Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Looky looky, at these cookies!

     With Jen and Jason's baby shower fast approaching, I decided to get a head start on one of the things I'll be bringing...these cute, baby-themed dipped Oreos! Dipped Oreos are a really easy way to add some personality to any event (there are a zillion different molds to choose from online -- have a look at some of these!), and they can be made well ahead of time and kept in the fridge, which cuts down on stress the day of your event.

     I plan on making some pink ones, too, but as I write this, the last of the blue ones are chilling in the mold in the freezer, so I haven't started those yet. Consider this a sneak peek, since I'll surely have lots of photos to share after the shower.

     To make your own, here's what you'll need: 

     Oreos (Double-Stuf only, regular need not apply, thank you kindly), colored candy melts, white chocolate bark, your mold, and cake decorator's brushes.

     First thing's first: melt up some of your colored candy melts. I do this in the microwave because ain't nobody got time for a double boiler. Just set the microwave to half power and heat the melts in intervals of 15 seconds or so at a time, stirring after each interval. You want to go slow with this because if the candy melts burn you'll end up with weird crispy bits. Then use a brush to paint the portion of the mold that you want colored in (the feet, in my case) with the candy. 

     Pop the mold into the freezer for a few minutes to solidify while you melt up the white chocolate using the same method described above. If the bark you're using comes in big chunks like mine did, I recommend chopping it into smaller pieces first; it helps everything melt more evenly with less chance of burning. When it's melted but not too hot, fill the mold about a third of the way (you don't want to re-melt the colored portion, which would cause color bleeding -- if you have a candy thermometer on hand, aim for less than 120 degrees; if not, just wait a minute before you pour the white chocolate). Then grab an Oreo and press it down into the mold so that the chocolate squishes up around the sides and covers them. Spoon a bit more white chocolate on top to cover, then smooth it all out. It helps if you gently tap the whole mold on the counter-top to level it out.

     Then stick the whole shebang in the freezer for AT LEAST 10 minutes to harden. I've been aiming for about 20 minutes, since you really want to make sure the coating has thoroughly hardened before you try to pop them out of the mold. If the chocolate is still gooey, you'll make a big mess and be forced to eat the ugly cookie (life's tough sometimes).

     When they've had a chance to fully solidify, turn the mold upside down over a cutting board, plate, counter-top -- basically any surface that isn't your floor -- and press gently on the center of each cookie mold until the Oreos pop right out. Then admire them in all their splendor!

Yup, you're not crazy, this is the exact same picture as at the top of the post. I just think they're purdy.

     Now for a couple of tips before I go!

1.  If you're having a hard time getting them out of the mold, a couple things could be going on:
     -You may just need to put them back in the freezer a little longer. If the white chocolate isn't fully cooled and hardened, it won't come out of the mold. If you give it enough chill-time, the cookies should just fall right out of the mold with very little convincing. If they're still stuck...
     -You may have overheated the chocolate. Melting chocolate is one of those things that just likes to go wrong sometimes. If you overheat it even just a smidge, it'll go all sticky and uncooperative. The bright side is that it's still good if you scoop it up with pretzel sticks, so it's not a lost cause. The down side is that you can't use it in molds then. But if you work in small batches and pay attention to your chocolate while it's melting, you'll quickly get the hang of the timing and minimize your losses.

2.  If you get them out of the mold and find part of your design left behind, you can either try to freehand the missing part of the design on with your colored candy melts, or get the missing piece out of the mold intact and use some melted chocolate to glue it into place. A little cooling time and it's like it never happened!

3.  If you find that your chocolate/candy is cooling too much while you're trying to work with it, sit the bowl or cup on something warm to keep it fluid. I used a little bag of dried corn that can be heated or cooled (it's meant for putting on your back or neck when you're achey, but it worked perfectly for this too!), but you can simply warm up a damp washcloth for the same purpose. 

     Alright, I'm out of helpful hints. Time to go make the pink cookies! 

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