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Thursday
Dec152011

Oreo balls

At least a hundred times a day, I thank God for my life. I'm not sure how or why I got so lucky, but I have the most amazing, wonderful, supportive, understanding people surrounding me. My friends and family and children and husband and in-laws and blog pals, they are the best. It's the time of year to be thankful and gushy, so thank you for being a positive part of my life!

My friend Maren has been one of the very positive parts of my life for the past few years. I appreciate many things about her. She supports my dreams and shares her photography/creative wisdom with me. We also share a love for food (and wine), so we often discuss recipes with one another. Aside from my food blogging pals, I don't have many foodie friends so I adore this quality in her! A few days ago she sent me this recipe that her mother makes during the holidays. I went straight home and made them! They are DELICIOUS! Thank you for the recipe, Maren, and Maren's mom! 

This is one of those super easy holiday recipes, so if you are looking for something quick to make for a holiday gathering that people will swoon over, you need not look any further.

Place a 15.5-ounce package of Oreo cookies in a food processor. I used a 10.5-ounce package of Christmas Oreos (for a little added color and holiday flavor) plus about a half of a row of regular Oreos. Process cookies until they are chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and add an 8-ounce package of softened cream cheese. Stir until coated.

With your hands, roll the mixture into 24 golf-ball-size balls and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.

Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator until the balls are firm, at least 30 minutes.

Place 3/4 pound of coarsely chopped almond bark (vanilla or chocolate flavored) in a microwave-safe bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat for 60 seconds. Stir, and heat in 15-second increments until almond bark is smooth when stirred.

Dip the Oreo balls into the almond bark to coat. I found that carefully stabbing the balls with corn-cob skewers was the best method for this. While the bark is still wet, dip in sprinkles/decorations as desired.

Carefully place the balls back onto the wax paper and chill in the refrigerator for at least another 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Oreo Balls

FOUR ingredients, so easy and super yummy!

Serves: 24

Total time: 1 hr, 30 min

Oreo Balls

Ingredients:

  • 15.5-oz. package Oreo cookies
  • 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 lb. vanilla-flavored almond bark, coarsely chopped
  • Sprinkles for decoration
Instructions:
  1. Place Oreos in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Place chopped Oreos in a large bowl and add the cream cheese. Stir until well coated.
  2. Roll mixture into 24 balls and place on a baking sheet covered with wax paper. Place baking sheet in refrigerator until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  3. Place almond bark in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 60 seconds and stir. Heat in 15-second increments until smooth. Stab the chilled Oreo balls with a skewer and dip into the melted almond bark until coated. Cover with sprinkles/edible decorations as desired. Carefully place balls back onto the wax paper and chill for another 30 minutes.

 

 

Sunday
Dec112011

Apricot cheesecake pockets

It's been a few weeks since I have felt like baking, which is unusual for me. It felt good to be in the kitchen again this past weekend, creating treats for people (and, um, myself) to enjoy. This is the last Rachael Ray cookie recipe I plan to make this Christmas season. After this, I will be moving onto some of my own creations!

I loved the idea of cream cheese and apricot jam being mixed together inside a buttery cookie. These were seriously delicious! 

In a medium bowl, whisk together:

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Using an electric mixer, beat together on medium-high speed:

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

Beat until fluffy, 1 minute. Beat in the flour mixture on low speed. Divide the dough in half and place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. Using the wrap to help, form the dough into disks and seal. Chill the dough until firm, at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together:

1/2 of an egg, lightly beaten

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

In a separate bowl, combine:

The other 1/2 of the beaten egg

1 teaspoon water

Chill both the cream cheese mixture and the egg wash.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Working on a floured surface, roll out each disk of dough 1/4 inch thick. Using a 4-inch round cutter, cut out the cookies and place on the prepared pans. Reroll any scraps and cut out enough cookies to total 24.

Place 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture and 1 teaspoon of apricot jam onto the center of each cookie. 

Fold each cookie in half and use a pastry brush to brush the tops with the egg wash. 

Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 16-18 minutes. Let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together:

1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons water

Working over the parchment, drizzle the cookies with the glaze. Sprinkle with gold sparkling sugar for decorating. Let the glaze set.

I love that these are beautiful and delicious.

And that I'm feeling up for baking again. More to come!

