it’s safe to say i’ve officially survived my first semester of grad school.

and it only took about 21 sleepless nights, a massive mountain of chocolate, and an even massive-er mountain of encouragement, prayer and love from friends and fam.  case in point: i was getting so frustrated with my last paper last week when two friends surprised me by dropping off food (delicious turkey chili- thanks T! and mango mousse cake..omg- thanks B and B’s mom!) and it was exactly what i needed to power through and just get ‘er done.

as soon as i clicked that ‘submit’ button i did a little happy dance and then for the rest of the evening, i decompressed.  and by decompressed i mean i scrubbed down my kitchen, baked a cake, vacuumed and deboned a chicken.

type A, what? if de-boning a chicken doesn’t scream stress-relief to you, you’re probably beyond help.

with the craziness of the past few months i haven’t had the energy or time to bake anything, so as soon as i finished my last assignment this NEED hit me to bake (and bake. and bake.) like i had to make up for the past 3 months of oven neglect.  so i kicked off my baking bender weekend with two lovely ladies, A and M, and we got up to our elbows in chocolate making these cuties:


REINDEER CAKE POPS.  awgh seriously.. so cute.  and so delicious.

these are really easy to make, just time-consuming… but if you tackle it with a couple of friends it makes the time fly by ;)

the original recipe we were going off of had eyes and a drawn-on-mouth for the reindeer, but we couldn’t be bothered… so our reindeers are very quiet and don’t see very well.  you’ll also note that they’re all a bit different…


some are more different than others.


but as M put it, we’re celebrating biodiversity (and breaking pretzels uniformly is really hard.)

Reindeer Cake Pops
Adapted from here
Makes about 40 cake pops

1 box chocolate cake mix (and the ingredients to make it)
1 container store bought chocolate frosting
1.4 kg chocolate candy coating (or just chocolate chips)
about 40 pretzels, broken in half to make antler looking shapes
about 40 red M&Ms/smarties
lollipop sticks (i bought mine at bulk barn)
styrofoam board (or extra pair of hands to hold the cake pop while it dries)

1. Prepare the cake according to box directions and let it cool completely.
2. Prep a few cookie sheets with wax paper.
3. Once cake is cool, in a large bowl, crumble the cake up (ideally with clean fingers) and dump in about 3/4 of the container of frosting and smoosh (that is the culinary term) it all together with your hands until it’s soft cookie-dough consistency.
4. Roll the ‘dough’ a little smaller than a golf-ball sized ball and place on the wax paper lined cookie sheets.  Place in freezer for about 15 minutes.
5. When the cake pops are firm (not frozen), melt the chocolate candy coating (or chips) in a heat-proof cup or bowl (i used a cup to make it easier for submerging the whole cake pop) in the microwave (stirring every 20 or so seconds until just melted).
6. This is the part that you have to have all your ducks in a row and be organized.  The trick is in the timing.  Dunk the tip of the lollipop stick into the chocolate and stick it into the cake pop.  Do this for all the cake pops (you may have to do this in batches, keep the batch you’re not working on in the freezer), as it helps anchor the cake pop to the stick.
7. Submerge the cake pop into the melted chocolate completely and gently tap off the excess.  Then (working QUICKLY) stick the antlers and nose on.
8. Allow it to dry (either by holding it up or sticking it into a styrofoam board) and then place back on wax paper.  Repeat.
9. These can be kept in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to five days.