April 9, 2010

On Oreo Cheesecake truffles.

Posted in Baking, Bite-Sized, No-Bake, Recipe tagged , , , , , , at 10:39 pm by Dani

On, around, near, and ALL OVER these gosh darn truffles. I have a serious food crush on these things.

It’s another recipe inspired by Recipe Rhapsody. I’m not sure if she got it from somewhere else or if she invented it herself. All I have to say is that if she imagined these up herself, she sure deserves an award. They’re DELICIOUS.

I found this recipe while browsing her archives, and immediately knew I had something magical in front of me. First of all, I can’t resist a bite-sized anything. If you’ve been reading regularly, you probably know that already. Secondly, while I’m not a big fan of eating oreo cookies plain, oreos are a dessert-lover’s dream.

oreos

Oreo flavored things are delicous. Actually, delicious doesn’t cover it. Have you ever seen the commercials for Philadelphia Cream cheese circa 2007? You know, where they’re all in heaven? That’s how putting oreos in my dessert makes me feel.

You got philly in my oreo! You got oreo in my philly! Mmmmmmm.

The only changes I made to the recipe she gave was to add 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, and to call them “Oreo Cheescake Truffles”, as opposed to simply “Oreo Truffles”.

I added the sugar because when I whipped up the batter without it, I couldn’t appreciate the truffles as a new creation. By that I mean that when combining ingredients to make something new, I want the product to stand on its own as a brand new creation; better than the sum of its parts. The recipe without the sugar felt like eating oreo and cream cheese rather than an Oreo Cheesecake truffle. Adding the confectioner’s sugar changed it all. Suddenly I was eating a little bite of cheesecake, and it was wonderful. A love affair was born.

Fine. You guys can make it too. I’ll try not to get jealous.

oreo cheesecake truffles

We'll talk about those pink ones later this week. The Oreo Cheesecake Truffles are the brown ones.

1 package (1 lb. 2 oz) Oreo cookies

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

Chocolate for coating. We’ll talk about this later.*

1. Pour cookies into your food processor. Veronica at Recipe Rhapsody warned that if you use all the cookies, you’ll end up with about 1 cup too much. I don’t mind that so much since I just kept the extra in a plastic bag for later. I’m always looking for things that are more interesting than sprinkles. If you’re bothered by the prospect of leftover crushed oreo, then set about 8-10 aside and eat them later. Run food processor until oreos are ground very fine.

2. Pour 3 cups ground oreo into a mixing bowl, and add in softened cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar. Mix with you hands. This will get messy–get over it. Use gloves if you can’t handle it.

3. Coat. Sprinkle leftover ground oreo over truffles.

4. Enjoy.

5. Enjoy again.

6. Stop. Control yourself.

7. Okay, just one more.

Sigh. These are seriously amazing.

*Its later. Lets talk about coating. A few days ago I wrote about coating using real chocolate. I said that I didn’t know what chocolate candy coating was, and didn’t find it necessary. Well, kids, this time I tried using chocolate candy coating. I bought dark cocoa Wilton Candy Melts® at my nearest craft store to see what would happen.

Here’s what I learned. Candy Melts® do indeed melt better. They stay melted well in bowls with any specific heat. They don’t harden too quickly, which is great because you don’t have to keep nuking your chocolate, but also makes it near impossible to roll the chocolates around in sprinkles or whatever topping you’re using. If you want a topping on the chocolate and you’re using candy coating, you must sprinkle them over the truffles, not roll the truffles in them.

I also learned that candy coating doesn’t taste as good as real chocolate. It might have been this brand. Most recipes call for something called “bark candy coating,” but I couldn’t find it anywhere. It may very well taste better. If you have it, go ahead and taste it. It might be tasty.

However, if your coating chocolate doesn’t taste great you’re going to have to ask yourself: what is more important; ease or quality? Normally, I’d say try to find somewhere in the middle, but this is an either/or kind of situation. So what will I do? I’ll be using real chocolate. My kitchen is the only place in my life where I happily work extra hard to make something better. That being said, it is good to know that this other chocolate stuff exists for times when I’m really rushing.

Last thing I want to share: I used my normal method with this new chocolate: roll truffle around in chocolate using two forks, and then place truffle only one fork and let most of the excess drip off.

April 7, 2010

On 2 kinds of truffles.

