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Pumpkins One, Two, and Three (and Me)

when I started the blog...

and a few years in...

and now...

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Entries in chocolate (2)


Rudolph and Christmas Tree cake pops.

I made these for the kidlets "Gingerbread" House decorating party.  The kids loved them.  Most of the grown ups did too.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I remember one mom refusing to share her tree pop with her adorable children because they already had theirs.  I won't name names but you know who you are.

If you've never made cake pops before, be forewarned that once you do, you'll be hooked.  You'll start looking for all sorts of reasons to make them.  Flag day?  Cake pop.  Kid stubbed a toe?  Cake pop.  They're a bit of work, but worth it.  When I make a batch, I usually also make an extra batch and freeze them undipped (yes, I freeze everything).  So right now I have two dozen naked cake balls waiting to be dressed for Christmas.  We'll do more Rudolphs and trees, and I'm also thinking of doing a Santa and some angels.  I also might make them for our neighborhood New Year's Eve progressive dinner party...but I need some ideas.

Check out the how-tos over at Bakerella, who started the phenomenon.  She gives you directions on how to use a box mix and store bought frosting.  I personally think they taste better with homemade cake and frosting but will admit, the cuteness factor is what makes them special.  One thing to note, however--if you do go homemade, make sure you use a frosting that can be left out at room temperature, i.e. doesn't require refrigeration.  Some brands of dipping chocolate recommend you don't refrigerate and since these hold fine for a few days (I've gone up to 5) at room temperature, that's what I do. 

ETA:  I wrote some details as a response in the comments section, so be sure to check there for more tips...


Homemade hot chocolate mix.

As consistent cooler weather is, hopefully, right around the corner, it's time to make up my favorite hot chocolate mix to keep on hand in the pantry.  After trying several recipes, I've settled on Alton Brown's.  I'm sort of obsessed with him.  I love science so it's no surprise that he's my man--he encourages you to learn techniques rather than blindly following a recipe.  Both of his cookbooks, I'm Just Here for the Food and I'm Just Here for More Food...Baking, get weekly workouts around here.  

Alton Brown's Hot Chocolate Mix

**This mix works very well so I usually double the recipe--I think the corn starch is the secret ingredient.

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred--I like Trader Joe's or  Ghirardelli)
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste (sometimes I do cinnamon)


Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly.

To enjoy, add about 4 Tbl of mix per cup of very hot water or milk (I like hot milk to make it richer). 

The mix will keep indefinitely in an air-tight container.

Happy Fall!