Saturday, November 30, 2013

Traumatized Turkeys

I can’t get out of making Rice Krispie Turkeys, but when I saw these turkey pops, I figured I could change my game. 

As usual I can’t just follow a recipe. I used a modified version of the Rice Krispie recipe on No one here eats Rice Krispies as a cereal and is nice enough to put quantities in grams, so I’ve been able to do a fairly accurate recipe using a full 9 oz. box. Also it uses vanilla, which I really like.

One more thing about Joy of Baking, it’s really great if you don’t know jack about baking. The recipes are tried and true, with lots of helpful hints. I’ve never had a recipe fail me yet. No affiliation, just a lot of gratitude from someone who had never even thought about baking a cake before having kids.

Traumatized Turkey Recipe

9 oz. box of Rice Krispies® cereal
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt*
17 oz. (67 regular size) marshmallows
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

16 oz. of chocolate (dark, semi, and/or white, whatever you prefer)
Mini M&M’s
Candy Corn

*Sometimes I forget the salt, nobody seems to notice.

Butter a large bowl and set aside.

Butter, a large pot. Melt the butter and salt in the saucepan over medium low heat. Add the marshmallows and constantly stir until the marshmallows have completely melted.

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Add about a third of the Rice Krispies, stir until coated. Add another third and do the same. Take care with the last third that you don’t dump in the powdered Rice Krispie crumbs at the bottom of the bag. Stir until all the cereal has been coated. 

Pour the mixture into your prepared bowl. Measure a 1/4-cup of the warm cereal mixture and roll into a ball with buttered hands. You can keep measuring, but I suggest using the first one as a guide and just pull it off with your hands. Rebutter them as needed. I made 60 balls, some were a little a bigger, some a little smaller, who’s ever seen a flock of turkeys exactly the same size?

The fine people at Kellogg's say to place them on a wax-paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate about 10 minutes or until firm. That might have helped, we’ll get that in a bit, but the day before Thanksgiving my refrigerator did not have room for 60 turkey bodies and I didn’t feel like rotating them in shifts. 

What I did was gently smush their little bodies down with a cupped hand onto wax paper, to flatten their little bottoms. Kellogg's also says to impale them with lollipop sticks. I think the turkey has been demoralized and abused enough, I’m not poking a stick up its rear. Also I don’t get the obsession with putting everything on a stick. 

In microwave-safe bowl melt 4 oz. of the chocolate. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, microwave for another 30 seconds and stir. 

If you want to learn about tempering chocolate you should probably go elsewhere. I’ve spent a lot of time reading about the suggested methods and then mostly ignored them. I don't finely chop my chocolate, I just break it into chunks.  Then I don’t melt the chocolate all the way in the microwave, there’s always a few chunks left swimming around. I just keep stirring, until all the chunks melt. Maybe not so much stirring as smoothing the chocolate back and forth against the bowl with the back of the spoon. I test the chocolate by dropping some on my wrist, if I can’t detect any heat it’s good, yeah just like testing a baby bottle in fact that’s where I got the idea. Which isn't a completely crazy idea, turns out it's a real thing.

Worst case scenario if you don’t do it right, your chocolate ends up looking a little chalky instead of smooth and shiny. Your real friends won’t care and they’ll still like you anyway. 

Dip each ball into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Return to wax-paper-lined baking sheet. 

Again Kellogg's says, “Refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes more or until chocolate is almost set. Decorate with candy corn for tail feathers and beak, gently pressing candy into chocolate and cereal mixture. Press in white candies for eyes. Let stand until firm.”

I dipped as many as I could with the 4 oz. of chocolate. I didn’t refrigerate, but did let them set about five minutes. While you’re waiting is a good time to trim the beaks. A whole candy corn gives you Cyrano de Bergerac looking turkeys, so I trimmed off about a third. Then you can try putting your M&Ms on, if they stay, you’re good. If they slide down, you need to wait. I did all the eyes first for that set of turkeys.  By the time you've finished the eyes the chocolate has set enough that the beaks will stick.

Here’s is my official technique for getting the stupid feathers to stick in without completely deforming the body (maybe this is where chilling them would’ve helped and then again maybe not), or accidently touching the chocolate trying to keep the buggers from moving around.

Insert the left and right tail feathers in at the same time, with even pressure, angling in just a tad towards each other. Press the beak into the chocolate in front while inserting the middle feather.

Most of the time this worked, some of the time bits fell off. I’ll address that later. Then I continued on working the turkeys in batches of whatever I could coat with 4 oz. of chocolate.  Doing them in smaller batches keeps the chocolate workable. I guessed at how much total chocolate is needed to cover 60 turkeys, because some of my bodies disappeared before I could coat them. There seemed to be quite a few feathers and eyes that vanished while I wasn’t looking also.

So to glue on falling off bits I heated up some red candy melts.
Here are my Traumatized Turkey masterpieces.

You can use the candy melts for good instead of evil. I made a cute little snood for this guy. Sadly he is seconds away from being pecked to death by the bloody beaked, red eyed zombie turkeys

Besides the turkeys, we brought a little Creepmas to Thanksgiving this year. I almost feel bad, because Thanksgiving really got shafted this year. I say almost, because if I really felt bad, I wouldn’t have done it.

It’s not every uncle that can truly appreciate the wonder and joy of a musical armpit farting animated zombie, but my kids are lucky enough to have such a one, so when they saw this they knew they had to get it for him. It worked out that wouldn’t see him until Thanksgiving and since that would be a weird Thanksgiving gift, we decided it should be an early Creepmas present.

Most of the family members we see at Thanksgiving we don’t get a chance to see again until spring or even summer and to deny them the tasty pleasure of my brains, seemed wrong. I also made cookie dough filled eyeballs and truffle surprise filled bugs.

I wasn’t completely sure how that would go over, but everyone enjoyed them. The kids (and not just the ones of my own that I’ve warped) were really excited to see eyeballs at Thanksgiving. I think I saw the pumpkin pie getting a little jealous at all the attention they were getting.

I’m thankful to have an extended family that doesn’t mind my quirks.

I’m also thankful my kids don’t have gumballs, a synthesizer and a 12 inch metal spike.


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