Monday, February 2, 2015

A Formation so Tasty, It Should Be Illegal. But Let's Be Thankful It's Not.

Like most red-blooded Americans, I'm going to be spending the day swigging Pepto like water after deciding that eating like a 16-year-old boy was a really good idea for the cheat day of all cheat days- Super Bowl Sunday. I've also spent most of the day wondering if I screwed up as colossally badly as Pete Carroll and Seattle's offensive coach did whether I'd still get to keep my job or not (short answer: No.). At least the game went down to the wire, because the commercials certainly weren't all that entertaining. Especially the "I See Dead People" accident-prone child ghost commercial from Nationwide. This left the people at our viewing party all collectively asking what in the actual hell we just witnessed. Super Bowl commercials are supposed to be fun and uplifting, not 30-second spots that try to leave you in an existential crisis. I'm hoping next year everyone leaves the "I'm not crying, I just have something in my eye" ads to those who do it best- the adorable puppies and Clydesdales of Anheuser-Busch.

I also can't possibly be the only person who noticed that at one point during the half-time show, Katy Perry was dressed exactly like Chazz Michael Michaels in Blades of Glory, and I think we can all agree Missy Elliot should've performed the whole damn show. I'm hoping that both she and Dr. Dre release new albums this year, especially since I'm starting to worry people actually have forgotten about Dre at this point. While there were some gems amongst plays (Jermaine Kearse!!) and commercials (Liam Neeson and Bryan Cranston, anyone?!),  the stars of the Super Bowl at our party were these adorable little football cake balls...
Based on my collage color scheme, I bet you can realize what team I wasn't rooting for to win...
The footballs in our house may not be under inflated, but they are most definitely full of cake and won the party. Some guests had thirds and fourths of these little babies (and by guests I really do mean other people and not just me). I had an absolute blast making these...way easier than cake pops for sure. I learned a few new techniques in my research that made the process of dipping about one thousand times more streamlined, so let me regale you with my underdog tale ending in a heartwarming victory, or something like that.
No crazy ingredients required!
If you want to make edible footballs or basketballs, I think it only fitting for them to be made of chocolate cake on the inside. Leave the vanilla for baseballs (as it is the most vanilla of all our sports, not just because the ball is white). So grab your favorite chocolate cake mix and a tub of chocolate frosting. You will also need two bags of dark or milk chocolate melts for the football coating, and a bag of white mint melts for the laces. I live for dark chocolate- it is the most underrated of the chocolates, and this speaks to me on many levels. Black jelly beans are also my favorite of the jelly bean family for similar reasons. I will take your rejects, your losers. They have a home here in mah belly. My taste buds do not discriminate! ...I have a feeling being raised a Minnesota Vikings fan has affected my life in more ways than meets the eye.

Bake your box cake, but use the substitutions I've been preaching for almost a year- add an extra egg, sub milk for the water, and use butter instead of oil and double the amount. If you haven't started doing this by now, I realize you're only reading this blog because I'm undeniably hilarious or you're off sweets and just come here to look at pictures of cake and remember what once was. Anyway, let the cake cool completely (I threw mine in the fridge for 30), and then crumble into tiny little pieces. If you have a food processor, feel free to use that. I crumble by hand because then pieces can somehow make their way into my mouth. Magically.
Hello chocolate my old friend.
Once you've crumbled the cake, mix in the can of frosting. You will have to do this by hand, but when everything has been nicely folded together, you then have hands covered in chocolate, and this is what I like to call a win/win situation. Even Pete Carroll could see the beauty of this play- simple and perfect in execution.
This is a horrible photo. If anything, it may turn you off chocolate cake. I'm including it for those who've gone off sugar to jolt them back to reality and keep fighting the good, low-cal fight.
Get a cookie scoop handy at this point, and two baking trays lined with Parchment paper. Scoop a ball of cake out, and then plop it into your hands. I really hope you washed after licking your fingers clean earlier, as this is not an appropriate time to use licking as a strategy to claim things as your own. Save it for ice cream. In order to form footballs, after rounding out the cake balls, I cupped my hands and smooshed the balls down to form an oval shape, and used my fingers to pinch the corners.
It took me a few tries, but by the third football, I was tossing these bad boys out like a Manning: Cautiously and with a silly-looking concentration face.
This will make 33 footballs. At this point, they could be mistaken for charcoal brickettes.
Once done forming all your footballs, place in the fridge for an hour or freezer for 30 minutes. You want these to be nice and solidly cooled before you dip into melted chocolate, or your footballs really will look like the balls from Deflate Gate 2015. When the balls are almost done cooling, melt your chocolate melts using the directions on the package (I used one bag at a time, but did use both bags). Melt in a Tupperware that is nice and deep if you're going the microwave route. I do not have a double boiler, so this is how I do things. Now, have a stack of paper towels, a large spoon, a large fork, and some toothpicks handy, cause things are about to get tasty.
Start by remembering to rotate your photos for your blog, and plop one football into the melted chocolate. Use your spoon to drop chocolate on top of the football.
Then scoop the ball out with your fork. Instead of tapping your fork to get the excess chocolate off- use your free hand to tap the wrist holding the fork about four times. This is a GENIUS move. The football won't get tossed off the fork this way, and the chocolate gets evenly distributed. This is how I will do all cake balls and cake pops from here on out. Makes a huge difference. No dropping the pop back into the chocolate or uneven weirdness. I have enough uneven weirdness in my daily life, thank you.
Once you've tapped your wrist about four times, wipe the fork on the edge of the Tupperware, and tap your wrist again another four or so times. Finish up with another wipe of the fork. Now, place the fork down on your Parchment-lined trays, and use the toothpick to lightly swipe the football off the fork. If it becomes difficult to swipe the football off, reheat the chocolate for 30 seconds on 50 percent power.
 This is another genius play call. A Hail Mary pass that works every long as you remember to wipe your fork off on the paper towel between each football, and your toothpick as well. Once you've dipped, dunked, tapped, and swiped all your footballs, let the chocolate harden for about 10-15 minutes. 

While they are firming up, melt the mint chocolate melts according to package directions. Since this is only my third foray into the cake ball/pop world, I am still trying to find my golden window of opportunity when it comes to piping with melted chocolate in the too melty-too solidified spectrum. I had excellent luck this time putting my white mint melts into the fridge for 3 minutes after melting, and then putting into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton #2 tip. I was able to get the laces on half of my footballs before the chocolate got too hard and I had to remove the tip and nuke for 5 seconds at 50 percent power. The laces are simple- draw a horizontal line down the football, and then come back in and pipe three little vertical lines on top of the long line. The white mint laces add just a subtle hint of amazingness to the dark chocolate in what is one of the best flavor combos in the known universe. Verifiable truth.
It's a football field! GET IT?!!
Let the laces dry for about 10-15 minutes and then you can plate these however you like! Put them back in the fridge until you're ready to serve. You can play your very own football game with these little tasty nuggets. Everyone's mouth is the winner! Just don't engage in unsportsmanlike conduct and try to intercept one of these from someone else's mouth. There's plenty to go around. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go troll the IMDB message board for The Interview to see if anyone else was secretly hoping James Franco was going to join Katy Perry in singing "Firework" during the half-time show. Oh the's to hoping next year I get to make a Skol Vikings Super Bowl cake. If you're gonna dream, dream impossibly! 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!

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