Having just finished the Decorette Shop‘s Cake Pops class, I had some candy melts that needed to be used. I also felt I had learned something from making the Minion Army after the class. So I dug out the cake crumbs I had frozen, and started making my Halloween treats. There were many more lessons to be learned!
As I have said before, I do not like dipping chocolates, and dipping cake pops is the same thing. By the time you get the excess dripped off, the rest has started to set. If I were lucky, all the excess would have dripped off but more likely, I still have some thick spots, and a bunch of tails where the drips have set before leaving the cake pop.
In class, Linette the instructor had trouble getting the dipped pretzels for the skeleton to stay in place on the skeleton’s stick. I had thought about that and decided that I would try doing it in reverse order. I would dip the pretzels, let them dry, and then put them on the stick before even worrying about the skeleton’s head. The trick I saw was in mounting the stick horizontally so that the pretzels would hang down while the glue dried. After I did the bones, I worked on the heads. Here I learned that if you are going to use shapes for the cake pop, the shapes must be exaggerated. I shaped the heads so the chin area was narrower than the forehead, and then I poked holes for the eyes, nose and mouth. After gluing the heads to the sticks, and dipping the heads, I discovered that all the indentations had filled in and were lost. So the face got painted on standing out from the skeleton rather than embedded into the skull.
I used Royal Icing for all the extra design work on the cake pops, except for the bug eyes which I bought and glued on.
The other thing about the skeleton is that when I bought the pretzel, I just grabbed a bag. I think now that the pretzels are out of proportion to the skeleton. I should have looked for a smaller size pretzel which would have kept the ribs in closer to the body. Linette had said that we could also glue pretzel pieces onto the ribs to represent the arms. I gave it a try but decided it was going to be very difficult to hold the pieces in place while the candy melt set, so I skipped that step.
While I had the white candy melt warm and working, I also decided to do a few ghosts. In this case, I took the ball with which all cake pops start, and tried to flair out the bottom to be like the flowing sheet that we all think of when we make our ghost. I think the ghosts look weak because a couple of the other cake pops have so much size. However, the ghosts are the correct size for cake pops. A cake pop should start with a small ball of dough, not bigger that about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. As it gets larger, the dough has trouble holding together through the dipping and tapping off the excess operations.
The witch is also something I thought about how to engineer, and came up short in a couple ways. First, I made the hats. Here I rolled the ball of dough into a cone, and when it was coated I placed it on a wafer of an Oreo cookie. Notice I said when it was coated; I tried to dip the cones without a stick, and failed. The candy melt would set on the dipping fork and other implements I used before I could get the excess melt off the cone, then I couldn’t get the cone free from the dipping tool. So I ended up “painting” the candy melt down the sides of the cone using a spoon. When I finished covering the cone, I placed it on the Oreo wafer.
Having learned from the skeletons that any features had to be exaggerated, I ended up making the witch’s heads too large so that I could get a nose and sink the eyes. The original witches were at the top of the stick, and after dipping the head, I would place the hat on top of the head where it would glue to the fresh green candy melt. Unfortunately, the hat size was small compared to the head, and appears comically on top of the head. So I experimented. I drilled a small hole in the bottom of the Oreo wafer- 3/16 inch- and made the witch head smaller and moved it about 1/2 inch down the stick. After dipping the head, I slid the hat onto the top of the stick. It all looks much better in proportion.
Finally, I used all the rest of the cake crumb dough I had in making pumpkins. I had tried to use some shaping on the dough to give the vertical segmentation that is natural to the pumpkins, but like most of my shaping, it seems to disappear in the dipping and dripping. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the pumpkins is that I used broken pretzel pieces as stems.
At this point, I have completed my Halloween Cake Pops for this year. The photos all show how I decided to present my cake pops; I filled a clear plastic 12 ounce glass with M&M candies to give it weight, and then stuck the sticks of the cake pops into the glass. It works, and the receiver also has a lot of M&M candy after the cake pops are gone.
I need to get some answers to why my dipping experience is not what I think it should be. I hope this gives you some ideas if you are making cake pops for Halloween.