Apricot Cheesecake Pockets

(source: EveryDay with Rachael Ray Magazine)

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Dec 11, 2011

Serves: 2 dozen

Total time: 1 hr, 45 min

Apricot Cheesecake Pockets

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Gold sparkling sugar, for decorating
Instructions:
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, granulated sugar and salt.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat 8 oz. cream cheese and the butter on medium-high speed until fluffy, 1 minute. Beat in the flour mixture on low speed. Divide the dough in half; place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. Using the wrap to help, form the dough into disks and seal. Chill the dough until firm, at least 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix half the beaten egg into the remaining 4 ounces cream cheese. Stir 1 teaspoon of water into the remaining egg. Chill both the cream cheese mixture and the egg wash.
  4. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment. Working on a floured surface, roll out 1 disk of dough ¼ inch thick. Using a 4-inch round cutter, cut out the cookies and place on the pans. Repeat with the remaining dough disk. Reroll any scraps and cut out enough cookies to total 24.
  5. Transfer 1 of the pans to the refrigerator. Working with the other pan, place 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture and teaspoon jam in the center of each cookie. Using a pastry brush, coat the cookie edges with the egg wash; fold over the filling. Using the back of a fork, seal the edges. Brush the tops with egg wash. Place the pan in the refrigerator; repeat with the remaining cookies.
  6. Bake the cookies until golden, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a rack; let cool. In a medium bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar with 2 tablespoons water. Working over the parchment, drizzle the cookies with the glaze. Sprinkle with the sparkling sugar. Let the glaze set.

 

 

Tuesday
Dec062011

Rolo-stuffed marshmallow brownies

I have started and stopped writing this post about two dozen times, for a thousand different reasons. I won't get into that, but I will tell you that I came up with this brownie recipe during a recent bout of insomnia. I woke up at 3:00 a.m. and started doing my usual stressing/worrying/thinking. I decided to turn my thoughts into something productive, so I started thinking about food! And what better food to ponder than brownies?

I have been loving the "stuffed" treats lately, so (after some pondering) I came up with the idea of brownies stuffed with one of my all-time favorite candies, Rolos. I needed just a little something extra, and roasted marshmallows seemed like the perfect thing to throw on the top.

Most treats that I make end up being shared with my coworkers. These brownies did not get shared with my coworkers. My husband and I ate the ENTIRE batch by ourselves. Every last crumb. I can't even tell you how sinfully delicious they were. 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup light brown sugar

Add:

1 egg 

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix well.

Add the flour mixture in two batches just until combined.

Stir in a 12-oz. package of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Spread half of the mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish. Top with a layer of (unwrapped) Rolos (12-oz. bag).

Top with the rest of the cookie batter and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.

Preheat your broiler. Top the brownies with 1 1/2 cups of miniature marshmallows and place in the oven for 2-3 minutes. Keep a close eye on them, as the marshmallows will brown very quickly! I do like my marshmallows a bit on the crisp side, but you may cook them to your liking. 

Well worth being awake in the middle of the night!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Wednesday
Nov302011

Cod with artichokes and chickpeas

This is Week #48 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

Well look at me! I'm taking a bit of a break from baking by cooking a savory dish instead! I have been approached by coworkers who are wondering where the baked goods are this week?! And don't I understand that it's the holiday season? Fret not, more baked goods will come. 

I have had some health issues I have been trying to sort out, so little else besides sleep has sounded enticing in recent days. Once my boys are in bed, I: 1. take a bath, 2. sit next to my yummy hubby on the couch, 3. do some blogging, and 4. crawl into bed by 8:30 or 9:00. Such a party animal, aren't I?

If I'm going to make anything in the kitchen right now, it has to happen between 4:30 and 6:00 pm. I attempted this recipe while watching my boys at dinner-time, which is always a true test of multi-tasking. It all worked out. My boys got fed, the house didn't burn down, and the fish was fantastic! 

In a large, deep skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil.

Add to the skillet:

1 small white onion, sliced 1/2 inch thick

One 9-ounce box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and pressed dry (I used canned and quartered)

1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps quartered

2 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, 7 minutes.

Add:

One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained

1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth

Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the vegetables are tender and the liquid is nearly evaported, about 5 minutes. 

