Monday, April 18, 2011

The Cake Pops That Never Were i.e., Betrayed by Thursday and Friday and OH! a Tornado

The electricity is off right now.  The cell phone, with only three bars of battery, tells me it's 9:23 p.m.  The flashing lights of the big power company trucks rolled by the street-side bedroom window a few moments ago.  I'm writing in longhand by candlelight, guessing at the lines.

Tomorrow our Women In the Church (WIC) is to host the Southern Region Meeting of Grace Presbytery WIC.  It's a full morning of snacking, singing, praying, devotions, fund-raising, accounting of church activities, more singing, more praying, and eating again.  The ladies of our small church have the reputation of being some of the finest cooks in the South.  The visitors will be expecting a fantastic spread.

It's a big to-do, hosting the Regional Meeting.  I've the responsibility of cooking the brisket; slow roasted, fork tender, and most juicy.  I'm making a fabulous dessert 'cause dessert is what I do best, riiiight?  I should have gone for something chocolate.

I was going to make the programs for the meeting Wednesday morning.  I didn't.  Microsoft Office/Word frustrates me to no end!  An hour of copy-paste-undo-edit of tortured existence was spent clackety-clacking on the keyboard of the archaic desk top computer.  I stared morosely at the screen, praying for enlightenment.  Noah came instead, requiring breakfast and other attentions. WOOT woot!  We've been potty training the last two weeks.  I say we:  recognizing his full-bladder body language is just as pertinent to potty training as his own awareness it's full.  It's a team effort.  I was glad to use Noah and the picture perfect weather as an excuse to procrastinate.  He ate, pottied, and we went outside.

This is where the week starts its downward spiral (pffffft!  If you knew the awful pun I'd just made you'd call me up and tell me Mama was right:  she does have four wonderful sons and then that gal).  I wanted to make an edible arrangement.  Nnnnno.  Not one of those pineapple-y, orange-y, melon-y things.  I did one of those only once and am content to let the good folks that enjoy doing that continue to enjoy them without any competition from me.  Ohhh no.  I was going to make these, cake balls (or bonbons) on a stick.  I was going to cut construction paper petals to push up the stick, like I had seen a paper crafter do with the marshmallows, get leather leaf from Wade, and have the cutest awesome-est tastiest dessert ever.  These visiting ladies would remember it and me and the cakery's territory would expand.  It's what I get for thinking big and proud.  I should have known better.

Yesterday it was time to make the cake pops.  I wanted a peanut butter flavor to them so I added a big blop of my favorite generic brand to the pink icing.  Yep.  Pink butter cream icing left over from last week, just the right amount to mix with the also-left-over cake trimmings that had been put in the freezer.  The peanut butter butter cream icing is a nondescript color that doesn't appear in nature but it's ever so tasty and can be piped!

 Do you ever know something isn't going to work but just have to try it anyways?  I don't know why I bothered with the big measuring cup, knowing a larger bowl was required.  That's the start of messing up dishes for the next six hours or so.

This stuff is good!  Every one is going to love them.  I thought I'd use the melon scoop so each cake pop would be exactly the same size.  I'd still be scooping if I continued to use it.  It was abandoned after a dozen scoops.  Four minutes into the project and that's kitchen item number two used briefly and now occupying space in the dirty-dish side of the sink. 

All rolled out and thoroughly chilled, it was time to afix the lollipop sticks to the cake balls -- except there aren't any more lollipop sticks.  Not a problem;  I've plenty of bamboo skewers.  I can envision the arrangement - SO stinking cute!  Two small measuring cups later (one for the almond bark, one for the chocolate) the cake balls with bamboo skewers rigidly upright are back in the refrigerator chilling again.

If I'd served them uncoated with the petals and everything I wonder if the visiting PresWIC ladies would have know they were supposed to be any other way?  I didn't think to think like that, proceeding through actions that only frustrated more and more with each hour. 

The cake pops weren't meant to be.  As I tried to dip them in the melted almond bark, the skewers would either come completely out or would punch through the top.  I carefully rewarmed the almond bark with a bit of shortening to thin it out and that didn't work either.  Worse!!  I got distracted with two squares of the stuff in the microwave and did my own Chickasawhay River design in scorched-bark-medium inspired by McCarty's Pottery.   Another dirty dish.

Putting the almond bark in the squeeze bottle to get it on the cake pops was a two-part bad idea.  The first part of bad was thinking I could melt the bark in the bottle and stir it smooth.  The second part was thinking I could somehow get it to the underside of the cake pop where the skewer was attached without the cake ball falling off.  I reiterate:  two-part bad idea.  Now there's the cutting board, a knife, and a squeeze bottle dirty.  And half of the almond bark mostly on the counter and the floor, but not on the cake balls.

I decided to abandon the idea of cake pops and just make awesome cake balls.  I had plenty of pretty and petite paper muffin cups.  I could dip them in icing, drizzle with the last of the almond bark, sprinkle a few with pecans and the ladies would still ooh and ahhh.

A handful of times, I've warmed icing to make a drizzling/dipping medium.  I had plenty of other pink icings in the refrigerator left over from last week.  It's a ladies' meeting and ladies like pink.  I could use some of that!  Exasperation does bad things to your thought processes, like not allowing logic or something.  I didn't think to see which icings were what and pulled out cream cheese icing.  "Oh," I hear your thoughts, "why would that make any difference?"  I wouldn't have though it would have either but  I was beyond irritated and unable to think.  All that fat in the peanut butter butter cream filling caused all that fat in the very warm cream cheese icing to just roll on off.  Rechilling didn't help.   I was NOT dipping the cake balls in pink icing.

Trying to get to some point of accomplishment for the entire morning gone heading into the afternoon, I melted  the chocolate bark and dipped half the cake balls without incident, even managing to get on the sprinkles of toasted pecans or peanuts.

Forget the oohs and ahhs, remembered good impressions, and expanded cakery territory.   I want this OVER with.  The last two squares of almond bark are attended more carefully in their melting process than England's new princess-to-be.  The ugly things are dipped, their warped-by-now shape shoddily camouflaged with pecans and/or peanuts that were not originally planned for them.  They're done.  Ugly mistakes are 'disappeared' around here, the horrid ugly ones consumed by the children, parents, myself and the dog - a scant two dozen of them going for the ladies' meeting.

Friday I worked the entire morning on the meeting's program, managing to figure out all that was necessary with the word processing program.  MS Help really isn't any help at all when you're Microsoft Office Challenged.  Some marvelous kids' blog was more helpful than all the techno-babble from any hundred sites viewed trying to make the template for the program.  You could tell from his language that he was a youngster or maybe he's a counselor for the word-processing-programs disadvantaged folks like me.  Bless his heart, I understood him perfectly. The program was assembled, printed and copied.  I dropped those off at the church and did some last minute decorating, making it home around 6:30 this evening. 

The tornado siren has been sounding every few minutes the entire afternoon.  I don't pay it a lot of attention.  The wind picked up.  The neighbor called.  We were on the phone when the tornado came tearing through this small community in the very Deep South of Mississippi.  I watched its dark form occupy the view for several seconds out the parlor window.  There will be no Grace PresWIC Regional Meeting here tomorrow.  The cake balls very suddenly and forcibly have been put in their inconsequential place in the Big Scheme of Things.  But that's another story...



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