CARROT shaped CARROT CAKE BALLS
1 box Jiffy yellow cake mix..........................................1 egg
1 4 oz. jar baby food carrots (if your jar is smaller, add enough orange or pineapple juice to equal 1/2 cup total)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
about 1/4 to 1/2 cup canned cream cheese frosting (start with less ~ only add more if needed)
5-6 squares vanilla melting bark or white candy melts
4-5 drops EACH yellow and red food coloring
(If you have orange candy melts, just use those instead)
2-3 tsp. vegetable shortening (i.e. Crisco)
green decorator icing (in tube) with leaf tip ~OR~
2 squares vanilla melting bark (or white candy melts) + 2-3 drops green food coloring ~OR~
green twizzlers candy (cut into about 1" pieces)
Bake the cake according to package instructions (substituting the baby food carrots for the water called for), and adding the spices ~ but I only baked it for 22 minutes (instead of 25 on the box) so that none of the edges would be hard. Cool the cake and then crumble into a large bowl with your hands.
Using your hands (or a large spoon) mix the frosting into cake crumbs. Start with 1/4 cup and then add more if needed. It should be sticky and easy to mold in your hands, but still be much more cake than frosting. I used a 1-1/2" cookie scoop to make balls and then shape balls into a triangular carrot shape (they don't need to be perfect) and put on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper or foil. (Make sure you compact the mixture well, when you're rolling it in your hands.) Refrigerate or freeze for about 15-20 minutes (or until they're fairly firm).
Melt the vanilla bark with the shortening, in a pyrex or glass bowl in the microwave. Start with 45 seconds; and add another 15 seconds if the bark doesn't look really soft. Add the yellow & red food coloring and stir with a fork or spoon, until the bark is completely melted and evenly colored.
Dip the chilled carrot pops into the melted bark (I use a fork, and then a little spoon to spread a little more bark over the pop), until it's completely covered. Let the excess drip off the carrot pop (gently tap fork against the side of the dish), and put it back onto the waxed paper (I use a butter knife to gently push/lift the carrot pop off the fork). (Or, just put the carrot into the melted bark, and spoon it over to cover completely ~ whatever is easiest for you!) (Truthfully, I'm a little heavy-handed with the melted bark, and mine almost look like bon bons.) Repeat with all of the carrot pops. ** If you want, you can go back and drizzle any extra orange melts across the carrots with a spoon, just to add some texture to them. Makes 20-24 carrots
For the LEAVES:
(1) You can melt the rest of the melting bark (same as above), adding the green food coloring. Spoon out little leaf shapes onto waxed paper and let them harden. Attach to the top of the carrot pops (you may need a dab of cream cheese frosting to use as "glue")
(2) or...pipe little leaves on the tops of the carrot pops with the decorator icing
(3) or...stick cut pieces of green twizzler candy into the top of the pops (you can even cut the tops of the piece of candy into little strips and then fluff it out so it looks like a carrot top).
If you want, you can stick lollipop sticks into them, in the top (so the carrot is on the bottom), or underneath the carrot. But, if you put the sticks into the underside of the carrots, put a dab of canned frosting on the stick first, to act as "glue" so the carrot stays on the stick.