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Monday, December 6, 2010

Gingerbread Truffles (Gingerbread Cake Balls)

Because I'm on a roll, here's one more posting that is a cake ball variation. These are gingerbread cake balls, and I've been dying to try them ever since last year. 'Tis finally the season, so here they are, in an abbreviated posting, because I'm sure everyone is familiar with the basics of cake balls by now.

You start with gingerbread. From scratch if you'd like, but it really defeats the purpose of making an easy treat. I used 2 of these guys:

They are 14 oz each, a little more than the average cake mix when put together, so they need a little extra time baking. Combine the 2 mixes plus the ingredients specified on the box, and bake in a 9"x13" pan at 350F for about 45 minutes.

Once the cake is done and cooled (same day, next day, whenever), mash it up with a tub of vanilla icing. When it is well-combined, use the #60 scoop to scoop it into balls. Chill these for at least a half hour, if not a full hour.

Now comes the dipping. I'd recommend a variation on vanilla candy melts (the white and colored Wilton melts are all vanilla). Choose your color and one or two contrasting colors if you wish. Melt the main color, thin it with some vegetable shortening, and dip the balls. Wait for this to harden before you drizzle on one or two accent colors. For these, as you can see, I went with white for the main color, with red and green accents.

All in all, I am very pleased with the way these gingerbread truffles turned out. The spicy gingerbread flavor really comes through, they just taste like little bites of Christmas. Plus, not only does the recipe yield over 5 dozen, but they will be okay in the freezer for at least a month, and when they defrost, they don't have to be refrigerated.

If you like gingerbread at this time of year, I highly recommend these truffles, they'll go a lot further than a loaf of gingerbread!


Anonymous said...

I love the coconut truffles the best but they are all yummy--

Joseph said...

Meredith, your stuff is great.

Danielle said...

I've made cake balls before, but only red velvet ones. These would be perfect for a Christmas party!

Christine said...

Thanks! This was EXACTLY what I was looking for.

Anonymous said...

WHen you say a tub of vanilla icing how much is that exactly? It seems like you'd need more than a standard size frosting mix for two whole cake mixes but maybe not?

Meredith said...

Nope, 1 tub will do it. Normally 1 tub of icing pairs perfectly with a standard 9x13" cake mix, but the gingerbread mixes are about half that per box, so when you double up, the ratio still works out fine! Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

Can I freeze the gingerbread balls after they are frosted?

Meredith said...

You can absolutely freeze the balls once frosted, for a month at least. When you defrost them, leave them sealed in the tin, and leave the tin out at room temp, this way water will condense on the outside of the tin, and not directly on the balls. Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

Is it two dry mixes but the add in ingredients required for just one box?

Meredith said...

Nope, 2 dry mixes plus ingredients for two. Put together, this gives you a little more batter than a typical cake mix box, which is why the cook time in the 9x13" pan is longer than most box mixes will specify for that size pan.

Angie said...

Just dropping by to say thanks for this great recipe - I made it as my holiday treat this year (and just posted about it), and it was a big hit! My frosting technique didn't turn out quite as pretty as yours, but I think people were okay with that since they were so dang tasty :)

Anonymous said...

These are lovely! I've never made cake balls. How do you pick them up and dip them - with your fingers or by piercing them with a stick or what? Thanks!

Meredith said...

Hi , thanks for the lovely compliments!

Anon, I've tried various ways, I know a lot of people use toothpicks, but the easiest way for me is to use two forks like so:
1. drop the ball into the coating
2. quickly use a fork to spoon (yes, I know, using a fork to spoon...but it works) the chocolate over the ball to cover it
3. use the fork to scoop the ball back out of the coating, letting excess run between the tines, rapping gently on the side of the bowl a few times
4. use a second fork to help slide the ball off of the first fork, onto a wax-paper lined cookie sheet.

Hope that makes sense! It is a little awkward at first until you get into a groove. I dipped many ugly cake balls until I got the hang of it (and a lot of my dipping is still questionable, to be honest). Another way to make them look great and help disguise any dipping flaws is to drizzle on a contrasting color -- make sure the contrasting color is thinned enough, otherwise it is too hard to drizzle and you won't get nice continuous lines of color. You are looking for a consistency for the drizzle that flows fairly quickly off of a spoon and will come out of a narrow-holed piping bag with you hardly squeezing.

Laura said...

Can you give me an idea of how large these are? I need to make 7 dozen for a party and I am hoping if I make them a little smaller I can squeeze a few more out of the recipe without making a whole extra batch. Do you think they would be too small then?

Meredith said...

