December 21, 2011

Yumyums, 3D.

Here's my 3rd Christmas treat installment! I'm making chocolate chip cookie truffles and chocolate truffles. These are nice, since I can make the truffle stuff before work, chill it and come home to roll them up, rechill them and dip them.

Chocolate Chip Cookie truffles

* 1/2 cups Butter
* 3/4 cups Brown Sugar
* 1 teaspoon Vanilla
* 2 cups Flour
* 14 ounce can Sweetened Condensed Milk
* 1 cup Chocolate Chips
* 1 pound Chocolate (for chocolate coating)

Combine butter and brown sugar in a bowl. Mix with electric hand mixer. Add vanilla. Add flour gradually. The mixture will be really dry, but fear not. Add the condensed milk. Use a spoon to stir in chocolate chips. Chill mixture for at least an hour, so it gets very firm. Use a melon baller or cookie scoop to make small portions, then roll between hands to form balls. Put them on a tray and pop them back in the refrigerator to firm them back up for at least 30 minutes. Melt your chocolate coating and dip the balls in to cover completely. Place coated balls on a lined tray to dry and set up. While they are still wet, you can decorate them with sprinkles or whatever you want. :) Makes about 36 truffles.

Chocolate truffles

# 8 ounces, weight (up To 9 Oz.) Good Semisweet Chocolate
# 8 ounces, weight (up To 9 Oz.) Good Bittersweet Chocolate
# 1 can (14 Oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
# 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
# 8 ounces, weight Meltable Milk Chocolate

Heat dark chocolates and condensed milk in a double boiler over medium low heat until chocolate is melted. Stir—mixture will have a slight marshmallow texture. Stir in vanilla.

Remove from heat, cover and refrigerate for two hours.

Once chilled, roll in balls, then roll in melted milk chocolate coating.

Even more Christmas yumyums.

Second on my baking extravaganza, we have cinnamon hard candy and cinnamon rolls. My house has rarely smelled better. LOL :)

The cinnamon candy was so easy, I swore it was cheating somehow. I felt like the coolest person EVER. I spied watermelon flavoring oil on the candy aisle when I was picking up the cinnamon oil, I'll need to try it.

Cinnamon hard candy

1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon candy flavoring oil (or more as desired. this stuff is kind of potent though)
2-4 drops red food coloring (more if a deeper red color is desired)

Mix corn syrup, water and sugar together in a saucepan. Heat to "hard crack" stage, approximately 300 degrees. Use a candy thermometer to measure the progress of the sugar mixture. Once "hard crack" is achieved, remove pan from heat and mix in flavoring oil and food coloring. Pour onto a greased cookie sheet and let harden. If you're a total boss, make it in candy molds instead.

Cinnamon rolls are illegally delicious, and The Pioneer Woman is a genius. I made these a couple Christmases ago, and they were a huge success. So, so tasty. Here's her recipe, it'll get you marriage proposals. :)


* 1 quart Whole Milk
* 1 cup Vegetable Oil
* 1 cup Sugar
* 2 packages Active Dry Yeast, 0.25 Ounce Packets
* 8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
* 1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
* 1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
* 1 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
* Plenty Of Melted Butter
* 2 cups Sugar
* Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
* _____
* 1 bag Powdered Sugar
* 2 teaspoons Maple Flavoring
* 1/2 cup Milk
* 1/4 cup Melted Butter
* 1/4 cup Brewed Coffee
* 1/8 teaspoon Salt

Preparation Instructions

For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil. Set aside and cool to warm. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.

Add 8 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined, then cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl. (Note: dough is easier to work with if it’s been chilled for at least an hour or so beforehand.)

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the pan/bowl. On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches. The dough should be rolled very thin.

To make the filling, pour 3/4 cup to 1 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly. Generously sprinkle half of the ground cinnamon and 1 cup of the sugar over the butter. Don’t be afraid to drizzle on more butter or more sugar! Gooey is the goal.

Now, beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. Don’t worry if the filling oozes as you work; that just means the rolls are going to be divine. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together and flip the roll so that the seam is face down. When you’re finished, you’ll wind up with one long buttery, cinnamony, sugary, gooey log.

Slip a cutting board underneath the roll and with a sharp knife, make 1/2-inch slices. One “log “will produce 20 to 25 rolls. Pour a couple of teaspoons of melted butter into disposable foil cake pans and swirl to coat. Place the sliced rolls in the pans, being careful not to overcrowd. (Each pan will hold 7 to 9 rolls.)

Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover all the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towel and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t allow the rolls to become overly brown.

While the rolls are baking, make the maple icing: In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, butter, coffee, and salt. Splash in the maple flavoring. Whisk until very smooth. Taste and add in more maple, sugar, butter, or other ingredients as needed until the icing reaches the desired consistency. The icing should be somewhat thick but still very pourable.

Remove pans from the oven. Immediately drizzle icing over the top. Be sure to get it all around the edges and over the top. As they sit, the rolls will absorb some of the icing’s moisture and flavor. They only get better with time… not that they last for more than a few seconds.

December 12, 2011

A fairly frugal delicious holiday

I'm taking the opportunity to hone my crafting/baking skills this holiday season, in light of a budget thinner than rice paper. What a year! oof. Enough whining, here come some recipes!

First out of the chute this year, we have peppermint bark and Muddy Buddies (puppy chow, whatever you call it, it's good).

Peppermint Bark
inspired by Dessert for Two

10 oz bag of semisweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 lb white chocolate (I used white "make your own almond bark" candy)
6-8 crushed peppermint candy canes

Prepare a double boiler and melt your semisweet chocolate with half the oil. When it's smooth, pour it onto a cookie sheet with a rim on it , covered with wax paper. Spread the chocolate out and let it cool off a bit. Clean out the top pan on your double boiler and melt the white chocolate with the rest of the oil. Meanwhile, unwrap your candy canes and crush 'em up into small, manageable bits. Pour the white chocolate on the semisweet and spread it around. Don't get too stressed if it marbles with the semisweet, nobody's going to get upset about it (if they do, maybe you shouldn't share the candy with them anyway! :D). While the white chocolate is still wet, sprinkle with your crushed candy canes. Put the tray in the fridge to set up. When everything's all firmed up, break the bark into pieces. I made 6 4-ish oz. bags with this recipe.

Muddy Buddies
courtesy Chex

9 cups Chex cereal of your choice
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.
2. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

I'm also looking to make some spicy chocolate cookies, ginger cookies, peanut butter cookies, meringue cookies, truffles, popcorn balls and cinnamon candy. I'll keep you posted on those recipes! :)