Andes Mint Cake Balls

This week's Block Day Bake-off offerings were both chocolate, much as I hated doing that to the student who dislikes it.

I'd seen several "Cherry Coke Float" Cupcakes on Pinterest, so I put it on the ballot as a choice. And the kids picked it, along with Andes Mint. 

I have to be honest. The Coke Float isn't great. I tried multiple recipes. At last I substituted a coke-and-cherry-juice syrup for coke/cherry juice, trying to amp up the Coke flavor. Meh.

Thank heavens...a little more than half of the kids quite liked the Cherry Coke Float. 

Here they are, all packed up late the night
before, ready to be carried to school.
(Sorry for the dark picture!)
It's not terrible, mind you, but that name gives you...expectations.

Called a "moist cherry-filled chocolate cake ball" it might be fine, but as a representative of a cherry Coke float in solid form, it's nothing special.

And it's my personal philosophy that life's too short (and calories too few) for "nothing special." I can't see making them again, unless by special request.

But the Andes Mint is 

If I were a leprechaun who didn't already need to
 reduce her waistline, I might be willing to settle for a
pot full of these at the end of the rainbow.

If I were a leprechaun who didn't need to watch her waistline, I might be willing to settle for a pot full of these at the end of the rainbow.
Nearly every taste tester seemed to feel pretty much the same way about  the minty cream center and the crunchy bits and the moist chocolate...even the ones who wrote "I don't even like mint" right there on the ballot!

Happy bonus: It was simple!  (Yay!) So simple that there's no recipe today, just links and details...

For the Cake Balls:
I used Your Cup of Cake's Andes Mint Cupcake (minus the cream cheese icing and the chocolate filling), baked in a 9 x 13 pan as directed on the cake mix box, then tested it until it tested done--about 35 minutes.   It made about 100 cake balls, using my 1/2-tablespoon measuring spoon to make the balls.

For the Binder/Filling:
1/4 stick butter, very soft
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 t peppermint extract
3-4 drops green food coloring

  • Beat the butter, add  2 cups of the powdered sugar and the extract and coloring.  
  • Scoop out about half of the mixture into another bowl to use as a binder for the cake crumbs. (You might not need that much, so don't add it to the crumbs all at once! It's a very moist cake.)
  • Add the rest of the powdered sugar to the part you left in the mixing bowl. Beat until smooth.  It will be STIFF, so don't worry. (You just made buttermints. Hooray!)
  • Scoop by 1/2 teaspoonfuls into a small shallow bowl of powdered sugar. 
  • Roll into little balls and freeze until you're ready to use to stuff the cake balls.

For Crunch Factor:

And additional mintiness, after I rolled and stuffed the cake balls with the mint center, I tucked 5 or 6 pieces from a bag of Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips into each ball before popping them into the fridge to set.  

The little toppers are green Wilton candy melts, with about 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract added before I put it in the microwave as an experiment. It worked! I used a t-tiny Wilton squeeze bottle to trace clovers I'd found online through wax paper. And yes, there was a learning curve, for sure...
See the blackline three-leaf on the left edge of the paper? 
That one worked best, maybe because it's basically three hearts.

With St. Patrick's so close and with me lovin' clovers and all, I just had to try to make some.
I have to apologize to the seniors on Wednesday though because I did send theirs topped with the creme de menthe pieces.  I just didn't have time to experiment for the first batch! Luckily,  I don't think they minded. I've been going for taste anyway, and "cute" is just happy lagniappe.

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