Hi Laura,

I used a Number 60 cookie scoop to scoop the balls, and the recipe yielded over 5 dozen, although not quite 7 dozen. The #60 is two teaspoons leveled off, so I would suggest either using the #60 scoop and cutting each mound of dough in half before shaping them in circles, or if you don't have the scoop, use a teaspoon measuring spoon (leveling the dough off in the spoon as tough you were actually measuring) before forming the dough into rounds.

You can always just make a 3rd gingerbread box in an 8x8" pan to get a little extra dough, but that is a little more time and money, plus then you will have a half tub of icing left over...

Hope one of these suggestions works for you!

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried using cream cheese icing? Do you think it would too intensed in flavor?

Sarah said...

When you say "chill these for a half hour...." do you mean in the refridgerator or just on the counter?
How long did you wait for the main color to harden?
How much vegetable shortening to use to thin the accent colors?

Meredith said...

Anon - Do you mean the cream cheese ready-made icing or homemade? I think either would be delicious, just keep in mind that they would need to be stored in the fridge with homemade icing.

Sarah - I usually chill in the freezer, and sometimes I even chill up to an hour. You will know when the main color is hard because the finish becomes matte instead of shiny. And if I chilled closer to an hour, the main color sets up rather quickly, within minutes, especially as I get towards the end of dipping and the melted coating has had a chance to cool in the bowl. You can gently tap the last ball you dipped with your finger to check that it is set -- if the last ball is set, the whole batch is ready and you can drizzle.

Anonymous said...

I've never worked with candy melts before. Are the vanilla candy melts any different from just, white chocolate chips or something like that? Did you find colored candy melts or did you use food coloring?

Anonymous said...

And how much do you buy?

Anonymous said...

Hello!! I love this recipe, is seems so delicious and is something I would love to make for Christmas! I just have a small inquiry about mixing the cake mix with the icing.
I know you said one tub, but how much should it be? And can it be any brand?

Also, when you say mash it together, how do you do that and what with?

Thank you very much, I love your stuff and can't wait to see more from you!

Anonymous said...

Ok lessons learned. I had never made this before and just took a stab at it - literally!

Don't be scared about using 2 mixes. When you take the mix out of the box, you'll notice the bag really is about half the size a regular cake mix is. Combining 2 mixes together really makes about one normal size cake in a rectangle cake pan. I put a cookie sheet underneath just in case it spilled over, but it didn't even come close. The mix I used actually told me to mix them up right in the cake pan, rather than using a mixing bowl and then pouring into the cake pan. I thought that was a bit unusual but it worked out fine!

I was also worried about HOW exactly to mash the cake up, since no one had really posted about it. Here's what I did! I basically cut the cake in half in the pan, then I cut those halves into square slices that were a little smaller than what you'd normally serve to someone. I put half the cake in one big mixing bowl, and half the cake in another. There's no way the whole cake is fitting in one bowl!

I took a flat spatula that you would use on a griddle and really just kind of stabbed at the cake (which was actually kind of therapeutic). :) Keep at it, and sure enough it will end up in crumbles. I did this twice because I used 2 mixing bowls.

I just used one 16 oz. tub of Pillsbury vanilla frosting. I was worried about not having enough but it's definitely just enough. Again, I scooped half the frosting in one mixing bowl, and half in the other. Instead of using a wooden spoon, I used the spatula again. The spoon would just collect all the frosting whereas the spatula is flat, so it doesn't as much.

Rather than a mixing motion, I kept chopping at the cake and just kind of churning it around. The chopping technique actually worked to disburse the frosting better than mixing it with a spoon.

Here's my fortunate accident. At first, I completely forgot about actually forming these into balls. I used a medium cookie scoop, and just put all the scoops onto a cookie sheet, and refrigerated.

When it came time to cover in melted chocolate, it looked horrible. The texture of the cake mix wasn't smooth, so the chocolate was looking awful. Then DUH I realized they weren't actually shaped into a ball. Because they'd already firmed up in the fridge, I was easily able to roll these into balls, and pack them pretty tight. Probably easier than I would have pre-fridge. I imagine they would have been pretty mushy.

I really ran into an issue with the chocolate. I'd never worked with chocolate or candy melts before. I thought I'd be able to just add food coloring to the white chocolate for the drizzle. WRONG. It completely changed the consistency of the chocolate and I had to throw the whole batch out. Mine ended up being just plain white, but still quite tasty! I got my candy melts from a grocery store. Maybe a specialty store would sell colored ones. Live and learn!

Anonymous said...

I was wondering how much of the candy melts are needed for this recipe?

The Kitchen Kook said...

Your post inspired me to make my own gingerbread cake balls! Thanks so much for the idea because they made someone really happy :)

But mine are nowhere near as pretty as yours!