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 hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was filled with family, laughter, and LOTS of food (of course!). I pretty much ate my weight in potatoes, rolls, turkey, and pie last week. I don’t regret it…but I think I do need a little time to let the food settle.
I’m sure many of you have some extra apples lying around this time of year. No matter how wonderful that Thanksgiving apple pie was, the thought of any more pie at this moment does NOT sound appetizing to me. Ask me in like a week and my tune might change…but for now, let’s talk apple chips! A little lighter apple snack is worth a shot and these are SO DELICIOUS!
These oven-baked apple chips are super easy to make. Good food that requires little work = happy Steph. I’m sure this resonates with more people than just me. Especially after the busy Thanksgiving baking/cooking rush. You do need some patience, but you don’t need to fuss with the recipe for sure. It’s a breeze!
My little guy devoured these apple chips. As you can see, he even helped put them on the tray. Well…he did if “helped” means “took each of them off the tray and made me chase him so he didn’t drop them all over the floor.” I try to give him some credit at least for being interested in cooking. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with ways to have our little ones help in the kitchen. This could have potentially been a great activity if he didn’t love dropping things on the floor and eating apples…Maybe you’ll have better luck with your little ones. Let me know how it works out for you! (p.s. the picture shows an unlined baking sheet. I tried it lined and unlined. They both work but lined is much easier!)
*Note: Please don’t let your kids use a mandolin if they help. They can certainly help mix and put the slices on the trays though!
5 apples (I used Granny Smith and Fuji, but you can use whatever you'd like)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use a mandolin on the thinnest setting to slice the apples*. Remove the seeds as you go.
Toss the apple slices with the sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Place the apple slices on parchment-lined baking sheets (or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheets) in a single layer. It's okay if they slightly overlap, but you want most of them in a single layer.
Bake for 1 hour, flip the apple slices over, and bake for an additional half hour to 1 hour. The amount of time needed will depend on the the thickness of the apples. The apples will not be completely crisp until they cool, but you want them to feel mostly dry to the touch.
Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container.
*You can either core the apples prior to cutting, or leave the core in and remove the seeds as they are sliced. I did not core my apples and it worked great.
If the apple chips begin to get soggy, throw them back in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for a few minutes until they crisp up again.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/
These lemon shortbread cookies…oh my. They are SCRUMPTIOUS! They literally melt. in. your. mouth. They just might be my new favorite cookie. Since the recipe is just a combination of household pantry/fridge staples, I find it real hard not to make these cookies every day of my life. I kind of want to go make them now. But I won’t. Self-control…
I made these little delicacies for a bridal shower for one of my bestest friends. Everyone loved them! I did something you’re never supposed to do though. I made these for the FIRST time for the shower. That’s risky business because you never know if they’ll turn out. I had faith though, and was well rewarded for my trust in these cookies. Whew!
I do have to be honest about these. They started out as a vanilla bean shortbread cookie that I had saved from another blog and I now I can’t find the blog! The link is broken or it doesn’t exist anymore or something. So whoever you are that inspired these cookies, THANK YOU! If you’re out there reading this, you changed my life for the better.
Random note that you might find helpful is that when you start mixing the dough together it will look like a crumbly mess. You might curse my name or start panicking. Take a deep breath. And another. And maybe by that time you will realize that the dough just needed to be mixed a little longer. It should become a nice smooth dough to roll out and everything will be well again. You might need to slightly press it into a ball to roll out, but it shouldn’t take too much effort.
I keep these pretty small because they’re so rich. Also a good excuse to eat a couple. Definitely not like 10 though. That’s *way* too many…cough, cough.
Melt-In-Your-Mouth Lemon Shortbread Cookies
Sweet and tart lemon shortbread cookies that will melt in your mouth
3-4 tablespoons lemon juice (or juice from about 1 large lemon)
lemon zest from 1 lemon
water (to thin, if needed)
Cream the butter, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Combine the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, salt) in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until well-combined but still crumbly, about 1 minute. Turn mixer to medium and mix for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the dough comes together*.
Roll the dough out into a 9"x12" rectangle between 2 pieces of parchment paper. It should end up being about 1/2"-3/8" thick.
Transfer the parchment and dough to a baking sheet and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
After refrigeration, lift the dough from the baking sheet and cut it into 1 1/2" squares.
Place the cold dough on parchment lined baking sheets. You don't need much room between them (about 1") because they don't spread much.
Bake for 9-11 minutes, until pale golden brown on the edges.
Let cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Mix together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest for the drizzle in a small bowl. Add water, if needed, to create a consistency that is loose enough to drizzle. Use a spoon to drizzle the icing over the cooled shortbread cookies. Let the drizzle harden before storing in an airtight container.
*When you start mixing, the dough will look crumbly. Continue to mix until the dough comes together...it will!
Try not to overwork the dough once you roll it out or to reroll because it will get bumpy. However, if you must, the drizzle will cover some imperfections!
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/
Oh, hey! I haven’t been around for awhile. Don’t worry, I still love my blog and my food. It’s just that we recently moved (need I continue?). The house is amazing. BUT, it needs lots of paint and love to become our dream home! So foodie Steph has temporarily become cleaning-unpacking-priming-paining-designer-handy woman Steph. And if that isn’t enough to keep me busy, I’m trying to keep my on-the-move son away from new fun things like brick fireplaces and steps to the basement. It’s a fun, crazy life!
The other day among all the house reno work, I told Travis I needed to make cookies. I’m pretty sure he knew I was serious. I needed a break. No joke. Baking and cooking are my go-to rejuvenation activities and luckily I have a husband who would never turn down a cookie. Never ever. So Travis and I spent time together baking, and it was just what I needed. And he got cookies. Win, win. We made chocolate chip cookies and they made everything better.
You know what else would have made everything better? You guessed it…this peach and blueberry galette. Maybe you don’t know what a galette is and that’s perfectly fine. In fact, if you would have asked me a year ago what a galette is I probably couldn’t have told you. It’s just a super simple open pie. That’s it! You could impress any guest with the seemingly complex dessert that takes about 5 minutes to throw together. It’s such a beautiful dessert even though it looks, for lack of a better term, rustic. The homemade, rustic look is charming in this case…so use it to your advantage if you have difficulty making a typical pie look picture perfect!
You know what takes this dessert to the next level? You guessed it again (you’re on fire today!)…ice cream. You take this gorgeous peach and blueberry galette out of the oven and serve it warm with cold vanilla ice cream piled on top. The fruit is juicy and sweet. The crust is crisp. The ice cream melts into the crevices. Stop. Just stop. I can’t even handle it.
I just have to say that, like those chocolate chip cookies, this galette is a guaranteed pick-me-up. So take that much-needed break, find some ice cream to top this pile of deliciousness with, and you eat it like you deserve it. Maybe even find someone to share it with. Because, you know what they say…the only thing better than eating a galette is eating a galette with a friend. That’s not a real saying. I really just made that up right now. BUT, so much truth to it. So find a friend and eat a galette!