Babycakes Cake Pop Maker

I admit it, I can’t resist a new kitchen gadget.  Last week I had the happy fortune of discovering The Babycakes brand Cake Pop Maker. I was in Kohl’s (one my favorite places) and in the Housewares section they had unveiled a display of all new fun cooking machines. I was carrying with me a coveted 30% off coupon so was quite excited. In addition to this machine they  had also displayed other Babycakes items:  a mini Donut maker, a Whoopie Pie Maker, and a Cupcake maker. On the other side of the display they also had a retro Cotton Candy maker and a Snow Cone machine, from a different manufacturer.

I picked up the Cake Pop Maker and knew this was the one for me. Think of it like a Foreman Grill but with half circle indentations on the top and bottom that cook doughnut holes, or what they like to call Cake Pops, in 4-6 minutes. As if that wasn’t draw enough, it also comes with a special fork to remove the treats, a bag of lollipop sticks and a holder to cool the pops. An injector for jelly or filling was also in the book as well as a book of recipes.

I held the Maker for awhile then realized if I just waited one more day I could also use my Kohl’s Cash ($10) so I could get this regularly marked item of $29.99 for about $4.00 (after 30% and my $10 coupon). I put it back.

Sadly, the next day I went back to Kohl’s and they had none left. Nor did the other four locations I tried. I looked online and Kohl’s only offers the other machines. Undaunted, I went back two days later and figured I’d settle for the mini Donut machine. But as luck would have it, that particular Kohl’s had a floor model which they agreed to sell me after I begged.

Friday night, I decided to make the chocolate Cake Pops. I followed the recipe which had all the standard ingredients people would have in a home: oil, eggs, sugar, flour, baking soda and powder, plus buttermilk. The recipe indicated that if I didn’t have buttermilk I could have just used real milk and vinegar but I opted for the real buttermilk, albeit fat free. I had hoped there would be an option to use a box cake mix but there wasn’t.

I mixed up the ingredients, sprayed the inside of the machine with cooking spray and plugged it in. In a few minutes the green light came on. I poured in a little less than a tablespoon of batter into each hole then closed the lid. Sure enough, 6 minutes later, the pops were done (they look like Munchkins) and were easy to retrieve from the Maker.

I cooled them in the holder that resembled a plastic egg carton. About a half hour later I put a half bag of chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds with a little butter. I then added some milk since it was too thick.

I stuck a lollipop stick in one and then dipped it into the chocolate mix until it was coated. I then dried it on the same plastic egg container tray, which has holes for just that purpose.

I immediately sprinkled them with jimmies.

Once they cooled in the fridge, I tried one (okay I ate one hot and melty too) and they were delicious, and FUN.

I saved some that I didn’t coat in chocolate and tried the injector which was like a big gauge syringe. I filled it with caramel and …FAIL. It oozed all over the cake pop. I next dug a whole with a skewer but it was still a sticky mess.

So while the injector really didn’t work, the machine is an awful lot of fun and if you can get your hands on one of these machines I highly recommend it. I discovered since I bought the machine that Starbucks now offers these treats individually for sale. All the more reason to get one of these machines, I say.

I picked up some candy melts to coat the next batch and plan to make the Vanilla next time.

Tracy L. Carbone is a New England fiction writer. Please visit her WEBSITE to learn move about her cooking tips and writing life.

Bread and Butter Pickle Recipe

Shifting away from my usual “take on writing and life” blog I wanted to share a great recipe and step by step instructions for Bread and Butter Pickles. A couple of years ago I was at a country festival and saw a woman selling jars of homemade Bread and Butter pickles at $8 a jar. I asked her how hard they were to make and she assured me they’re quite easy. I’ve tried a few times and she was right. I got a new recipe this week from the Blue Book Guide to Preserving. This is Edition 32. I’m also adding in tips I’ve learned along the way and made some minor modifications. This blog entry is more hands on for newbies than conventional cookbooks.

First, buy 4 lbs pickling cucumbers. These are the stubby ugly cukes not the shiny salad ones. Choose ones with bumps. They’ll make for a better crunch. Buy a bag of onions as well.

Clean and cut the end off the cukes then slice them into 1/4 inch pieces. I use a mandolin to make ridges but it’s not necessary. Next, cut 8 small (I used 5 medium) onions into thin slices. Combine the onions and cuke slices with 1/3 cup pickling salt. I used Kosher salt. I’m not sure what the difference is but mine works fine and you can buy it anywhere. Set them in a bowl and cover with ice then with a towel. Weigh it down with something heavy. I use my flour canister. Leave for 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill your canning pot (huge pan made for canning) with enough water to cover the jars and place a lid on top.  

At the 90 minute mark (time for the salt to draw liquid from cucumber mix), turn the stove on high and let the water in the canner start to boil. It takes a long time.

Thoroughly rinse all the salt off the onion, cucumber mixture. Drain and rinse and drain again. This is very IMPORTANT. My batch a few months ago was ruined because there was too much salt left on the veggies.

Clean your jars with hot sudsy water  (even if they’re new) and set aside. Place your caps in a pan of water to boil  and then simmer them. These need to stay bacteria-free so leave them in the hot water till the last second. Place your bands next to the jars. Get out your ladle and large mouth funnel and set those aside for later. If you can’t find a special funnel, cut the bottom off a paper cup. It’s messy but it works fine.

Next, in a large saucepan add all the below ingredients together. Once added, bring them to a boil stirring occasionally.

2 cups sugar, 2 tbls mustard seed, 2 tsps tumeric, 2 tsps celery seed, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp peppercorns, 3 cups white vinegar. (I’ve used apple vinegar as well)

Once boiled, fold in the onion/cuke mixture. You’ll notice as the water returns to a boil, the cucumbers will turn from dark green to faded pickle green.

When you’re at a good boil again, shut off the stove and start ladling the mixture into jars. I used quart jars but the next size down would be fine. Leave 1/4 inch headspace and add liquid with the solids. Adjust two-piece caps. Don’t overtighten. Add the jars to the now-boiling water canner. Wait for the water to boil again (shouldn’t take more than a minute or two) then process (meaning, sit and wait) for 10 minutes. The jar lids will pop noisily. This is normal.

After 10 minutes (don’t cook too long) remove from heat. With tongs, take the jars out and set on a towel on the counter. Don’t touch them for 24 hours. The book says it takes 4-6 weeks for the flavor to fully develop but I always open one as soon as the 24 hours is up to try them.

I hope you enjoy your canning experience. Let me know how it works for you.


Tracy L. Carbone ,  is the author of The Man of Mystery Hill, published by Echelon Press. Buy Now as an eBook on Kindle . The print version will be released August 15th, 2010, and can be pre-ordered now.

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