Posted in Baking, Bite-Sized, No-Bake, Recipe tagged , , , , , , , , at 2:42 pm by Dani

About a month ago I made truffles for a friend’s birthday party. They were a smash hit, and I highly recommend making them for any event. They’re another example of a food that looks more impressive than it actually is. I didn’t alter the recipes when I made them, with the exception of excluding nuts, and I can’t imagine anything making them any better. So without further ado, the truffle recipes:

Alton Brown’s Chocolate Truffles:

(Note: This yields about 20 truffles, depending on how big you make them.)

10 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

3 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon light corn syrup (I used dark and it still came out great)

1/4 cup brandy (I used chocolate liqueur once, and it didn’t taste as good. Stick with brandy.)

1. Place the 10 ounces of chocolate and butter in a medium size glass mixing bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir, and repeat this process 1 more time. Set aside.

2. Heat the heavy cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture over the melted chocolate mixture; let stand for 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir gently until all chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth and creamy. Gently stir in the brandy (don’t be worried if it doesn’t combine easily. Water into fat = resistance. Just keep stirring).

3. Pour the mixture into an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

4. Using a melon baller, scoop chocolate onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

5. While its in the fridge, you’ll be prepping your work station for coating the truffles, but we’ll talk about that after I present the recipe for the next set of truffles.

The next type of truffles are….

Paula Deen’s Cookie Dough Truffles:

Note: this makes a whole heaping lot of truffles. The recipe says 5 dozen, but mine were a bit smaller so I easily had 75 truffles, even after munching on the batter prematurely. Keep this in mind and scale down accordingly.

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cup all-purpose flour

1   (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate morsels

1 cup finely chopped pecans (I excluded these)

1. In a large bowl cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy (5-10 min).

2. Add vanilla. Gradually beat in flour and add milk. Add chocolate morsels and pecans (or just morsels, if you’re me), mixing well. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place on waxed paper; chill 2 hours.

Now lets talk about coating truffles

April 3, 2010

On re-using gross bakery cakes that no one wants.

Posted in Baking, Birthdays, Bite-Sized, Holidays, No-Bake, Rescues at 2:51 pm by Dani

Note: There are a lot of words in this post. Don’t be intimidated–it’s just because you have 2 options.

I can’t take credit for most of this one. Credit belongs to the lovely blogger over at recipe rhapsody who got the idea from Bakerella. She blogged about these little cake pop concoctions and I just HAD to try it. But it’s Passover! Not to fear, ladies and gentlemen. I found a way around it.

Too lazy to click on the link? Basically, what she made were cake pops and cake balls, comprise of crumbled cake from a cake mix, and the frosting that you buy from the store. Mix them up and coat with chocolate. It looks amazing on her site!

Cake Pop

First, a little story:

Wednesday was my mom’s birthday, and it was also my sister’s baby shower. I had already made my mom an epic cake for the seder a few days earlier, so I didn’t think about doing it again on her actual birthday. Once the shower had already started, my two sisters and I decided that it was thoughtless of us not to have a cake for our mom, who after all threw a whole baby shower on hardly a week’s notice. So I was assigned the task of driving out to the nearest bakery we knew of that had kosher cakes (about 10-15 min drive). They had two options: one twice the price of the other. I was tempted to get the more expensive one because it was a flourless cake (YUM!). I resisted and instead bought the 7-layer cake (4 layers of passover sponge cake with 3 layers of frosting in between). It was one of those small 8″ rectangle cakes. Let me tell you, it didn’t taste very good.

So now, 2 days after the shower/birthday, we’re left with almost a whole cake that no one wants to eat. Which got me thinking–if the recipe for cake pops calls for cake with a heap of frosting, how is that any different from a pre-assembled cake comprised of cake and frosting? It’s not, that’s how.

Chocolate or Chocolate-Banana Cake Balls:

Please read the whole of the directions before you start. There’s two sets of instructions in there, and you don’t want to start working only to realize you have to start over.

Pre-Assembled Cake

This cake was not tasty at all.

1. Start with a pre-assembled 7-layer cake. If it’s a different cake you have, just make sure it’s got cake and frosting. It might even work if it’s cake, frosting, and something else. It might add a little special kick, so go for it anyway! Shave off whatever is around the cake. You can put it back in if you want later, so don’t throw anything out. If the cake has parts with sprinkles or toppings and parts without like mine did, just try to keep those parts separate.

Cake sans-outer frosting

It's looking kind of sad right now.

2. Put the cake into a bowl and mush it up with your hands, Thanksgiving stuffing style. Just keep mushing until it’s cohesive. I suppose this could be done in a food processor, but why make it dirty when hands are so much easier to clean? Just make sure you wash your hands with soap before you start. I found that my cake didn’t have enough frosting in it for the batter to hold together, so I added some of the sprinkle-less frosting that I removed in step 1 (not all of it–that would have been too much).

