Tuesday, November 30, 2010

BACON Oreo Truffles

Do you remember the commercials with that old lady that's always asking, "Where's the beef?"? Of course, you do. Well that's like me...only with pork, bacon to be exact. I could also be compared to the Frank's Red Hot Lady b/c "I put that $h!% on everything!" I actually also put Frank's on everything (well, I at least used to). Unfortunately, I had to switch over to Texas Pete's Hotter Hot Sauce awhile ago but only because I can't find Frank's Xtra Hot ANYWHERE! Lame.

Anypig, when I saw the recipe for Oreo Truffles, my first thought was, "Where's the bacon?" Did you know there's a pig shortage? But does the increasing price of bacon hinder me? Ha! Never! You can't put a price on awesome. And that's just what these babies are.

(Oh my gosh, do you see the chunks of bacon????)

Bacon Oreo Truffles

Ingredients
  • 1pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups crushed Oreos (creme included)
  • 12 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • white chocolate bark
Directions
  1. Process Oreos into a fine crumb in a food processor.
  2. Mix Oreo crumbs and cream cheese until blended.
  3. Stir in crumbled bacon.
  4. Roll tablespoon of mix into ball shape (should make around 48). Let chill.
  5. Melt bark and dip truffles into bark.
  6. Let chocolate set and then enjoy the heck out of those things.
Who doesn't love Oreos...and bacon? So when you put them together, well, that's some Harry Potter magic right there. I'm getting low on ways to say that they were faboosh and everyone really enjoyed them, so we'll just leave it at that.

No marriage proposals this time around, but a few choice words were uttered. I'll take it.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Super Simple Pumpkin Tiramisu

My brother and his wife recently bought a townhouse and wanted to host Thanksgiving. So we made the trek up to MD on Wednesday night and I busted out this award-winning dessert for dinner the next day.

I know what you're thinking, "Becky, did you say 'award-wining'?" Why, yes, I did. Thanks for asking. Wanna hear the story? Of course, you do.

Last year our church held a pumpkin-themed cooking/baking contest. They had a few categories: entree, dessert, most creative and overall greatest-pumpkin-based-food-you'll-ever-eat-in-your-entire-life-prepared-by-the-most-awesome-person-you'll-ever-meet-in-your-life. Guess which category I won for my Pumpkin Tiramisu? Suffice to say I thought it would be a good idea to reprise this recipe for Thanksgiving.

I found the recipe on Epicurious.com. And this Super Simple Pumpkin Tiramisu didn't lie to me (unlike the penuche frosting)! It IS super simple!


Super Simple Pumpkin Tiramisu

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2c chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4c sugar
  • 8oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 15oz. pumpkin pure
  • 1 1/2t pumpkin pie spice
  • 2pkgs (3oz. each) halved ladyfingers
  • 1/4c rum
  • 2oz. thin ginger snap cookies, crushed
Directions
  1. Beat mascarpone, pumpkin and pie spice until well combined (no streaks of cheese).
  2. Beat whipping cream and sugar until peaks form.
  3. Fold whipped cream into pumpkin mixture until fully incorporated.
  4. Line bottom of 8 1/2-inch spring-form pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with 1 package ladyfingers, overlapping and crowding to fit. Brush with 2T rum.
  5. Spread half of filling over ladyfingers.
  6. Repeat with second package ladyfingers, remaining 2T rum, and remaining filling. Smooth.
  7. Wrap tightly in plastic, then foil. Chill overnight. (Wanted to make sure you saw this.)
  8. To unmold, run knife around inside edge of pan. Release and remove pan side.
  9. Sprinkle with ginger snap cookies immediately before serving.
Based on the reviews, I switched up the recipe just a bit. (The recipe above reflects my changes). I doubled the pumpkin pie spice (it needed to be stepped up a notch), beat the pumpkin mixture together first (for a smoother consistency), and used ginger cookies instead of another kind (Oh snap!) that I don't feel like going back to see how to spell correctly. I think all of these changes were an improvement as it won me an apron (!) last year.

You have to put the cookies on the top only right before you cut it because they can soften up quickly and the texture of the crunchy cookies really adds to the final outcome.

This is truly a great fall recipe that you can put together in a jiffy (the night before you need it, that is).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Candy Corn Bark

What do ghosts where when it rains? If you guess "ghoulashes," you would be correct. I would also accept "Boooooooooooooooooooots." High-oh!

This was surprisingly my only Halloween-specific treat this year...so far (I've got a few packs of Halloween Peeps that I'm saving for when we get a Fry Daddy).

Chocolate bark has become popular recently. I think it's a wonderful way to make a quicky (typo and it stays! oh my!) and easy personalized treat. Just melt a bag of your favorite type of chocolate chip; spread it on some wax paper; throw whatever your heart desires atop the chocolate and let it cool.

These particular ingredients had a Halloween flair to them.

Candy Corn Baking Bark

Ingredients
  • 12oz white chocolate chips
  • 1/2c or so pretzels, broken
  • 1/2c or so Oreos, broken
  • 1/2c or so candy corn
  • 1 bottle Halloween-themed sprinkles
Eh, with measuring the mix-ins, you just kind of have to feel things out.

Directions
  1. Make sure all of your mix-ins are ready to go.
  2. Cover baking sheet with sheet of wax paper.
  3. Melt entire bag of chips and pour onto wax paper.
  4. Spread chocolate over wax paper with spatula.
  5. Distribute mix-ins evenly over chocolate and press in.
  6. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes, then break apart and enjoy.
Easy to make and even easier to eat. We had a bunch of the college kids from church over on Sunday for crazy pancakes. I have a few leftover mix-ins from that lunch that I might have to throw in to a batch of chocolate bark for next week's trivia night. That's where I took this batch of bark and it was a big hit.

I am actually very interested in trying a handful of different combos of chips and mix-ins. And, yes, both cereal and bacon will be involved. Duh.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Congo Bars (aka Blondies with Coconut)

Whenever I hear the word "congo," I think "Amy, pretty." and "Ugly gorillas, ugly. Go away." It's the movie with the monkey that signs and wears a machine that makes it seem like she's talking. But I digress.

Any-non-chocolate-brownies, I am still on a fall-oriented baking kick. Blondies remind you of fall, right? Well, if they don't, they should because that's why I made them.

Technically with the addition of toasted coconut they become Congo Bars. I don't particularly understand why coconut makes the descriptor "Congo" apt, but I'll go with it.


Congo Bars

Ingredients
  • 7 1/2oz AP flour
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1/2t salt
  • 12T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 10 1/2 oz brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (Why do recipes specify LARGE eggs? Are they really that much bigger?)
  • 1 1/2t vanilla
  • 1/2c semisweet chocolate chips (ATK says to use these instead of butterscotch)
  • 1/2c white chocolate chips
  • 1c pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2c unsweetened coconut, toasted
Directions
  1. Purchase this immediately. Don't make any more brownies, blondies, or other dessert-y bars without it. And spray with veggie oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
  3. In a different bowl, whisk the melted butter and brown sugar together until combined.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  5. Fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined. Do not overmix (...or else. BUM BUM BUM!)
  6. Fold in the semisweet and white chocolate chips, toasted coconut, and the nuts.
  7. Pour mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees until the top is shiny and cracked and feels firm to the touch (22 to 25 min).
  9. Place the pan on a rack and let cool completely.
To toast the coconut: Bake at 350 degrees, stirring 2 to 3 times, until light golden, for 4 to 5 minutes.

The Baker's Edge? We have one; it's awesome. That is, if you have a preference for edges. And brownies, etc. bake more evenly in this pan.

These Congo bars were thick and rich. I had really wanted to use butterscotch chips, but ATK said that the flavor didn't stand out enough and their tasters had responded much more favorably to semisweet. ATK has yet to let me down, so I was happy to follow their advice. I think it turned out well.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Guinness, Baileys and Jameson Cake Balls: Attempt 1

On Wednesday nights, we go to a local pizza joint for team trivia. It's fun times, tasty food and an opportunity for me to try out my baking on some new people. This week I was commissioned to make a dessert that contained alcohol. "Done and done." I thought. I hadn't made cake balls in a while, so I knew I wanted to work something out with those AND my past experience with baking an this kind of cake was a good one. I just needed to figure out a way to get it done quickly and easily. Success!

