Monday, June 21, 2010

Make: Brownie Pops

As promised, here's an update about the brownie pops I made yesterday. Obviously, these are not Halloween-y, but it would be very easy to make the simple adorned version Halloween themed, with candy melts & sprinkles in the right colors.

  • 8-cavity Brownie Pop mold. I used 50%-off coupons at Michaels to get two of them for the price of one (2 visits). The family-size mix makes almost 2 dozen pops, so two molds makes it go a little faster.
  • Brownie batter (Using a mix, I followed the directions for "cake-like" brownies because I read somewhere that they might be better for the pops. I'm not convinced (more on that later).)
  • Non-stick spray. Essential.
  • Lollipop sticks. Buy more than you think you need. Including goofs, I used more than 50 for 2 mixes.
  • Candy melts. If you want to have the sticks coming out the small end, like most of the online images show, get "chocolate" to help hold the sticks in place. I didn't have great luck with that, but all I had was white and held back. Ignore the frosting. I had this idea that warmed frosting (thins it out) would work. Not so much. It does okay for some other treats, and in other seasons, but you really want the candy melts.
  • Sprinkles. Your choice,
  • A method to melt the candy and keep it liquid for dipping. My "double boiler" is a small pan, with some water in the bottom (keep an eye on that), a stainless steel bowl nestled well inside (above the water), and a small paper bowl inside that (easier clean-up).
  • Treat bags and something to tie.
  • Something to stick the pops in while the candy dries. I used a slab of foam, covered with foil.
The jury is still out for me. The cutest pops (seen online) require that you bake the brownies and let them cool, then insert the stick with some candy melted on the end to keep it in place. I didn't have great luck with that, and only had the white candy, so it looked odd. Maybe I didn't use enough because of that? For me, the best way was to follow the package direction: bake for about 15 minutes, insert the sticks and bake for another 10 minutes or so. (I also realized I might never have enough patience to make the little ghosts and people were just going to eat them anyway!)

Ignore that little rim inside the mold cavity, if you think it's a fill line. It's really, really not. You want to stop adding batter when there's about as much space below the line as there is above it. Unless the fact that I added an extra egg for "cake-like brownies" made it puff up that much. It seemed impossible to keep the brownies from puffing up a lot near the end and shifting in the pan (way-crooked sticks!). Next time, I'll skip the extra egg and see if that helps. Note: if you want to use a stick in the small end, you CANNOT trim the wider end so it looks more even. You need that crust to stop the stick from poking through.

Let the pops cool completely before you start to decorate, especially if you're going to use a foam block to have the pops stand up while they set. (Lesson learned: let the pops cool while lying flat. Gravity will pull the brownie down the stick if it's still warm and extra moist inside.)

Someday, I'm going to get one of those special candy melt pots and will be able to dip the entire pop. But my current method, mentioned above, really only let me get a bit of the pop coated, which still looks pretty fun. I left a few undecorated, and about as many with just the candy and no sprinkles, and dipped the rest in colorful or chocolate sprinkles.

Once the candy is set (may require some refrigeration), you can wrap each with a treat bag (lollipop size) and tie it shut. The event these are for isn't for a couple of days, but I took the rejects to work today (the ones with the frosting) and they were a pretty big hit.

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