Oreo Truffles

Oh Christmastime. It is most certainly my favorite time of the year.

Christmas music. Cinnamon spice candles. Candy canes. Cookies. Cheer.

Candy coated Oreo truffles. Yes please.

The first time I was gifted an Oreo truffle was last year when we received one of my favorite cookie trays from my parent’s neighbors. After taking one bite, we immediately added them to our Christmas ‘baking’ repertoire.

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It’s as if you’re eating a fancy chocolate truffle. So smooth and creamy but it tastes like an Oreo. Hallelujah.

…And there are only 3 ingredients. Oreos, cream cheese and candy coating. It’s that simple.

Oreos

I. LOVE. Holiday. Oreos. For three main reasons 1) Double stuffed 2) Festive red filling 3) Wintry designs.

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Not only are there only 3 ingredients, there are really only 3 simple steps. Starting with grinding the Oreos to a fine crumb.

It is very easy to eat the crumbs with a large tablespoon. I’m not at all saying that happened. Just an FYI.

Before adding in the cream cheese, reserve a 1/4 cup of the crumbs for topping the truffles later.

I decided to add the cream cheese in chunks to the food processor. Moments later, I was thisclose to a meltdown, as I thought I burnt out the motor on my food processor. There were some noises that sounded a little like when I describe my car problems to the service man. But KitchenAid came through and we were back in action.

That being said, I tried to be smarter than the recipe. I wasn’t going to use more than one bowl! No. Way. But I think the recipe writers knew what they are talking about. Shocking. Because of the thickness of the cream cheese, its almost a little too much to mix in the processor.

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Nonetheless, once it’s combined, roll the cream cheese and cookie mixture into small balls, not quite a tablespoon size. Stick ’em in the fridge for a few. While those are chilling, melt some white chocolate chips or vanilla candy coating.

Also, take the time to review the weekly grocery store advertisements from the newspaper you ingeniously laid on your counters for while you’re cooking and baking to make clean up a breeze. (My fellow baking friends give the best tips ever.)

After noting to pick up the 99 cent oranges, start the coating process.

Dunking and covering each truffle before placing back on the cookie sheet and sprinkling with the excess crumbs.
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Just a few minutes in the fridge to set up and they are ready to go.

Santa Claus is coming to town pretty soon and I think he’d be pretty impressed with a few of these waiting for him by the tree.

Here’s how to do it:

I didn’t change much (as there isn’t much to change), so I’ll send you right to the source.

Oreo Truffles

Instead of regular chocolate, I used vanilla candy coating and don’t worry about counting 36 Oreos, just dump in a whole package.

Enjoy!

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Monkey Bread in Jars

I’m coming off a high… sugar and altitude related.

For a post busy season de-stresser, I took a long weekend trip down to Denver to visit Becky (you’ve seen her on here before) and her husband Brent.

Becky and I had discussed from the day I purchased my ticket that we would be doin’ some serious work in the kitchen. We made 3 desserts including meringues, marshmallows, and pumpkin cupcakes (many of which you will see shortly here), salmon with miso sauce, and this…

Monkey bread… in a jar. It is to die for.

And all that dark stuff on the bottom??? It is indescribably good. Off the charts. Gooey, cinnamon-y, out of this world.

This was the first time either of us had really experimented with yeast. We had our reservations. But man oh man, we sure did get excited when it started working.

Excitement in the kitchen seems much more normal and less psycho when it isn’t talking to yourself.

On top of not being considered crazy there are so many benefits to having a partner-in-crime in the kitchen.

 Including a dough-kneader.

And someone to help you take and stage the food photography.

Sometimes I get so focused on getting things done in the kitchen I forget to have fun. After this Bake-a-thon weekend, I remembered how much fun being in the kitchen can be.

Yeast in action, part 2. After the yeast activates and is incorporated into the dough and the dough is kneaded, it is set to rise for about 1-1.5 hours or until doubled in size.

