Cake pops are everywhere these days - you know, balls of cake mixed with frosting which are covered in candy coating. These are a little different - they are balls of pure fudgy brownie - no icing mixed in - then coated with candy coating. I think they are a step up from cake pops in their texture and taste - which is to say that they are amazing.
In a rare, full-on, multiple-photo Marzipan tutorial, here's how to make them...
8x8 cake pan
small cookie scoop
2 bags of candy melts (you may not use them all)
cello bags - optional
curling ribbon - optional
styrofoam for drying the pops - any scrap piece which is big enough to hold 30 pops will do
First, you make a batch of fudgy brownies such as this recipe. I got about 30 brownie balls from one batch of brownies. I haven't tried it, but you could probably use a boxed brownie mix if you like, as long as the brownies are moist and will hold together when shaped into a ball. If the mix has chocolate chips mixed into the batter, you may have a harder time rolling them into nice round balls. A cakey brownie would probably not work here unless you mix in some kind of binder like icing. The goal is to have your brownies just slightly undercooked so they hold together when shaped.
After the brownies have cooled completely, pull them out of the pan using the overhang of parchment or foil which you used to line the pan, and transfer the block of brownie to a cutting board.
Cut the outside edges off the brownie as this part would be too crispy and get in the way of your ball-rolling. Nibble on the brownie edges while you work.
Crumble the remaining brownie into pieces into a bowl and mush the pieces together a little.
Using a small cookie scoop, portion out the brownie balls and then roll the balls in your hands to make them round and smooth. Set the brownie balls on a cookie sheet and then place the cookie sheet into the refrigerator (or freezer if you will not be coating them within a few hours), covered with plastic wrap, until ready to coat and decorate. I made some square just to experiment with an idea I had.
Pull the brownies out of the freezer, if frozen, a let them warm up slightly while you prepare the candy melts. They should still be cold and firm when you begin to work with them, but if they are too cold, you may have a hard time inserting the lollipop stick. If using refrigerated pops, use them directly from the refrigerator.
In a microwave safe bowl, heat about 1/2 a bag of candy melts 30 seconds, then stir. Heat in additional 15 second intervals, stirring between, until completely melted. Over-heating the candy melts will cause the mixture to seize up and render it unusable. Throughout this process, you may need to reheat the candy melts if they start to cool and thicken. In this case, add a few more candy melts to the bowl and reheat at 15 second intervals as before.
And insert the stick into the pre-made hole. The candy will be the glue, making sure the stick won't move as you are coating and decorating the brownie.
Set the brownies aside to hardened the "glue". I placed the round ones on their sides with the stick resting on the side of the sheet pan. You could place these in the fridge or freezer to speed up the hardening process, especially if your kitchen is warm. I wash my hands at this point because, in the next step, the hand that was handling the brownies will be holding the lollipop stick and keeping the lollipop stick clean and white is a good thing.
There are different ways to coat a cake ball. If your melted candy is deep enough, you can dip the entire pop into the candy, give it a gently swirl and pull it out, or you can hold the brownie over the bowl of melted candy at an angle as shown in the blurry picture below. Spoon the candy melts over the brownie, turning the brownie as you go, until all sides and top are covered. Holding it at an angle causes the excess coating to cover the top of the brownie.
Gently shake off the excess, while constantly turning the brownie pop, until there is no more candy dripping from the brownie. If you want the pop to be completely covered with decoration at this point (see first photo), spoon your sanding sugar, sprinkles, jimmies, finely shredded unsweetened coconut (my favorite) , or whatever, over the pop now. Otherwise, set them aside to dry plain.
To make striped brownie balls, once the first coating is dry, and making sure the candy melts are liquid enough, splatter candy melts over the coated brownie, turning the brownie pop as you splatter. Let the excess drip off, then spoon over the sprinkles. The sprinkles will stick anywhere that the candy is still wet. My candy melts for the second batch were a little "gloppy" and didn't stream off the spoon as easily as the first time I made these. I can't explain it.
Once completely dry, slip the brownie into a plastic candy bag and tie a ribbon around the bottom. A 3" x 5" flat cello bag is the perfect size for these.
Classic Unsweetened-Chocolate Brownies
adapted from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich
Makes about 30 brownie pops
Note: You may double this recipe and use a 9x13 pan.
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped8 tablespoons (1 stick or 1/4 pound) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional - I omitted)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray an 8x8 pan with spray oil.
Place the chocolate and butter in a medium to large heat-proof bowl (big enough that you are able to add all of the ingredients to this bowl) over a pan of simmering water (a double boiler). Stir frequently until the chocolate and butter are melted and the mixture is hot to the touch.
Remove the bowl from the double boiler and stir in the sugar, vanilla, and salt with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring until the first one is incorporated before adding the next. Fold in the flour only until you can longer see traces of flour. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth to even it.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the brownies just begin to pull away from the side of the pan. A toothpick inserted should come out with a few moist crumbs. Allow the brownies to cool completely, then follow the instructions above for shaping and dipping.