Stir in:

2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons chives, chopped

Keep mixture warm.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until almost smoking.

Season four 6-ounce skinless cod fillets with salt and pepper, add to the skillet and cook over high heat until well browned on the bottom, about 6 minutes. Carefully flip the fillets and cook until they're white throughout, about 3 minutes longer.

Spoon the vegetables into a shallow dish and top with the seared cod fillets. Serve with lemon wedges.

Click here for a printable recipe!

Saturday
Nov262011

Double chocolate pecan pie

Alternate titles:

Double-chocolate Thanksgiving-day tragedy

Delicious-enough-to-be-eaten-off-the-pavement pie

While searching for a pecan pie to make for Thanksgiving dinner this year, I came across this delicious Double Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe on Annie's Eats. Chocolate and pecans in a pie?! Love it! I spent a portion of my morning on Thursday putting my love into this thing. It smelled fantastic! I knew it would be a Thanksgiving-Day hit.

We loaded up our boys, and our food, and headed to my sister-in-law's house for dinner. When we arrived, I placed the pie on the top of the trunk. Do you see where this is heading? I opened the back door to get Sammy out of his car seat and just as I pulled his arm through the chest strap....CRASH! I looked up at my husband through the opposite side of the car and he shot me a look of sadness. 

When I told my mother-in-law what had happened, she said, "Come on, let's go taste it! We're not letting it go to waste." So there we were, the two of us, squatted down alongside the curb, scraping up bits of pie and eating it. Yes, I ate chocolate pecan pie from a curb on Thanksgiving Day. With no shame.

I'm glad she urged me back outside because it helped to ease some of the pain. Also because it was good to know that the pie tasted as fantastic as it had smelled. I walked back inside with a pie chunk in my hand, munching what I could before we started with the turkey. I'm just sad I didn't get to eat a bigger piece. Or share it with my family.

In a food processor, pulse together:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Add 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (cut into cubes) and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of ice water and process until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Turn the crumbs out onto a sheet of wax paper and knead just until the dough comes together. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, 30 minutes.

Roll the chilled dough into a 12-inch round between two pieces of wax paper. Remove one piece of wax paper and transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate by pressing the dough to shape around the inside of the pie plate and pulling the second sheet of wax paper carefully away. 

Trim the edges as necessary and create a fluted pattern using your fingers. Freeze the dough-lined pie plate until firm and very cold, 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the pie plate from the freezer and bake for 30 minutes, until the dough is golden.

While the dough is baking, prepare the filling. In a medium saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter over low to medium heat. Remove from the heat and add:

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Stir until the butter is absorbed. Beat in:

2 large eggs

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Return to the burner and heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is warmed through, about 130 degrees F. Remove from heat stir in 1 cup of pecan halves.

Remove the pie shell from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 275 degrees F. Pour the filling into the pie shell and top with:

3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Bake for 60 minutes, or until the pie is soft like gelatin. Allow the pie to cool for at least 4 hours before serving.

Double Chocolate Pecan Pie

This pie is so rich and delicious! (original source: Annie's Eats)

Serves: 12

Total time: 2 hrs, 30 min, plus cooling time

Double Chocolate Pecan Pie

Ingredients:

  • CRUST
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • FILLING
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Instructions:
  1. MAKE THE CRUST: In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle on the ice water and process until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Turn the crumbs out onto a sheet of wax paper and knead just until the dough comes together. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, 30 minutes.
  2. Roll the chilled dough into a 12-inch round between two pieces of wax paper. Remove one piece of wax paper and transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate by pressing dough to shape around inside of plate and pulling the second sheet of wax paper carefully away. Trim the edges as necessary and create a fluted pattern using fingers. Freeze the dough-lined pie plate until firm and very cold, 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the pie plate from the freezer and bake for 30 minutes, until the dough is golden.
  4. MAKE THE FILLING: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and salt until the butter is absorbed. Beat in the eggs, corn syrup and vanilla. Return to the burner and heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is warmed through, about 130 degrees F. Remove from heat and stir in pecans.
  5. Remove the pie shell from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 275 degrees F. Pour the filling into the pie shell and top with the chopped chocolate over top. Bake for 60 minutes, or until the pie is soft like gelatin with pressed with the back of a spoon. Allow to cool for 4 hours before serving.