Kelly the Culinarian: December 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cooking with Kelly: A tale of two truffles

There is nothing better than chocolate. Except, maybe, some derivative of chocolate dipped in chocolate. And this, my friends, is the truffle.
I set out to make some snacks for the holidays. A few hours and several bags of chocolate later, I had a delicious little pile of chocolate-covered delights. I made both oreo truffles and cookie dough truffles. While both were very tasty, the cookie dough truffles might be my greatest achievement. Big bonus -- these don't require any cooking at all.

Oreo Truffles
1 bag of oreos
1 package of cream cheese (the light works just fine), softened1 bag of white chocolate chips
Place the bag of oreos in a large freezer bag. Using a rolling pin, smash the cookies until you have a fine consistency. Mix the cream cheese into the oreos, then roll into 1-inch balls.
Freeze for at least a few hours. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave, starting with one minute, then stirring and repeating at 30-second intervals.
Roll the oreo centers into the chocolate to coat, then place on a cookie sheet lined with either a silicone mat or parchment paper. Freeze again, preferably overnight.

Cookie Dough Truffles
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
Using a stand mixer on medium, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the vanilla and slowly add the flour, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Then add the can of sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips.
The dough is very sticky, but you have to roll it into 1-inch balls or else they'll fall apart. Place the truffle centers on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and freeze for several hours.
Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave and roll the centers in the chocolate. Freeze again for another hour, then marvel at how awesome these are.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cooking with Kelly: Marbled oat fudge bars

There is no better season for baking than Christmas time. The oven pleasantly heats your kitchen, there's plenty of people to share treats with and there's nothing more homey than the smell of baked goods.

These bars sandwich a layer of milk chocolate fudge in between oatmeal cookie-like anchors. Combined, you get the velvety fudge along with the texture of the oats. Yum.

So here's how it's done:
3/4 cup softened butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour (whole wheat works well here)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1 16-ounce package of milk chocolate chips

Using a stand mixer on medium with the whipping attachment, blend the sugar, butter and applesauce until creamed. Add the eggs, one at a time until incorporated, then add the salt, baking soda and vanilla. Add the flour slowly on medium speed. Next, add the oats in half-cup increments, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Using a greased, rimmed baking sheet, press roughly 3/4 of the mixture into the bottom to create a base.

Next, heat the milk and chocolate chips in the microwave together. I started at one minute, then stirred, then heated it for another 30 seconds until smooth, but every microwave is different. Spread the chocolate mixture onto the oats, then use a spoon to place dollops of the remaining oat mixture on top of the fudge.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the top oat layer is golden brown. Enjoy and share!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cooking with Kelly: Chocolate bark

'Tis the season for gift giving. I meet up with my friends this time of year each year to catch up and swap stories. This year, we had a fun time shopping, eating and attending the symphony (wow, I feel like a grown up all the sudden). We usually exchange gifts and I like to make something to give the appearance of being domestic. This year's gift really made the cut. It was easy, quick and impressive looking, despite not turning on the stove OR oven. Score.

Chocolate Bark

10 oreo cookies

1 package white chocolate

1 package milk chocolate

2 tablespoons peanut butter

Crush the oreos and divide them. Melt the chocolate in separate containers in the microwave. I started by nuking them for one minute, then stiring and going for additional 30-second intervals until they were completely melted.

Add half of the crushed oreos to each bowl of chocolate, then add the peanut butter to the white chocolate. After mixing in the extras, add spoonfuls of the chocolate mixtures to a lined cookie sheet. I suggest using a silicone baking mat for this, if you have one, because it makes everything easier.

Alternate the chocolate dollops and using a knife to swirl the two colors together. This will create a cute pattern. Freeze the tray atleast an hour, preferably overnight. Then, break the chocolate into pieces so it looks like bark.

I divided the tray into little treat bags that you can get at the craft store and tied it with ribbon. It makes about six generous portions.