The Do's and Don'ts of Making Cake Pops, By Someone Who's Been There

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If you’re reading this, it’s safe to assume you're either curious about or obsessed with cake pops . Same here. My list of do's and don'ts will help you strategically tackle these adorable minis.

But first, one piece of general advice: When you're planning your masterpiece-on-a-stick, work with basic shapes. Complicated pops are less fun to make. And if making cake pops isn't fun, what is?

Working with dough

Don't be afraid to really push and shape the cake-pop dough with your hands. Use those muscles!

Do use a cookie scoop to help you make small, uniform portions.

Don't make your cake balls too big or they may fall apart when you dip them.

Do get into the habit of scooping and forming only a few portions at a time.

Don’t keep the unformed dough exposed to air; it will dry out. Keep the portion you're not working with wrapped in plastic.

Preparing the coating

Do use candy coating. It’s made specifically for dipping, melts smoothly and hardens completely. Hobby shops, groceries, and cake- and candy-supply stores sell brands like Wilton Candy Melts, Mercken’s Colors, Clasen Coatings, Ghirardelli Melting Wafers, Guittard A’Peels, Make & Mold and CandiQuik.

Don’t use chocolate bars, chocolate chip morsels, pure chocolate or baker’s chocolate blocks. These chocolates aren't made for use as a coating, and come with a high risk of discoloring once they're melted and cooled, or not hardening completely.

Do use Paramount Crystals and only Paramount Crystals to thin candy coating.

Don’t use oil or butter to thin candy coating, or it will never solidify like it should.

Do use oil-based dyes only for tinting candy coating. Be aware, though, that dyes will slightly change texture and taste in a way that I personally don't care for.

Don’t add anything that is not oil-based to candy coating. This can cause the coating to “seize,” making it unusable. Read the label carefully. If it doesn’t say oil-based then the dye usually isn’t.

Selecting tools

Do use small silicone or microwave-safe plastic bowls or cups (one-cup capacity) to melt candy wafers. This is the best way to do this evenly.

Don’t use ceramic or glass containers. Both retain heat too well, preventing the candy coating from heating or cooling at its own natural pace and increasing the risk of cracks.

Do use a microwave (preferred) or a chocolate melting pot to melt the candy coating.

Don't use a double boiler or any other method that might expose the the candy coating to water or steam. This will cause your coating to seize.

Dipping pops

Do allow refrigerated cake balls to warm up and candy coating to cool down before dipping. The closer to room temperature both are, the better.

Don’t dip cold cake pops into too-warm candy coating or you’ll get cracks.

Do use sprinkles and nonpareils to prettify your pops.

Don’t use candies to decorate pops until you test them! First, place one in the fridge for a few minutes. Then take it out and see how it reacts as it comes to room temperature.

Storing pops

Do refrigerate cake pops in individual packages or in airtight containers (arrange them in flat layers separated by paper towels). When you take everything out of the fridge, condensation will collect on the outside of the package or container, not on the pops.

Don’t store cake pops without wrapping or covering them, or they'll end up dotted with condensation.

Do freeze uncoated cake balls.

Don’t freeze finished cake pops!

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