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.

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March 19, 2010

On themed parties and cupcakes.

Posted in Baking, Cake, Recipe tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:02 am by Dani

This past weekend, a good friend of mine celebrated her 26th birthday with a little blast-from-the-past party: kindergarten themed! Of course, little ol’ me volunteered, well actually insisted on making the deserts. My original plan was a layer cake: plain yellow cake with chocolate ganache and strawberries. I made 1/3 of a batch of yellow cake to see how it would taste, and was heading out to the market to purchase chocolate, when I saw the cutest little girls in green vests outside my market. That’s right, it’s GIRL SCOUT COOKIE SEASON.

Girl Scouts

Adorable

What a better way to celebrate childhood than with some girl scout cookie themed cupcakes! So here was the plan:

4 types of cupcakes, each in the theme of a girl scout cookie:

  • Tag Along: Chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting
  • Thin Mint: Chocolate cake with mint frosting
  • Lemon Chalet Creme: Yellow cake with lemon frosting
  • Shortbread Trefoils: Yellow cake with sugar vanilla frosting
Cupcakes

Completed Cupcakes

First, the cake. For the yellow I used Paula Deen’s basic 1-2-3-4 cake recipe. This cake recipe is a standard, crowd pleasing southern cake that every Louisiana grandmother makes for her grandchildren’s birthday.

I love Paula Deen’s desserts, even if they are a little butter heavy. This, however, I do not endorse:

But, I digress.

Lets talk cake first:

This is Paula’s recipe. Just a few notes: I made this cake twice, and it seems the key to a moist and fluffy texture is to (1) sift the flour once before you measure it (make sure you sift directly into the measuring cup) and then once you’ve got your 3 cups, sift it again. Also, (2) 6-8 minutes is a minimum creaming time in my opinion. I creamed the butter alone for a good 5 or so minutes with my hand mixer, then for at least 10 more minutes once I added the sugar. THIS REALLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE. Don’t be lazy. My shoulder was only burning a little by the time I finished, but it was worth it (if anyone wants to buy me a stand mixer for my birthday, I’d basically love you forever). Also, I added a little almond extract. I couldn’t taste almond, per se, but it gave it a little indiscernible kick. I poured the batter into a cupcake pan, filling each hole about 2/3 of the way. Cupcakes always cook faster than cakes, so I checked on the cupcakes at 10 minutes, and every few minutes afterwards. Check by inserting and removing a toothpick from the center of a cupcake. When it comes out clean you know it’s done (about 15 minutes cooking time total) and you can remove the cupcakes and let them cool.

Trefoil Cupcake

Trefoil Cupcake = White cake + sugar vanilla frosting

For the chocolate cake I used the recipe on the Kroger Baking Cocoa can. I am personally a big fan of recipes that are found directly on the products. There is an exception: recipes that refer to each ingredient according to brand. It irritates me on principle, and I try to steer clear of these. But the recipes where the only brand is the product on which the recipe is found tend to be great. The makers want to really highlight their ingredient, which means the recipe will taste great, and since the recipes are meant for the average every day grocery shopper they tend to be really simple. So here it goes:

Chocolate Lover’s Cake:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

2 cups sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 sticks margarine (I used butter, also 2 sticks usually means 1 cup, in case your sticks are differently sized)

1/4 cup Kroger Baking Cocoa

1 cup water

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

Blend sugar and flour in a large bowl (I sifted them together). Combine 2

sticks margarine (I used butter), Kroger Baking Cocoa and water in a saucepan: bring quickly to a boil. Pour over flour mixture and mix well. Add buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and baking soda, mix well. Next pour into the cupcake pan, filling each about 3/4 of the way, and baked for about 15 minutes. Do the same process with the toothpick, and be careful not to over cook any of these cakes.

Thin Mint Cupcake

Thin Mint Cupcake = Chocolate cake + mint frosting

Now you’re ready for frosting!