Take Chocolate Frogs, for instance - try Googling them and you'll be spoiled for choice in merely the free printable boxes in which to package them. The boxes! Absolutely mind-blowing.
Eventually, we narrowed our choices down to three: Chocolate Frogs, Cauldron Cakes and Every Flavour Beans. We also decided against any packaging - all the better to just eat the stuff, we thought.
1 Chocolate Frogs
Neither Emily nor I have ever had an actual Chocolate Frog, but we'd heard it was plain frog-shaped chocolate, so she adapted a recipe from a youtube video and created her own version with peanut butter in the middle and crispy rice cereal on the bottom. Very tasty. We used this candy mold.
- 1 bag of milk chocolate chips (Nestle, Hersheys, Ghiradelli or something fancier if you like)
- About 1/4 cup peanut butter
- About 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- About 1/2 cup crispy rice
- Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler.
- Mix the peanut butter and powdered sugar in a small bowl. We didn't add all the sugar at once - its purpose was to turn the peanut butter into a kind of less-sticky dough so it could be worked with easily. Use as much powdered sugar as needed to allow you to comfortably roll the peanut butter into 5/8" balls.
- Spray the wells of the mold with cooking spray, then wipe clean and dry.
- Pour the melted chocolate into the mold, filling each well half-full. Tap gently to get rid of air bubbles.
- Roll each ball of peanut butter "dough" into a cylinder about 1" - 1 1/4" long and place in each well. Do not press it down to the bottom of the well - you want it to remain suspended in the middle of the Frog.
- Fill the well with more chocolate to cover the peanut butter, stopping about 1/8" to 1/4" from the top edge of the mold - you'll want some space allowance for the crispy rice. Again, tap gently to remove air bubbles.
- Press a layer of crispy rice into the surface of the chocolate.
- Let set (we had to set ours in the fridge), and then flip the mold over a tray or plate and pop out the Chocolate Frogs.
2 Cauldron Cakes
Again, lots of inspiration all over the internet, and it was a matter of picking our favorite combination of taste, ease of preparation and non-likelihood of wilting all over the tray in the late summer heat.
We made the Cakes in three parts:
Part 1: The cupcakes
- 1 box chocolate cake mix (or just make your own cupcakes from scratch
- Make the cupcakes according to the instructions on the box or your favorite recipe.
- When cool, use a sharp knife to cut out a central conical cavity from the bottom of each cupcake, as shown in the photo below.
- Set cupcakes upside down to await filling.
Part 2: The filling
- 1 4oz box instant chocolate pudding (we used the Jello brand)
- 1 8oz container of whipped topping (we used Cool Whip)
- 1 cup cold milk
- Mix the pudding with the cold milk in a medium bowl, using a whisk.
- Fold in 1/2 to 1 container of the whipped topping, to desired consistency. It should feel like thick pudding.
- Fill a piping bag with a large nozzle (about 1/2") or without a nozzle, cutting off the tip to make a 1/2" hole.
- Pipe the filling into the cavities in the upside-down cupcakes.
Part 3: The chocolate frosting
- 1/4 cup butter (half a stick), softened
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1/3 cup of cream or milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
Our method (we made our frosting with a hand mixer):
- Beat the cocoa into the butter.
- Add half of the cream/milk, the vanilla and the salt.
- Gradually beat in the sugar to taste, adding more cream/milk if necessary to the desired consistency.
- Scoop frosting into a piping bag with a small round or flat nozzle.
- Pipe a ring of frosting around cauldron for a rim, surrounding the filling.
- Pipe two small rings on the side of the cauldron for handles.
Tragically, this is the only photo we have of the finished Cauldron Cakes.
3 Bertie Botts' Every Flavour Beans
- A big jar of Jelly Belly jelly beans from Costco, in a glass serving bowl. No bizarre flavours. No fancy single-serve boxes. Couldn't be simpler!