December is holiday time! Yay! When I think holidays (especially Christmas), I think peppermint. It’s just so festive and fun! You will definitely get your peppermint fill with these peppermint chocolate sandwich cookie truffles. OH. MY. YUM. If you’re confused what I mean by “chocolate sandwich cookie”, it’s just a very generic way of saying peppermint “Oreo” truffles. I decided not to play favorites because I did indeed use the generic brand that was labelled “chocolate sandwich cookies.” Guaranteed delicious no matter the brand. For reals.
I remember making chocolate sandwich cookie truffles in middle school home ec. class (Am I dating myself here? Do they still have that class??). In fact, I think that’s the only recipe I remember making in that class because, well, chocolate. You can’t forget a delicious chocolate recipe. Also, the original recipe literally has 3 ingredients…sandwich cookies, cream cheese, and chocolate chips. You don’t even really need a recipe for that. SCORE!
I used my homemade peppermint extract in this recipe. Amazing! Couple notes if you use a homemade extract…First of all, this isn’t baked so if you use an alcohol base in your extract, it will have a very small amount of alcohol in the final recipe (split over about 50 truffles). Also, I actually used a little extra extract than the recipe calls for (about 3 teaspoons instead of 2 teaspoons) because I find the homemade stuff isn’t quite as strong as store-bought. However, you also have peppermint candy cane dust to bring the peppermint flavor home so it’s not a huge deal if the extract isn’t super strong.
I love a strong peppermint flavor so you know for sure that something is peppermint. I ended up adding more and more peppermint to get the right flavor. I think I finally got there with this final recipe! Don’t forget a little candy cane garnish so everyone knows what deliciousness there is in that perfect little truffle!
If you love a peppermint and chocolate combo, check out these chocolate mint crinkle cookies. You will not be disappointed. I plan on making them again this weekend because you can never have enough!
1 package chocolate sandwich cookies (14.3-ounce, such as Oreos)
3 peppermint candy canes (plus 1-2 more for garnish)
8-ounce package of cream cheese
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
12-16 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips*
Crush the sandwich cookies with a rolling pin (or in a food processor) until they are a fine crumb. Set aside.
Use a food processor to pulverize 3 candy canes into fine pieces. You are almost looking for a dust-like consistency but a few fine pieces are okay (you definitely don't want someone to bite down on a large chunk of candy cane).
Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, beat together the cream cheese and peppermint extract until blended.
Beat in the crushed cookies and candy cane.
Form into 1" balls using a cookie scoop and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
While the truffles are cooling in the refrigerator, prep the peppermint garnish by crushing or food processing 1-2 candy canes into small pieces to sprinkle over the top.
Right before the truffles are ready to come out of the refrigerator, melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in a microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each increment.
Dip each truffle into the chocolate using 2 spoons to help the excess chocolate drip off. Place truffles on a parchment-lined baking sheet and immediately top with the peppermint garnish.
Let the chocolate set before storing in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator.
I ended up using one 12-ounce bag of chocolate chips plus about another 1/4 cup. You might be able to make it with just the 1 bag, but I'd recommend having more handy, just in case.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/
I keep a list of recipes I want to try and potentially post to the blog if they go well. I’ll be the first to admit that they don’t always go well. I burnt soup this weekend. One time I made mini pumpkin pies that turned into mini pumpkin blobs. I’ve made caramel filled rice cereal bars that were so chewy they could probably take out a filling. *Sigh*.
I’ll end my pity party there because there are also those recipes that are SPOT ON the moment I try them and it makes my day. Sometimes my week…small victories, people. Small victories. Let’s talk almond orange biscotti. SPOT ON! I didn’t even really know I had any love of biscotti until I made these. Can I just say again how SPOT ON these are?! Okay, I think you all get it.
A few of my favorite parts of these cookies are:
They look super fancy and hard to make BUT they’re not. For reals.
I’ve heard rumors that properly stored these guys can last like a few weeks or a month. I may never know if this is true.
The almond orange biscotti are not overly sweet thanks to the nut and citrus flavors.
Biscotti make it totally appropriate for adults to dunk their cookies. In fact, that’s what they’re made for!
This is a fairly traditional recipe for biscotti but let me tell you, I am psyched to try new combinations of flavors! Granted, most will probably involve dunking them in chocolate. I’m pretty sure most everyone will be okay with that.
P.S. I don’t drink coffee because I’m weird like that. I dunked these in milk. YUM.
Almond Orange Biscotti
A traditional biscotti, or twice baked cookie, that's perfect for dunking!
1 tablespoon orange zest (or zest from about 1 medium orange)
1 cup whole almonds, toasted*
1 tablespoon water
chocolate chips, to dip biscotti (1-2 cups depending on how you dip them)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
Beat in 4 eggs, vanilla, and orange zest until it forms a ball. It will start out looking rather crumbly so be patient!
Stir in toasted almonds.
With clean, damp hands form 2 logs on parchment-lined baking sheets. Each log should be about 4 inches wide and 3/4 inch tall.
Whisk together remaining egg and water for egg wash. Brush each log with egg wash.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top, rotating pans at the halfway point.
Transfer logs to a wire rack and let cool for about 20 minutes.
Use a large serrated knife to cut 3/4 inch slices. I cut mine on the bias, or diagonal, but you can also cut straight across.
Place the slices, standing up, on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for another 25 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Melt the chocolate chips (I used a double boiler but you could also microwave them, checking and stirring every 30 seconds). Dip* biscotti in chocolate and let cool on parchment paper.
Store in an airtight container.
*To toast the almonds, I just put the whole almonds in a dry skillet over medium-low heat and toasted them until they started to become fragrant
*I dipped my biscotti in chocolate along the bottom edge but you could also dunk them in the chocolate (like you would dunk it into a drink). I've even seen some with drizzle on them. I like the bottom coated because you get a little chocolate in every bite but it doesn't cover up the cookie so you can still dunk it in your drink!
By Flavor From Scratch
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/
Dirt pudding is one of my guilty pleasures. It’s slightly addictive. And by slightly, I mean I purposefully put these in separate mason jars to stop me from sneaking a spoonful every time I passed the refrigerator. It’s a real life problem in my house. I mean, Oreos? Pudding? Cream cheese? Whipped topping? If you’re not with me there, I’m not sure we’re friends. Just kidding! Of course I’ll be your friend. But you WILL have some explaining to do.
I actually would usually make this dirt pudding layered in a large glass bowl. It’s beautiful to have the layers showing that way! It would certainly be just as delicious in a not-see-through serving dish but not nearly as pretty. And they say you eat with your eyes so I highly recommend making it pretty. PLUS, mason jars are perfect for desserts on the go! Bring this to a picnic and you’ll be the star.
To be fair, pretty isn’t the same thing as perfect. The mason jars or a glass bowl might be pretty, but don’t get me wrong…I would call these less than perfect in execution. We’ll go with “rustic charm” or “homemade” for this one. It’s all in how you sell it. Yeah…
You could actually put the pudding mixture into a piping bag or zip top bag with the corner cut off and pipe it in the mason jars. That would have surely made less of a mess than what I made. Where’s the fun in that though??
Regardless of how “homemade” this pudding looks or what kind of container or bowl you serve it in, you will not be disappointed. This pudding is a sure win with any audience. Just be warned to hide it if you’re making it for yourself (or in my case for my husband and I). You may eat 10 days worth of calories in 1 sitting if you’re not careful. You think I jest? I wish! Just give it a try and see how serious I am.
Okay, so I very much realize that it is halfway through January and many of you may be trying to eat healthy or exercise or do something good for yourself as a New Year’s resolution. Way to go! I’d like to think that these chocolate mint crinkle cookies fall into that “do something good for yourself” category. If you’re not with me on that one, maybe stop reading here because I certainly don’t want to be to blame for a failed diet attempt. I am declaring no responsibility.
/Whew/ With that off my conscience I can start to talk about why I believe this is doing something good for yourself. Ummm…chocolate. Cookie. Mint. Covered in powdered sugar. Chocolate chips. Baked to chewy perfection.
Seriously, is this even a question why these are good for you? I’m not talking about the nutrition facts here. If that’s the case, no. No, these are probably not good for you one bit. I’m talking about the fact that maybe a little powdered sugar-covered, chocolate chip filled, chewy, minty, chocolate cookie could make your day 1006% better. Even if you’re day is already spot on.
These cookies are almost like little brownies. Like think of that section of the brownie that’s between the edge and the middle. Not too soft, not too chewy. Just perfect. Yes, that’s a good word for this cookie. Perfect. That’s not even taking into account the fact that they are beautiful! You can totally impress whoever you want with these things.
Crinkle cookies are definitely are not hard to make but make sure to leave yourself a good amount of time because they are refrigerated before you bake them! I actually made the dough the night before I baked them, but you really only need a couple of hours to refrigerate. When I made them ahead though it was a breeze to roll, coat in powdered sugar, and bake. Give it a try!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with joy and happiness. And turkey. And mashed potatoes. And pie…certainly can’t forget the pie! Since we’re already on the topic of dessert, let’s talk pudding.
Boxed pudding is one of those mysterious things in life. Just about everyone who has made pudding in the past 50 years or so is bound to have made the stuff. It’s ridiculously simple to make…add some milk, mix, and refrigerate. Voilà! It’s done and ready to eat. Way too simple to even *think* about making your own. That’s where you’re wrong! I thought the same thing! It’s definitely not hard from what I have experienced.
While my husband and I were devouring this pudding, he asked why we never made pudding from scratch before because it was so simple. Seriously…why hadn’t we? Besides just defaulting to the boxed stuff, probably because I had been brainwashed into thinking it would be the hardest thing in the world to make…that’s why. So stop being brainwashed by horror stories of homemade pudding gone wrong and give it a try.
You’re not convinced yet, are you? Well take a look at the ingredients. Nothing in there is the slightest bit scary. Sugar. Cocoa powder. Milk. Eggs. Butter. Need I continue?? I even had most everything in my pantry or refrigerator already! WIN!
For those of you that are on board with me, great. For those of you that are STILL not convinced, let me tell you how rich and creamy and smooth this pudding is. Not only that, but it has so much depth of flavor that the boxed stuff covers up with who knows what. You will be shocked and amazed at the deep chocolate flavor. Shocked and amazed. Doesn’t that sound awesome?
That’s all I have, folks. If you aren’t convinced, I am sorry for your loss of delicious pudding in your life. At least I can say I tried.