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Kylie Carey suggest that home cooks use Merckens or Wilton chocolate for dipping; they melt nicely and do not need to be tempered.

2 sticks salted butter

1 cup peanut butter

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 box powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Milk chocolate for dipping

Melt butter and let cool. In a medium mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, mix peanut butter and melted butter until smooth. Add all other ingredients; do not use a mixer for this step because the dough is too hard to mix this way. Instead put on some thin kitchen gloves and mix with your hands!

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls on a cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet in the refrigerator for a few hours or until firm. Melt chocolate until smooth. Dip the buckeye balls into the chocolate, making sure to NOT cover the whole thing for the look of a buckeye. (Sometimes I keep mine on a Popsicle stick, sometimes not.) Place wet buckeyes on wax paper until dry. Enjoy within two weeks!

Becoming a successful entrepreneur may describe the thirtysomethings in our midst. But how about a young college girl who decided early on to parlay her love of baking into a money-making business, called Kylie’s Pop Shop?

“I am doing this to help pay for school,” says sophomore Kylie Carey of Fairfax Station, who is currently enrolled at Northern Virginia Community College with plans to enter George Mason University in the fall.

Although she has no formal pastry arts training, Carey loves to bake, and started her cake pop business in the spring of 2012, selling first to friends and family. “But I really enjoy making them,” she says, “and I ended up getting the kitchen licenses and a professional set-up. It has been crazy since I incorporated last March.”

Now Carey shows up to sell at the local Smart Markets as well as to her clients who find her by word of mouth and on the internet.

How did all this begin? As with most successful cooks, the passion for cooking and baking usually begins at home. In Carey’s case, she used to watch her mom bake cakes, which inspired her to take some Wilton baking courses held at Michael’s. “But that was way before I started this business,” she says. The real inspiration for making cake pops came from one of her shopping trips to Costco, where she saw a cake pop maker and decided she had to have one. “I brought it home,” she says, “and the first batch that night was a disaster.”

That was back in November 2011. Since then, Carey says, “I worked at it, and I have ended up making different animals, playing cards in a deck of card, frogs, bunnies, chickens, teddy bears. Everything I do is colorful,” adding that everything is also made from scratch. Her best taste-testers, she says, are her brother and her grandparents.

As to which were the most memorable pops, Carey guesses those must have been the Thanksgiving turkeys. “These were a labor of love,” she says. “But they were fun to make. I set it up as in an assembly line. The turkeys were sitting on an Oreo cookie with a stick coming out of the top. I used candies for the nose, eyes, and feathers.” She adds that the most unique flavor combo was the Elvis cake pops: she made banana cakes with real bananas, with a peanut topping and maple bacon crumbles. “It was amazing,” she says. “I did that in September, and these sold out in 10 minutes.”

Carey says she picks up ideas from Pinterest, but also thinks about what would taste good to her. She references her many cookbooks as well, finding recipes that would work with cake pops and altering them to make them her own. Her parents have turned their basement into a mini cake pop factory, where Carey can bake the pops quickly in a toaster oven before putting in another batch.

Presently, work is a little slow, since she is appearing at only one farmers’ market a week. But in the summer, she makes and bakes up to 1,000 cake pops. She adds that whenver she does events or sells at market, customers always ask to speak to her mother. They want to speak to the business owner.

To contact Kylie Carey online, visit her website: She also sells at local farmers’ markets, the Smart Markets. Check their website for which locations: