Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Which Witch is Which?

I made the mistake of asking my lab-mates what sort of Halloween treat they wanted at our late October meeting. The only strong opinion was voice was a request for, and I quote, "Those ice cream cones that taste like cardboard, but full of cake."

Sounds tempting, I know. 

But, I asked, so I went on a quest for Halloween themed ice cream cone and cake combinations. The first to show up on google was Betty Crocker's Witchy Cake Balls. While they don't use the cardboard flavored ice cream cones, sugar cones are far more delicious, so I was okay with the trade off. 
I seriously considered using cake cones anyway, but when I put them on my withes, they turned the witches into pilgrims very quickly (you may keep this in mind for Thanksgiving). The real rub for me was that preparing for this task involved buying a cake mix, frosting, and 8 different kinds of candy. You do not know shame until you spend $20 at the grocery store and leave with only sugar.

The first steps to making these were just the same as any cake pop. Bake a cake. Crumble the cake when it cools. Mix the crumbles with frosting. Form whatever shape you need (this time, just round balls, but bigger than average, think "cutie" size). Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Easy.

But then, things got harder. For one, I had no green candy coating, and was not about to get dressed to go buy more sugar. Yes, I bake exclusively in jammies, that's what happens when you live alone. So, I just dyed what I already had. Green was harder to make than I anticipated, so I decided that they would be teal witches. In retrospect, I should have at this moment given up. But no, I had to try to coat these monstrous cake balls. Without a stick to dip with, and with the added heft of a larger-than-average pop, I just sort of ended up spooning the candy coating on. First I did one side of the ball, let that set, then did the other. Then I tried to wash the teal from my now stained hands.

If I were to do this again, the I would have the foresight to prepare all of the goodies for the witch faces before doing the coating, so that I could stick on the eyes, nose, and hair while the the coating is still wet. Of course, I didn't do that.  Instead waited for it all to dry, then I turned on the gas burner and held each ball up to the flame for a second to resoften the candy melts. Once it was soft enough, I smooshed on the face candy.

With green balls, adorned with 2 M&Ms and a piece of candy corn, I started the laborious process of cutting sour straws into strips for hair. My advice: save yourself the mess and hunt down the Twizzlers, they have got to sell them somewhere. Do not try to cut up candy straws. It isn't fun.

Finally, essentially giving up on hair, I dipped each ice cream cone in purple candy coating and shoved it on the "head" of the witch. I tried dipping in sprinkles first, but the sprinkles made it impossible to fuse the cone to the head. Again, this may be some that could have been solved with a little foresight. First, dip all of the cones in coating and sprinkles. Then, while the candy coating is wet on the balls themselves, attach the hat. Duh. Well, next time, right? 

In the end, they're pretty horrifically ugly. But, its Halloween, so I think that's okay. And really, Betty Crocker's were no masterpiece either, so I'm not feeling so badly. Plus, they actually a little bit like this guy, what what's creepier than that?

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