Sunday, February 9, 2014

No-bake Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cake Balls: A non recipe

Disclaimer: This is not a recipe.

It was supposed to be a recipe... but then it was a horrible mistake, which turned into a long process, which is now a story.

So this post is a story.
And some pictures, and the makings of a super awesome, delicious recipe that has thus far been described as "really good" and "like one of those cinnamon buns you get from cinnabon without all the gross grease that makes you feel sick."


So, the story.

My best friend (sorry, Haley) and my future roommate are away in Texas this weekend for a debate tournament, and I wanted to welcome them home tomorrow night with some sort of nommy surprise to show them how proud I am and happy to have them back.

When I left for the store I was sure I was going to make valentine's day themed something or other. It seemed inevitable; there's so much valentine's day candy on discount, and I've been inspired by all the food blogs I read.

Alas, that didn't happen. I came back from the store with chocolate chips, cherry m&ms (most of which I have eaten on my own because they are delicious), cake mix, molten center chocolate hearts, and a tub of frosting.

Initially, I was going to make frosting dipped cake balls with molten chocolate centers. I thought this was an awesome idea, and everything was going swimmingly until I made the cake mix WAY too moist, realized I didn't have a way to bake it into cake, and couldn't even manage to form the sticky blobs of cake goo into balls. It was bad.

But I spent $18.35 at CVS intent on making a treat for my friends, and I refused to waste a single penny of that. Failure was not an option.

I'll note here that this is something I do a lot: mess up recipes and then scavenge for a fix. I consider myself a pretty decent cook, but what I'm best at is messing up... and then trying to fix it.

And this fix turned out AWESOME.

Considering I live in a dorm with two teenage boys and we're not exactly rolling in truffle oils or any ingredients at all for that matter, it took a little bit of creativity to salvage my gooey mess. I considered adding dry oats, but decided that even 20 packs of instant oats probably wouldn't be able to stand up to the monster I'd made.

So I turned to cinnamon toast crunch. And who doesn't love cinnamon toast crunch?

To add some dryness and thickness to my dough (if you can even call it that), I mashed up the cereal and mixed it into my cake batter, then rolled it into balls, coating the outsides in a layer of crushed cereal so that it could hold together without sticking to anything.

The reason this is a non recipe is because I have NO idea how much cereal I ended up using, but I imagine it's probably 4-5 cups if not more. If you plan on re-creating this, something I HIGHLY recommend, my suggestion would be to start with about 2 cups of crushed cereal, and then just add more if your batter is still too gooey to hold a ball shape.

After rolling the batter into balls (I made 32), I let them sit in the refrigerator for a while before dipping them in frosting. I waited about 20 minutes, but as you've probably figured out by now, this operation wasn't exactly running on precise science. You just want them to firm up and not become a sloppy mess when you dip them in the icing.

To ice these, just put a standard 16oz tub of frosting in the microwave for about a minute to make the icing thinner, then using a fork, dip the balls one by one into the frosting and top with your leftover crushed cereal. My frosting was a little thick at first and I had to keep mine to keep it at a good consistency.

Be warned, these are VERY sweet, and you don't need a thick layer of frosting. A nice, thin, almost translucent coating should get 'er done.

After you're done dipping, just keep these in the refrigerator and serve to friends! The result is actually WAY better than I was expecting. These balls have a nice crunchy/gooey contrast, and have a distinct cinnamon toast crunch flavor.

If you try them, let me know what you think! I'll leave the sort of recipe down below.

Much ruv,

No-bake Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cake Balls (kinda)
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup (maybe?) of liquid (I used a blend of almond milk and water)
1 16oz. tub of vanilla frosting
1 box of cinnamon toast crunch

1. In a large container, mix cake mix, liquid, and 2-4 tblsp of frosting until smooth and thick. Don't add TOO much liquid -- only add enough to make sure no flour mixture is left
2. In a sealed plastic bag, crush up 3-4 cups of cinnamon toast crunch with a heavy object (I used a mug. You do you.)
3. Add crushed cereal into batter mixture until mix can be rolled into balls without sticking
4. If you're having trouble, pour cereal onto a plate and roll globs of batter in the crumbs to help them hold together
5. Microwave remaining frosting for 30 seconds - 1 minute
6. Using a fork, dip cereal cake balls into frosting until fully coated
7. Sprinkle with extra cereal

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