3a. When you’re done, form it into a ball. Refrigerate for about an hour. More or less.

4a. Remove from fridge. Roll into little balls, the size of which is totally up to you. I did about 1.5″ diameter for what I plan on calling “cake balls,” as opposed to “cake truffles.”

cakeballs

Take 1. Keep reading for take 2.

Steps 5+ will be the same for both methods, so see below for what to do now. But first taste it. If it doesn’t taste good, you may want to do the second method which you can read about below.

At this point I tasted it and realize that no amount of mushing could disguise the taste of the passover cake. Your cake might be different. I highly suggest you try it, and see how it tastes. If it’s good, you might want to leave it like that. If not, do this:

3b. Add 1 whole ripe banana. Keep mushing. It’s going to be softer than it was without the banana. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Remove from fridge. separate into chunks. Don’t worry about balling them. Put back in fridge for about 45 minutes, more or less depending on how much it warmed while you were working with it during this step.

take 2

Take 2. Don't worry about the shape. That's the next step.

4b. Remove from fridge, and ball (quickly!).

This is where the two methods converge:

5. Melt 12 oz chocolate in a bowl, carefully. If doing this in the microwave, stop nuking just before it’s all melted together. DO NOT OVERDO THE MICROWAVING.

6. Coat balls with melted chocolate. Sprinkle.

Careful with step 6, especially if you used the banana. I completely messed up a couple of balls until I found a good method.

Be really gentle because the banana makes the balls super soft. I used two spoons to dip the balls into the chocolate, roll them around, then extract them. Don’t stab, hit, or even gently poke the balls with the spoons. Pick them up from underneath ONLY. After you’ve extracted the ball, let it sit on the spoon for a few seconds until most of the excess chocolate has dripped off. Place the ball onto a cookie sheet lined with a sheet of wax paper (don’t forget to use wax paper. It’s very important) by inverting the ball onto the surface, and slowly taking the spoon off. Sprinkle. Don’t try to pick it up, please. Repeat with all balls, and place in fridge, as is. I hope you haven’t tried to pick up any you thought were hardened. If you did, you know that it won’t work.

Leave the coated balls in the fridge for a good 30 minutes just to be sure, by which time you can easily remove them from the paper. I wish someone had told me all that before I started…It would have saved me a big mess.

donezo

You can tell I started with the yellow, and ended with the blue. I got the hang if it by the end. The blue and green ones are when I finally figured out to use wax paper and refrigerate.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about what happened with the shower: My mom didn’t even notice I was gone, and was totally surprised that we had come up with a cake out of thin air!

April 2, 2010

On my favorite Passover dessert.

Posted in Baking, Bite-Sized, Holidays, No-Bake, Recipe tagged , , , , at 10:47 pm by Dani

Actually, it’s my favorite desert ever. It’s from an Israeli cookbook, and yes folks; I’m going to translate the recipe for you. You should know that this is a big deal, since though I’m a native hebrew speaker, I can barely read the language.

So here it is, with a couple of my ammendments, and know this took me forever to read out of the book, but I do it for you:

chocoalte log completed

This is a picture-phone photo of the photo in the book. I swear, one day I'll get a real camera.

Chocolate Log:

8 matzahs

1 cup sweet wine (aka Manaschewitz)

200 grams unsweetened chocolate (just over 7 oz)

1/2 cup milk

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

1 tsp instant coffee

1/2 cup margarine (or butter, but the recipe calls for margerine), room temp

3 tbsp brandy (or orange liqueur, but I highly recommend using brandy)

You’ll also need aluminum foil.

1. Crumble matzah in a medium sized bowl. Pour wine in.

2. On low heat, melt the chocolate, milk, cocoa powder, sugar, and coffee. Remove from heat and immediately add margarine and brandy. Stir until margarine melts completely.

3. Remove wine from matzah, gently squeezing out the excess. Gently, people, but still effectively. You don’t want a watery product, nor do you want to crush the matzah too small.

4. Add chocolate mixture, and stir to combine. Be sure to coat all the matzah.

5. Separate the mixture into two equal parts. Grease 2 sheets of foil, about 18″ long each. Pour mixture onto foil in a strip, and roll it up in the foil. The cookbook says to refrigerate overnight, but I always stick it in the freezer instead. That way when you serve it, it won’t get all messy and gross by the time people get to it.

This is what it should look like going into the fridge/freezer

6. When ready to serve, remove from foil and slice into pieces about 1/2″ thick. Put each piece into a cupcake baking cup.