Eyeball Cake Pops and Punch

Since it’s Halloween, we interrupt all of the wedding posts for…well…a Halloween post.

20131031-182818.jpg

My engineering firm has an annual Halloween dessert contest.  After seeing the outcome of last year’s competition, I realized that the vote goes to aesthetics rather than flavor.  I bake a lot, but do very little dessert decorating.  (I do no dessert decorating.)  After an extensive Pinterest search, I chose to make eyeball cake pops.  I actually get to bake something rather than just putting together pieces of candy.  I had also been wanting to try cake pops for quite some time.  To add to the dessert, I also made eyeball punch.

This process turned out to be an exercise on how NOT to make cake pops.  They turned out cute/creepy in the end.  I didn’t even come close to placing in the competition.  I probably need to work on my decorating skills.

Materials/Ingredients:

Cake Pop Instructions:

  • Make the cake as indicated on your cake mix.  (My red cake was really creepy.)

20131031-184131.jpg

  • Allow to cool fully.  (I made mine the night before.)
  • Crumble the cake using a fork and place crumbs in large bowl.
  • Mix the crumbs and 1/2 to 3/4 of a container of store bought frosting.  Mix until the frosting is completely absorbed.  My mixture was the consistency of Play-doh.  Since this was my first attempt at cake pops, I’m not sure that was correct.
  • Use a cookie or ice cream scoop to create balls of the mixture.  I used an ice cream scoop and rounded the balls with my hands.
  • (After this point lots of things started going wrong.  So as to not confuse, I’ll continue with the steps that seemed to work.  See carnage below.)

20131031-182916.jpg

  • Place balls in small containers and put into FREEZER.  (Multiple containers are good because you can rotate the containers and only take a few balls out of the freezer at a time.  I used small baking dishes.)
  • While the balls are cooling, use a double boiler (or put water in a pot and put a glass bowl over it as I did) and bring your water to a boil.  Turn the heat down so the water is simmering.  Melt the almond bark in the upper compartment of the double boiler or in the bowl.  Add a few drops of vegetable oil if you wish your almond bark to have a smoother consistency.
  • Remove a container of balls from the freezer.  Dip the end of one stick and push it into the center of the ball. ( Don’t push the stick too far or you will see balls sliding down your sticks later as the ends of the sticks push through the tops of the balls.)  Repeat the process for the rest of the balls in the container.  Put the container back into the freezer and remove a different container.  Repeat until all of the balls have sticks.  Leave the balls in the freezer until the almond bark on the sticks has hardened.

20131031-182800.jpg

  • After the almond bark has hardened for the first container of balls, remove it from the freezer.  Dip the entire ball in the almond bark.  You may need to spoon almond bark over the ball near the stick.  Remove the ball from the bowl of almond bark and spin the ball to remove access almond bark.  I found a wire whisk to be a useful tool for removing access almond bark.  Place the coated ball in the cake pop holder or place on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper.  Repeat until all of the balls are covered in almond bark.
  • Paint the eye design onto the balls using food coloring.  (I tried to use the food coloring markers first.  They did not work.  I would not suggest purchasing them.)  Mixing one drop of red with one drop of green made an almost black.  I painted the pupils first.  After letting the dry, I painted the iris region.  I started out painting the entire iris region a solid color, but the food color pigments were so dark that it looked like a giant, dark dot.  It looked much better when I painted the outer border of the iris and then painted lines going towards but not touching the pupil.  See below.

20131031-182818.jpg

20131031-182934.jpg

The balls turned out OK.  I had lots of problems and trial and error.  I had several pops break apart in my almond bark, causing the almond bark to have cake in it.  This resulted in a much less smooth almond bark.  I also didn’t like the design on the early pops.  They were really creepy when you tried to eat them.

20131031-183139.jpg

Eyeball Punch Instructions:

  • Draw eye designs on ping pong balls using Sharpies
  • (I thoroughly tested them to make sure they wouldn’t bleed in my punch.  After drawing on them, I washed them.  I then left them in a small bowl of water for two days to make sure they wouldn’t bleed.)

20131031-184151.jpg

  • Make punch using equal parts Hawaiian Punch and Sprite in the pitcher.  Place the ping pong balls on top for a creepy touch.

