What is the Improv Cooking Challenge? Every month the host gives you two ingredients you must use in a recipe and a date by which you have to complete your recipe and blog post. The goal is to see the many creative ways people combine the two ingredients and share lots of delicious recipes!
This was a little difficult for me because I absolutely loathe eggnong. I didn't want to miss out on the challenge though, so after much thought I decided to go with cake mixed with an eggnong buttercream to create cakballs. If you've never tried cakeballs (or cakepops) you absolutely MUST check out Bakerella's blog. She was the inspiration for these balls and no...mine look nothing like hers :)
Normally I like to try and make everything from scratch but this time I cheated a bit.
- 1 box of yellow cake mix
- 1 cup chopped fresh cranberries (i prefer fresh over Craisins but you could use those as well)
- Chop up the cranberries using a food processor or something similar. I used my Vitamix
- Mix 3/4 - 1 cup cranberries with cake batter and bake following cake instructions for a 13 x 9 pan
- Remove cake and follow cooling instructions - it is OK if it crumbles as you take it out, because you'll be crumbling it anyway once completely cooled
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 cup eggnog (I used cinnamon eggnog)
- pinches of cinnamon, nutmeg and salt
- Beat the butter in your Kitchen Aid or hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy
- Slowly add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until mixed well
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix 1-2 minutes on medium
- Follow Bakerella's Instructions to form the cake balls but basically
- Crumble the cooled cake into a bowl
- Incorporate frosting
- Roll into 1 inch balls
- Place in the fridge to harden
- Dip in melted chocolate
Some thoughts - the cinnamon was a little strong. I prefer it that way, since I don't like the taste of eggnong, but if you make this you might want to use regular, instead of cinnamon, eggnog. The cranberry flavor was very mild, so add more if you want a stronger flavor.
I got lots of great feedback on these, as I served them as part of my cookie party the following day! I would have liked to decorate them and make them look a little more festive, but my chocolate dried too quickly. 'doh! Next time!!
Here are my recipes from the previous challenges:
Click on the Improv Challenge button below if you want to learn more, or participate in future challenges. Next month's ingredients are lemon and sour cream.
Visit the other challenge recipes below: