Saturday, 6 August 2011

Cake pops and some healthy truffles

The planets aligned a few weeks ago.  I have leftover cake in the freezer, leftover condensed milk and cream cheese in the fridge.  Cake pops ahoy!  I haven't quite understood the cake pops phenomenon on the blogosphere.  They seem fiddly and odd.  Odd because they require cake and who would buy it or make it just to crumble it up.  But if the ingredients present themselves, there is no choice.  And they were very very very good.

I set out with good intentions to cook some healthy food.  I saw some Almond tofu balls  on the Kitchen Maid site.  They intrigued me with the addition of tofu and prunes.  They were easy to make while watching tv (Media Watch was all the more satisfying to watch in the wake of the News of the World phone hacking scandal).  I liked them but I didn't love them.  I wonder if they needed more sweetness.  I skimped on the vanilla and used maple syrup instead of date syrup.  More and bigger chunks of prunes might have helped as Sylvia only ate them when she could find find bits of prunes.

Then I found I had ingredients for cake pops.  I wanted to take some afternoon tea into work.  We had achievements and new roles and crisis.  Cake was needed.  Sylvia and I rolled the balls.  They were awfully sweet.  I had to be very stern to stop her sneaking them into her mouth.  They went into the freezer.  The next day while she slept, I dipped the frozen balls in melted chocolate.  I used some sparkles to decorate.  The chocolate set so smoothly that it hid all the lumps and bumps on the balls.  All I lacked were sticks.  Instead I put them into coloured mini muffin papers.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to make the cake pops.  The recipe that inspired me came from the party idea at Gourmet Getaways.  I really liked the idea of rolling out the dough and cutting it out with cookie cutters but in the end I found it easier to roll the dough into balls.  Mine would have been slightly different to Julie's because I used white chocolate mud cake which is sweeter and denser than madeira cake.  I also used 70% dark chocolate which was the perfect foil for the sweet balls.

The cake pops went down very well at work.  They were easy to transport and share.  No mess.  Everyone loved them.  Well, almost everyone.  I have a few gluten free colleagues so I was glad I had some of the tofu balls to take in for them.  They were pleased to be included.  One brave (or foolhardy) soul tried a tofu ball after the cake pops.  Not recommended.  A couple of people thought the filling tasted like marizpan.  I think it was the slightly grainy texture.  I thought they tasted more like cookie dough.

Someone at work asked if Sylvia ate lots of sugary treats.  Maybe that is understandable, given that the last treat I took into work was the amazingly rich nutella fudge.  I must protest that these cake pops are occasional treats.  Best when there is an occasion for sharing.  And I can forgive Sylvia eating one or two of these when she will cuddle up to me and eat brussels sprouts off my plate.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Honey, Yoghurt and Chocolate Cake
This time two years ago: Mexican Rice Soup
This time three years ago: Do I dare to cook with one less pear?
This time four years ago: Friday Night Tacos

Cake pops
Adapted from Gourmet Getaways
makes about 24

330g white chocolate mud cake
50g cream cheese
1/4 cup condensed milk
185g of 70% dark chocolate
coloured sprinkles

Mix cake to crumbs in food processor (I didn't defrost mine but I chopped it into chunks).  Add cream cheese and condensed milk.  Continue to process until it comes together.  Mine wasn't quite a ball but it was quite clumpy.  Roll into little balls about the size of walnuts.  Freeze balls - I left mine on a tray lightly covered with a plastic bag in the freezer overnight.

Now the fun bit.  Melt chocolate (I do this in the microwave until the chunks are almost melted and then I stir until they melt completely.  Take balls out of the freezer (do not defrost) and toss frozen balls in the melted chocolate, using a couple of forks (or if you have sticks you can freeze them with sticks in the and then just hold the sticks when you dip them in chocolate).  Place balls in mini muffin papers or on a plate/tray lined with baking paper.  Sprinkle with sparkly colours or other decorations.  The bad news is that the chocolate sets really quickly so work fast if you want to decorate.  The good news is that the chocolate sets really smoothly and will cover imperfections in the balls.

