bag if being stored.
- Once they are cool enough, pull them from freezer. Let them thaw a little before dipping because if they are too cold they will make the chocolate coating crack. You just want them cold enough so they won't break apart into the dipping chocolate.
- If making into pops, take one end of your lollipop stick and dip into melted chocolate. Insert that end into the ball and let set. This will help it stay in the brownie (or cake) pop.
- Coat completely with chocolate and tap off excess chocolate
- Stick pops into a styrofoam block to harden...decorate however you please!