20131031-183106.jpg

20131031-183037.jpg

Don’t Get Cold Feet

Before our wedding, I secretly knitted a pair of socks for my husband.  I gave them to him the morning of the wedding so he wouldn’t get “cold feet.”  I knitted the socks using the Deborah Norville Collection Serenity Garden Yarn in Twilight.  I loved how the color work turned out, and the yarn feels amazing.  I used a free pattern available on Ravelry titled “Basic Ribbed Socks.”  The pattern was easy to follow.  I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern.  He married me, so I guess he didn’t get cold feet!

20131029-200938.jpg

20131029-201028.jpg

Difficulty:  Easy

Time Required: About 20 movies

Overall Experience:  Good.  The only thing I didn’t like is how the socks came together at the toe.  The joining technique caused a slightly pointed toe.

52 Reasons Book

Note:  While this does not appear to be a wedding related post, it will become relevant in a later post.

This was in fact the first pin I ever brought to life.  A couple of years ago I saw Pinterest start popping up all over Facebook.  I understood it to be a digital pin board where one can organize his or her ideas.  I don’t keep real notebooks or pin boards, and didn’t see the point of a digital one.  One day I was bored and decided to see what all the hype was about.  I was immediately hooked.  There were SO MANY craft and recipe ideas.

I started using Pinterest about a month before Valentine’s Day.  This would be my first Valentine’s Day spent with my now husband, Craig.  We hadn’t talked about Valentine’s Day gifts.  I wanted my gift to “match” his.  I didn’t know if he was getting me anything.  I found this adorable idea on Pinterest.  I decided to make him this and bake something.

20131027-100038.jpg

Materials:

Instructions:

  • Make a list of 52 reasons you love your man
  • Cut 54 pieces scrapbooking paper to an appropriate size (the amount of playing card you want behind the paper is totally up to you)
  • If you want the border look I used, cut 54 solid color pieces of scrapbooking paper slightly smaller than a patterned piece
  • Write one reason on each piece of solid paper
  • Write a title and an opening message on the remaining pieces of solid paper
  • Glue the solid pieces of paper onto the patterned pieces of paper
  • Choose the location for the binder rings and hole punch each card
  • Remove the two jokers from the deck (these will be your front cover and your message page)
  • Glue a message on each of the normal 52 cards
  • Glue the opening message on one of the jokers
  • Glue the title on the back of one of remaining joker
  • Put all of the cards on the binder rings

Difficulty:  Easy

Time Required:  2 movies

Overall Experience:  Excellent

20131027-100346.jpg 20131027-100315.jpg 20131027-100234.jpg 20131027-100038.jpg

XKCD pretty much described my dilemma.

Valentine Dilemma

Wedding Rehearsal Ribbon Bouquet

I took a hiatus from my blog immediately prior to and following my wedding.  I got crazy busy, as I assume most brides can understand.  Now that all of the wedding craziness is over, I have so many things to post!  I made almost all of my wedding decorations and gifts.  I’m still waiting on my mom to send me my sister’s pictures (she was instructed to take pictures of everything I made for my blog), but there are a few things I can post in the mean time.  I plan to kind of go in chronological order as things were used during the wedding weekend.  Hopefully I don’t miss anything that way.

The first homemade item to make an appearance was my rehearsal bow-quet.  It’s been a long-standing tradition that a rehearsal bouquet be created from the ribbons from the wedding shower.  I made one.  I’m a little unhappy that this is going to be the first thing to go on the blog.  I ended up not having a ton of time to work on it and quickly threw it together the night before the rehearsal.  I do think the idea would be really cute if fully implemented.

Ribbon Bouquet 4 - Copy

My goal was to make a whole bouquet of ribbon rosettes and wrap any leftover ribbons around the stems.  Since I was short on time, I only made three rosettes and wrapped the rest of the ribbons around.  The rosettes were overwhelmed by the other ribbons.

Materials:

Instructions:

  • Make the desired number of rosettes.  (I used the same technique to make the ribbon rosettes that was used to make the burlap rosettes in my Burlap Roses post.  The technique is described in Snug as a Bug Baby’s blog.  I honestly don’t think I can do a better job describing the technique than she does, and since I did it very last minute, I did not take the time to take pictures of every step.  For this project I used a needle and thread instead of hot glue.  The concept is the same, simply stitch each “petal” in place instead of gluing it.  The three rosettes turned out really cute.  I just wish that I had time to make more of them.)
  • Wrap the rosettes in any remaining ribbon

Difficulty:  Easy

Time Required:  10 minutes per rosette

Overall Experience:  Good.  I wish that I had time to make more rosettes

Ribbon Bouquet 4 Ribbon Bouquet 3 Ribbon Bouquet 2 Ribbon Bouquet 1