Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cake Balls - a Valentine's Day treat!

The month of January has been so crazy, I don't even know where the days have gone! Between the new year, my birthday celebration(s), preparing for and running the Carlsbad Half Marathon, and the daily grind, I really haven't had much time to get creative in the kitchen... let alone sit down and blog my culinary creations. Plus we have been trying to cut back on the sugar intake in our house, which means I haven't been baking AT ALL. But here it is, almost February, so I think it's about time to indulge in a Valentine's Day inspired treat!


Well... what started as an attempt to make cute heart-shaped sugar cookie bars the other night, turned into these fun Valentine's Day Cake Balls. Here's how my epic baking fail (and creation of a new recipe) went down. I had found a delicious-looking recipe for cookie bars from Sally's Baking Addiction; she really knows her sugary treats. The ingredients included in her recipe such as the additional egg yolk and corn starch were supposed to help to make the cookie bars extra soft and chewy... just the way I like them. Well I was super bummed when I accidentally added the entire extra egg instead of just the additional egg yolk to the dough. DOH! Seriously, don't try to bake in a hurry or when you are distracted... baking is an exact art! I knew my 'cookie bars' were not going to turn out the way Sally had intended, but I decided to bake them anyway and see what happened.


When the pan came out of the oven, my 'ooops' looked pretty good and smelled yummy. So once my version of the 'cookie bars' were cooled, I attempted to use a cookie cutter to cut out heart shapes. NOPE. The extra egg white I added to the dough caused what was supposed to be soft and chewy cookie bars to turn out more like a crumbly, dense cake. Since it still tasted delicious and I hate to waste, I crumbled up the 'cookie bars' into a bowl and added the entire can of vanilla frosting. By mixing the cake-y 'cookie bars' and frosting, shaping them into balls, then rolling them in some festive sprinkles, I created Cake Balls instead!


Turns out these little Cake Balls are AMAZING!!!!!!!! They are the perfect Valentine's Day project to do with the kids or sweet treat to give away to your loved ones.

Cake Balls
adapted from sallysbakingaddiction.com
makes about 24 cake balls

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
Red food coloring
1 can vanilla frosting (I used a pink-colored one)
Sprinkles

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 9x9 square baking pan with aluminum foil, making sure to leave enough overhang on the sides. Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Once the butter is smooth, add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cornstarch. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 different parts. The batter is quite thick. Once combined, add a few drops of red food coloring (the more drops used, the more red the dough will turn out) and mix until the color is distributed evenly throughout the batter.

Press the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 22-24 minutes or until very lightly browned on top. Be careful not to overbake. Allow the pan to cool completely on a wire rack at room temperature.

Remove the cooled cake from the baking pan using the aluminum foil overhang on the sides. Crumble cake into a large bowl and add the can of frosting; mix well until a dough forms. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls, then roll cake balls in sprinkles.

 

Store cake balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days. They are super yummy chilled!


Not every baking experience is a good one... ingredients get left out, mixed up, measured incorrectly, and things get overbaked. It's life! But every baking experience is a learning experience, we don't have to get it right all the time. The great part is that in some instances, you can take a culinary 'ooops' and make something equally as yummy.


This is my pre-Cake Ball 'ooops' in all it's glory! I'm going to try to make the heart-shaped cookie bars again... Stay tuned.

Enjoy!

- Janel

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