Disclaimer, we started this process at 9 PM. I would not recommend this, as there are multiple “stop and let the dough rise for 50+ minutes” in the instructions. That being said, we wrapped this bad boy up around 1 AM.

Doin’ work.

Once the yeast doubles, place on a clean surface to roll out.

The original recipe did not state how thick to roll out and a “large rectangle” is not nearly specific enough for 2 CPA’s. So we went with approximately 1/4 inch and it turned out great.

Using a pizza cutter, slice up the dough into small squares, roughly 1-2 inches in size.

Take those darlin’ little squares and dip in melted butter (oh em gee), then a cinnamon-nutmeg-brown sugar mixture (oh yeah) and “plop” into the jars.

Also, this is a highly recommended snack time. Instead of a “plop” into the jars, just “plop” right into your mouth.

The buttery sugary squares need to rise for another 50 minutes but then are ready for the oven. 25 minutes later and you are ready to experience heaven on earth.

Here’s how to do it:

Monkey Bread in a Jar

Ingredients:

12 tbsp butter

1 cup milk, heated to about 110 degrees F

1/3 cup water, heated to about 110 degrees F

1/4 cup sugar

1 (1/4th oz) package dry active yeast

3 cups flour

2 tsp salt

1 cup brown sugar

2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Directions:

Warm the milk and water in the microwave until it feels like warm bath water. Combine the warm milk, water, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl. Let sit for five minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, salt and 1/2 tsp cinnamon together in another bowl. After five minutes, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on medium high speed using a dough hook attachment for about eight minutes, or until dough becomes a smooth ball. If you don’t have a dough hook, you can knead using your hands, just keep kneading the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. (It may still be very slightly sticky as you form the ball but don’t let that scare you, as long as it has a smooth appearance after the ball is formed.)

Spray a bowl with cooking spray and place your dough ball inside. Cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm spot to rise for about an hour. You want the ball to double in size. (This could be anywhere from 50 minutes to 1.5 hours.)

After the initial rise, roll out dough to a large rectangle approximately a 1/4 inch in thickness. Using a pizza cutter, cut one inch squares of dough out of the rectangle.

Melt four tablespoons of the butter and use it to grease eight 8-oz glass jars (OR four 12-oz mason jars or three 16 oz jars).

Melt the remaining butter and pour it into a small bowl. In another small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Dunk each square of dough in the melted butter and then into the brown sugar. Drop it into a greased glass jar. Fill each jar only half way full then set the jars in a warm spot to rise for another 50 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place jars on a baking sheet two inches apart and bake for 25 minutes, or until dough has cooked through. Serve warm!

Plum Cobbler

I’m tired…. like eyeballs hurt, huge bags under my eyes, “Ally, you look really tired” tired…

It’s never good when people call you out on it.

The last few weeks at work have been crazy. We’ve got a deadline today and it’s been balls to the walls insane.

But the one thing that always gets me through is a little baking session. Nothing relieves stress better than a little chopping, blending, mixing, and taste testing.

Cobbler is the perfect dessert to transition from summer to fall. It’s warm and comforting but still fresh with fruit of the season.

For this cobbler I used plums. A friend has a tree outside her house and brought me a big bag of them on Friday. I was so excited. Probably too excited for a bag of plums…

I’ve never baked a lot with plums, but really plums are never the star of the show…

It’s always peaches, nectarines, and cherries… well this one goes out to all the plums.

P.S. – Did you know that plum pudding doesn’t have any plums in it?!? I learned that on my google recipe search… so deceiving.

Anyways…. Plum Cobbler actually has plums in it! So start with plums cut into 1 inch pieces. I had smaller plums and just quartered them.

Once the plums are cut, add sugar and a little cornstarch and the filling is done!

While the fruit macerates, start on the biscuit topping. If we are all being honest, the point of a cobbler is the BISCUIT topping.

Start with corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and candied ginger. Pulse together and add in the cubed butter.

FYI – This probably isn’t for the figure watching crowd… there is a lot of buttah (see above). Consequently, it is ridiculously delicious.

