As I mentioned in the last post, I didn’t win our family’s Iron Chef Throwdown, even though these little truffles were darn tasty and pretty adorable. I figured I’d get the kids to vote for me for sure, just on the cuteness alone. They even have little marshmallow tails! But, alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Again.
That’s okay though, because the truffles tasted great and were easy to make. And with all the Oreo flavors out there, you can make these in so many different combinations. I’ve tried several, but so far, my favorite has been DoubleStuf Mint Oreo truffles with dark chocolate candy melts. I think Birthday Cake Oreo truffles are in my near future though.
Recipe: Oreo Truffles
1 package Oreo cookies, any flavor
1 8-oz. block of cream cheese
1 package of candy melts
Crush all the Oreos in the food processor until they are small crumbs. Transfer to a bowl and stir in cream cheese until no white remains. (I find this is really a squishing sort of activity. The back of a big wooden spoon works great.) Roll mixture into small balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Chill in refrigerator to allow them to firm up slightly.
When you are ready to dip the truffles, melt the candy melts according to package directions. Using a fork, dip each ball into the chocolate, tap off excess, and return to waxed paper. After all truffles have been dipped, return to refrigerator to allow chocolate to set up and harden.
To turn these truffles into Easter Bunnies, I inserted colored candy corn into the top right after I dipped the truffles. Then, I immediately added a sprinkle for the nose. After the truffles were set, I used a little tube of black store-bought frosting to make the eyes. Some had whiskers too! Finally, cut a mini marshmallow in half and place the sticky side on the back of the bunnies for a fluffy little tail.
Does it seem to you that Winter has just dragged on and on and on? We woke up again today to 20 degree weather, everybody keeps getting sick, and I just about can’t take much more. Where is Spring?? It’s April, for crying out loud, and we’re still wearing winter coats! If that’s typical where you live, I don’t know how you do it.
Okay, enough whining.
Well, actually, there might be just a little more but on a totally different topic. Once again, I have conceded defeat in our family’s Iron Chef Throwdown to my mom. The secret ingredient for our annual kitchen competition was cream cheese and my mom and Paula Deen teamed up with these caramel apple cheesecake bars with streusel topping. I have to admit, they were delicious! I can’t even begrudge her the win (and the coveted trophy) like I did last year, because this dessert definitely deserved the top spot.
Congratulations, Mom! (and I really do mean it this year!)
Recipe: Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping
(from Paula Deen)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Streusel topping, recipe follows
1/2 cup caramel topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.
In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Streusel topping. Bake 30 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping.
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients.
If you ever need a special sweet to serve with coffee in the morning, this is perfect. They can be readied the night before, then sliced and baked while the coffee is brewing. It’s like having your own little warm cheese danish. But the real perk here is that the ingredients are as simple as can be. So the next time you have a long weekend or a lazy Saturday morning to enjoy, try adding these to your day. Enjoy!
Recipe: Cream Cheese Breakfast Cookies
(from and adapted from Cookies and Cups)
1 can crescent rolls
4 oz. block of cream cheese, room temperature
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. mini chocolate chips
Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Unroll the crescent rolls and gently press seams together so you have a rectangle. Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the sheet of crescent rolls, leaving about 1/2″ all along the edges. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the cream cheese. Roll the crescent sheet up, starting from one of the shorter ends, and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
When chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or lightly spray with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Slice the roll into 1/4″ slices using unflavored dental floss or a sharp knife. Bake on prepared cookie sheet for 12-14 minutes until rolls are golden.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
We were all having a chocolate craving last week and no one was disappointed with this treat. I was a little worried the kids wouldn’t eat it, because it did have a mild texture difference from regular mousse, but they surprised me and couldn’t get enough. In fact, they’ve both asked for it a week later, so I’m sure I’ll be making it again.
And as for the texture thing? If you’ve ever eaten a cannoli, you’ll know what I mean. It was kind of a silkier chocolate version of cannoli filling, to me. To the kiddos, however, it was chocolate mousse through and through, and perfectly delicious.
Recipe: Chocolate Ricotta Mousse
(adapted from Everyday Food)
2 c. fat free ricotta cheese
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 c. granulated sugar
pinch of salt
mini chocolate chips and whipped cream, for garnish
In a food processor, pulse ricotta and cocoa powder until completely smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Place egg whites, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a medium heatproof mixing bowl, set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk and cook until sugar dissolves and the mixture is warm to the touch, about 3 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and beat mixture on high until stiff glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes. With a rubber spatula, gently fold egg white mixture into ricotta mixture. Divide mousse among 6 ramekins. Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours. To serve, top with whipped cream and mini chocolate chips or shave chocolate.
I made cupcakes in ice cream cones once quite a while back, and it was a disaster. The cake mix baked over the tops and ran all over the place. It did nothing but make a big old mess in my oven and I had to throw them all away. When I walked by these teeny, tiny ice cream cones when I was grocery shopping the other day, I couldn’t resist the urge to buy them and try again.
I have to admit, that the first batch went straight to the trash. Major flashback. But I persevered and ended up with these adorable little cupcakes. How stinkin’ cute are they? The trick for me was definitely to only fill them halfway full. They baked up just a little above the tops of the cones and were perfectly baked inside. And with a nice swirl of frosting on top, they even look like ice cream cones. Love!
Recipe: Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes
boxed cake mix (and necessary ingredients) or favorite cake recipe
ice cream cones
Make cake batter, as per directions on the box or your recipe. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set ice cream cones inside the cups of a muffin pan. (I used a mini muffin pan for these little cones.) Spoon batter into cones, filling halfway. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (If using regular sized cones, baking time will be 18-20 minutes.) Allow to cool completely before frosting.
For those who need to know….
If you don’t already have a love of lentils, I really urge you to get to know them better. Invite them to lunch. Then have them over for dinner. You’ll be so glad you did, because they bring loads of protein, fiber, and important vitamins to the party.
We had these beef and lentil sloppy joes for lunch over the weekend, and had enough leftover for a couple workday lunches. I suggest serving them on a toasted roll with some melted cheese and a handful of crunchy chips on the side.
Sharing the lentil love with some of my favorite lentil recipes …
Recipe: Beef & Lentil Sloppy Joes
(from Can You Stay for Dinner?)
1 cup uncooked green lentils
4 cups water
½ lb lean ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 c. tomato paste
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
“Put the lentils in a small sauce pot and pour in 4 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.
About 10 minutes before the lentils are done boiling, set a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute the ground beef and onion for about 7 minutes, crumbling with a spatula as you cook, until the beef is no longer pink. Add the garlic and saute a minute more. Add the cooked lentils, the chili powder, oregano and salt and mix. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook for about 10 minutes.
Add the brown sugar and mustard and heat through. Turn the heat off and let sit for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors can blend.” Broil or grill rolls before filling with sloppy joe mixture.