Happy Birthday, Ann Marie!

Over the weekend we were invited to a Christmas in July party to celebrate Ann Marie’s 50th birthday.  Since a pool party doesn’t work in December (unless you live someplace fun) a Christmas in July party was in order.  Plus, it allowed Ann  Marie to tell people she wasn’t 50 yet. Since my mother trained me to never show up to a party without some sort of food/beverage item, I thought Greg, Laura, and I could make christmas cookies.

For the past two years, we have spent a December sunday afternoon decorating cookies and thought what a great way to spend a friday night in July. . .  until I went on Bakerella’s site and saw these.

Reindeer cakes balls seemed much more fitting than christmas cookies.

The first step was pretty easy– make a vanilla cake and color it red with food dye.  I’m not going to post the instructions on making a cake because the box has them listed for you.  Once the cake cools, break it up and put it in your mixer.  Add about three-fourths of a can of vanilla icing (or cream cheese) and mix it until it’s sticky and completely blended. Take the mixture and put it in the fridge for a few hours.

Why do you put it in the fridge?  Well, it’s easier to work with the “dough.”  The first time we made these, we formed the cake balls soon after mixing.  By cooling it, the texture is more like play-doh and is easier to form shapes with.

Greg and I rolled out the dough and put the balls back in the fridge.  If you have room in your freezer, you can place them there.  The cold balls are easier to dip in the chocolate in the next step.

Be warned– if you use food coloring, your hands will look like this.

Laura came over to help us with the final step– decorating.  We used cinnamon red hots as the nose and broken pretzels as the antlers.   I used a bag of candy chocolate (from Michael’s with 40% coupon).  You can use either milk or dark chocolate, we chose dark.  I melted the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals so that I did not burn the chocolate.

Then it go time.  We had two cookie trays lined with wax paper on the island and bowls filled with reindeer decoration.  I would coat each ball and place it on the tray for one of my two helpers to decorate.  Laura’s reindeer were done in about half the time Greg’s were but they looked like they enjoyed a bit of eggnog.  We shall use Greg’s as an example for that reason– applying the antlers.

Giving him a nose.

About 30 minutes later, we had a fleet of reindeer for the party.

Bonus time: Laura and Greg dumped the extra broken pretzels into the extra chocolate.

At the party, we placed the reindeer on a white sleigh (ok, tray) and they were a birthday hit!

Happy early birthday, Ann Marie!  We had a blast!

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