After pulsing in the butter, add milk and ta-da! the biscuit dough is ready.

I substituted almond milk for regular milk, as well as adding in some warm spices (cinammon and nutmeg).

Once the dough is ready, pour the plum filling into the baking dish and drop spoonfuls of the dough on top. Easy as that! A sprinkle of turbinado sugar really just sets it over the top.

I went with 4 smaller sized portions, plus a single serving just for me! Taste-testing required.

I love the bright fuschia color of the cooked plums.

The tartness combined with the crunchy sweetness of the biscuit is the most perfect combination.

I’ve got just what I need to get me through today. Now, if only I could find the time to get my fall decorations up…

Here’s How to Do It:

Plum Cobbler 

Slightly Adapted from Huffington Post

Ingredients:

  • 4 pound(s) plums, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 2 tablespoon(s) cornstarch
  • 2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup(s) cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 2 tablespoon(s) minced candied ginger
  • 1 tablespoon(s) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon(s) kosher salt
  • 2 stick(s) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup(s) almond milk (or regular milk)
  • 1/8 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

  • Make the filling: In a bowl, toss the plums with the sugar and cornstarch and let stand for 10 minutes.
  • Make the dough: Preheat the oven to 375°. In a food processor, pulse the flour with the cornmeal, sugar, candied ginger, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Add the butter and pulse until crumbly. Add the milk and pulse until moistened.
  • Spread the filling into your chosen baking dish (this makes enough for a 9×13). I used 3 mini loafs, a 4X4, and a mini ramekin. Scoop mounds of dough over the filling and sprinkle lightly with turbinado sugar. Bake in the center of the oven for 50 minutes to an hour, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden and crisp. I baked my smaller versions for about 40 minutes, you mainly just want to check on it when it gets close and you can start to really smell it.
  • Let cool briefly before serving warm.
  • Recommended serving suggestion: whip cream and/or ice cream would be perfect pairings.

“Semi-Homemade” Mini Cupcakes

Last weekend, one of my best friends came in town for her bachelorette party.

Becky and I really enjoyed our time sitting in traffic. 🙂

Other than the traffic, we went to the zoo, went shopping, took a break from shopping for Trophy Cupcakes, and of course there was a bachelorette party! It was busy and sooo much fun.

I had the pina colada cupcake with rum buttercream. It had a layer of sweet pineapple on the bottom. Uh-maz-ing.

For the party, I gladly volunteered to make a sweet treat and as time flew by, I realized that maybe semi-homemade was the way to go.

What exactly is semi-homemade, you ask?!?

Ask Sandra Lee from the Food Network. She is a semi-homemade genius, not to mention she coordinates everything on the show from the outfit to the Kitchen Aid. It’s my everyday living sort-of dream. My mixing bowls matching my mixer matching my t-shirt??? I’m sold.

The semi part of the mini cupcakes is a tasty box of confetti cake mix.

The homemade part is this buttercream frosting recipe from Food Network. I didn’t change anything about it and it was off-the-charts delicious so I couldn’t resist sharing.

The cupcakes looked so much prettier before tumbling over in the car and sitting in traffic for nearly an hour to go approximately 5 miles (well, maybe that part was me).

More from the party… delicious veggie platter and scrumptious fruit tray!

To get the recipe, just click the link here, since I didn’t make any modifications.

I will leave you with a couple of tips from my experience…

1. Use a large bowl. Ideally, I would use a stand mixer, if I had one. See tip #2 below and you’ll understand why!

2. If you have to use a hand mixer, don’t use the whisk attachment. At least on my Cuisinart model, the whisk was WAY too flimsy and there was frosting everywhere. Literally, everywhere including the refrigerator 5 feet to the right of me. The regular mixing attachment worked just fine and got it plenty fluffy.

3. This icing keeps very well. I made it on Wednesday and decorated the cupcakes Saturday and it was every bit as fresh and tasty!

Happy mixing, spreading, and licking the bowl clean!