I decided this year to make fewer Christmas goodies than usual (usually I make 15-20 different items, spending about a solid week of baking). So, in other words my baking is usually on the edge of out of control - our biggest grocery bill of the year!
This year I decided to do something different - I chose 4 items that I wanted to bake that were all a little tedious. One of these items was Christmas Tree Cake Pops! Bakerella is the queen of cake pops - so don't compare me to her too closely - but I honestly had a blast making these.
I made 2 dozen pops. I followed all of Bakerella's instructions in her book Cake Pops. I made a chocolate cake (from a box), crumbled 1/2 of it, and mixed it with 1/3 container of store bought chocolate frosting. I rolled these into 24 cake balls and refrigerated them. After they cooled for a few hours, I formed all of the cake balls into cone shapes and put them back into the fridge for a little bit.
While they were cooling again, I got my work station ready. I got all of my sprinkles out into separate bowls, got my lollipop sticks accessible, set out a glass for the cake pops to dry in, and began to melt my chocolate. Instead of using chocolate wafers (like what Wilton sells), I decided to just use almond bark (it worked great!). I dyed 1/2 of a pack green and left the other 1/2 white. I put the melted almond bark in glass drinking glasses, and the glass never got too hot to hold - and when I needed to heat up the chocolate a little more, it could go straight into the microwave!
Ok, ok...enough rambling (did you notice I am really good at that?). Here is what I made (lots of unique pops!):
Smooth StyleThe first kind of Christmas tree I tried, was just dipping the cake into the chocolate, letting it drip off, and adding sprinkles (leaving the chocolate looking smooth). I tried using green sugar on both white chocolate and green chocolate, I sprinkled white sprinkles, larger colored dots, and larger granulated sugar over top to make each tree unique. I used a yellow Mini M&M on the top of some of the trees to look like a star.
Branch StyleFor this type, I used a toothpick. After I dipped the cake pop into the chocolate and let the excess drip off, I drug a toothpick through the chocolate quickly - pulling away from the pop at the end of each stroke. This was the trickiest technique because the chocolate hardens so quickly (I had to work at super speed to drag the toothpick through all of the chocolate before it cooled!). I added sprinkles and sugar to some and left one plain (how is that for an obvious sentence!). Oh - I didn't make any white trees like this (I tried), because I used chocolate cake and it showed through the gaps in chocolate way too much for my liking.
This was by-far my favorite type of Christmas Tree Pop. Using a toothpick I spun the cake pop to make a garland going around the outside. I found it was much more manageable than trying to cover the whole tree with branches. I love how the white sprinkles and the large sugar granules look on these trees.
I know I didn't show any pictures of actually dipping the cake into the chocolate coating, but you really should grab the book Cake Pops for that - Bakerella has the best pictures! If you aren't sure if you want to invest the $$ in it, check it out from your library (that's what I did!). This book is definitely on my list of books to get - along with a lot more sprinkles!
So, which tree is your favorite??