While baking isn’t my cooking genre of choice usually, I do occasionally feel the urge to preheat the oven and bust out the mixer. I’m constantly impressed with the beautiful cakes and confections that are being made by people who do
love baking though, and have bookmarked a few of them on my favorite sites to try someday when I have hours of time stretching ahead of me with nothing else to do…..yeah, like that’s ever going to happen!! Meanwhile, sometimes an occasion (especially at this time of year) calls for a pretty, sweet bite and you just don’t have time to devote hours to making them from scratch but you hate to be a complete failure and just buy something outright. That’s where these little cuties come in! This isn’t so much a recipe, as I didn’t really cook anything but the chocolate ganache which takes 3 minutes or less in the microwave. Get the recipe here
So here’s what I did. I prebought sliced loaves of pound cake and marble cake for $1.99 each. I trimmed the edges and cut some into squares and some into rounds–if you have fun cookie cutters you can do an assortment of shapes. You can also quickly dip some in espresso (I did, it was awesome!) or flavored syrups or liquors. Place the bite sized pieces on wire racks with a sheet pan underneath and pour the slightly cooled ganache over them so that they are covered in the chocolate. Allow to cool. You can do this step twice if you want a thicker coating. Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect, that’s the beauty of this technique. Now the prettiest ones you can decorate more minimally with a variety of sprinkles, icing or cocoa dusted over stencils if you have them. If some of them came out lumpy or imperfect, the best way to hide that is to roll them in chopped nuts and sprinkle the top with cocoa powder. You can also roll them in sprinkles or shots. A word about decorating
shots. You could
pay $6 for a little jar of some pretty specialty sprinkles at the higher end cooking shops, or you could go to TJmaxx or Marshalls and shop the gourmet food section where I found some cute ones for a kid’s party we were having for about $2 per jar. But the best deal ever is at your local grocery store with an in-house bakery. They buy in bulk, usually have a lot of choices (especially seasonal varieties you won’t find in the stores) and will sell them to you CHEAP if you ask nicely. I purchased a 3/4lb tub of these leaf shaped sprinkles for $2.99 at the local Stop & Shop here in CT. So if you do bake a lot–check out your local bake shop and if you see something you like on one of their cakes or cupcakes, ask what they’d charge to sell you some. You can also sometimes get them to sell you colored icing or chocolate for the ganache much cheaper than buying it in the aisles which is convenient if you are making a lot for a party or event.
Again, the key to these isn’t perfection–I took a little more time with the leaf ones for the sake of the photos but a bunch of them I just tossed some of these sprinkles or chopped nuts on and they were pretty (especially grouped together on a platter) and tasted great. The best part? If asked “Oh cute, did you make these?” I can say “yes” without feeling guilty about it! Of course now YOU all know the truth….but that stays just between us, ok? ;)