Note: it occurs to me that it would be fun to colour the balls - my beetroot powder would be great in these - maybe next time.

Chocolate Tofu Balls
adapted from My Darling Lemon Thyme via Kitchen Maid
Makes about 40

250g medium-firm tofu
1 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
3/4 cup prunes, finely chopped
3 Tbsp cocoa
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp real vanilla extract
1 Tbsp almond butter
extra coconut for rolling

Mash tofu with a fork and mix in remaining ingredients (or you could mix in a food processor).  Roll into balls about the size of a walnut and toss each ball in coconut.  Store in the fridge.

On the stereo:
Gulag Orkestar: Beirut

15 comments:

  1. Aw, I want someone to snuggle up with me and share my brussels sprouts! Probably, at this stage in my life, I'm leaning more towards a man than a toddler, regardless of how adorable Sylvia is :P

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  2. I love these. If you were putting sticks in, I assume it would be before the go in freezer? Lollypop sticks?

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  3. I love the idea of tofu in the chocolate almond balls. I'm intrigued as to how the texture would turn out - creamy? Or just thicker? I might have to try :)

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  4. Oh, the planets were aligned! All those for left overs...lucky thing.
    These look lovely, and I think if Sylvia is willing to eat brussel sprouts she more than warrants a cake pop or two.

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  5. I am TOTALLY going to try both of these...although I promise I won't eat the tofu ball after the cake pop. last time I made cake pops, I mixed the cake with mango curd instead of condensed milk...soo good.

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  6. They look lovely, I too have missed out on the cake pops doing the rounds in the blogosphere, but if you say that they are truly delicious perhaps I'll have to give them a try! I love the way you've decorated them with sparkles, and putting them in cake cases is a great idea too - very pretty!

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  7. I love the tofu balls and if I had any soaked soya beans would go and make some right now.

    I use the wooden coffee stirrers for lollypop sticks. Works a treat!

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  8. Thanks Hannah - I am sure there is a man out there with a plate of brussels sprouts for you

    Thanks Jacqueline - I haven't actually done them with sticks but yes I think you are right on both questions - will let you know if I get the chance to experiment

    Thanks Kari - I mashed my tofu with a fork - it wasn't creamy but it gave a lightness to the balls that I haven't had before in other combinations - would like to try it in the food processor and see how the texture it

    thanks Brydie - I have had the cake in the freezer for months - one of the benefits of cutting out cake shapes as I love to do - wish I could say sylvia always just rushs over to eat vegies rather than needing a prod but at least she does it enough to give me hope - and earn a cake pop

    thanks Joanne - they are very different treats but both have their place - love the idea of trying a fruity binding instead of condensed milk - need to check out more recipes for them

    Thanks C - I am sure you would love them - esp if you have some cake that you are not keen on - it would be a great way to pep it up

    Thanks Helen - am sure the tofu balls would taste great with fresh tofu - will look out for coffee stirrers (are they easy to buy?)

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  9. I have to admit the cake pop phenomenon has passed me by too, but these look lovely and I am sure they were enjoyed by all who sampled them ;0)

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  10. what a lovely gesture to take them into work. I love small treats like this and at least if they're not to someone's taste it's not like a whole slice of cake going to waste after all your hard work.
    They look especially fab coated in chocolate - no wonder they all went :o)

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  11. Hey I'd recommend using the dates I had in my original recipe for tofu bliss balls over the prunes as they are naturally way sweeter ;-)

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  12. Thanks Emma - will try that as I feel with a bit of tweaking this recipe might be a great one for me to have. I liked the idea of prunes because I prefer them to date so maybe a mix would work well.

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  13. Yep maybe... or try using honey in place of the maple? I find it way sweeter.

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  14. Ah, yes, indeed very decadent and indulgent sounding--I can see why your coworker asked the question. But boy, do they look good! I have always wondered the same thing about cake pops--why not such use cookie crumbs, or whatever, why ruin perfectly good cake? But I imagine the concept evolved from too many ruined cakes and nothign to do with them! :)

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  15. Such cute little cake pops! Though I have to admit I think I'd prefer the tofu nuggets. I've been eating too many sweets recently..

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