Let's break these suckers down...


Guinness, Baileys and Jameson Cake Balls: Attempt 1

Ingredients


Cake

  • 1 box choc. cake mix (and required eggs and oil)
  • 1 bottle Guinness (to be used instead of water)
Frosting

  • 1 can (8oz) white frosting
  • 4T Bailey's
  • 1/4c p. sugar
Whiskey Syrup
  • 2T Jameson Whiskey
  • 1/4c water
  • 1/4c sugar
  • vanilla baking bark
Directions

  1. Bake cake as directed, but use beer when it calls for water.
  2. Cool cake completely and crumble into a large bowl.
  3. Mix Bailey's and frosting until incorporated and then mix in powdered sugar until smooth.
  4. Add frosting to cake crumbs and mix and mash until combined.
  5. Scoop into tablespoon-sized balls and chill in freezer for 30min.
  6. Meanwhile, heat water and sugar on stove over medium heat until sugar dissolves completely.
  7. Take sugar mixture off of the stove, add in the whiskey and let it cool.
  8. Remove cake balls from freezer and drunk (typo and it stays) ...or DUNK them into the whiskey syrup.
  9. Put the cake balls back in the freezer for a good long while.
  10. Melt the baking bark (more instructions later due to shoddy results) and coat the cake balls.
  11. Booze it up!
These little cake balls were more than troublesome. The whiskey syrup coating caused the baking bark to seize up after two or three cake balls were dipped. I wasted a lot of time and baking bark trying to figure out how to coat these miscreants. I finally figured out that I had to just melt a bunch of bark, and distribute it among several bowls so I wouldn't ruin the whole batch.

They were a pain pain pain pain pain. But they were worth it.
They were super moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside, and you could really taste each flavor of booze. Lots and lots of moans on this one. 

I still have a few in my fridge if anyone is interested.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin up the Jam...or Dip

Just wanted to remind you that it is fall. And the best way to do that is to make something involving pumpkin.

I got this recipe from one of my bible study cohorts. As I have mentioned before, we try to make things that are gluten-free on those nights. I thought this was a particularly good outcome of the gf experience.


Pumpkin Dip

Ingredients
  • 60z. cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/2c brown sugar
  • 1/2c canned pumpkin
  • 2t maple syrup
  • 1/2t cinnamon
Directions
  1. Put first 3 ingredients in bowl and beat with mixer really well until cream cheese lumps are out.
  2. Add syrup and cinnamon and beat until smooth.
  3. Cover and chill for 30 min.

The recipes suggested that I serve the dip with apples or ginger snaps. But I served it with apples AND ginger snaps. Fall-i-est. Combo. Ever.

It's smooth and creamy and it goes great with both the apples and the cookies. I would recommend it as a quick and easy appetizer/side/dessert to take with you to a party or put out when you have a few guests coming over.

Chocolate Covered Twinkies

We went to the NC state fair in October and it was AWESOME! By the time I was done trying everything I wanted to, I was oozing oil. Good times. I went with my friend Sara (among a handful of other rockin' people) and she almost got herself a chocolate-covered Twinkie...but I talked her out of it.

"Pshht!" I said. "I could totally make those for you and it won't cost you $3." So that's what I did.


Chocolate-Covered Twinkies

Ingredients
  • Twinkies (as many as you want to make)
  • baking bark
  • accompaniments (I chose sprinkles, coconut and chopped peanuts)

Directions
  1. Free (typo and it stays...or freeze) the Twinkies.
  2. Ready your accompaniments so you can roll the covered Twinkies in them immediately after they are dipped.
  3. Melt your chocolate.
  4. Dip the Twinkies in the chocolate and then roll them in whatever. Optional: Cut the Twinkies in half. I found it was easy to coat them this way.
  5. Let them chill and serve those babies up.
The sprinkles were the clear winner. I would just suggest foregoing all other topping options. I liked when the chocolate was cold and crunchy, but Kyle preferred the Twinkies after they had warmed and the chocolate didn't crack when you bit into the sugary goodness. They were super good and ridiculously easy to make.

Sara was pleased she waited. (At the fair, she got a Bloomin' Onion instead of the Twinkie.)