Suzi's Blog

Oreo Truffles: Easy, Delicious, Addictive

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It’s the weekend. A hot day. You’re tired and it’s still just the afternoon. The kids are demanding dessert for tonight and you have no idea even what dinner will be. Burgers on the grill would seem to be your destiny. But if you fail to supply a balanced meal — including some smashing desserts — the weekend will end with frowns or tears or stomping. And that’s just you. Who knows how the kids will behave.

Here’s a solution. Invoke those children with something like, “You want dessert? You get in the kitchen.”

No, poor strategy. How about, “Kids, you get to help with dessert. Get the Oreos and a hammer.”

Yes, that’s more like it.

I tasted these Oreo Truffles for the first time last week. I was just presented with a chocolate ball. I had no idea what was about to be consumed. I took a bite. I gasped.

“Do you have the recipe,” I asked one of Suzen’s chef’s here at Cooking by the Book. That’s not an easy question. Rian is a famed baker with a portfolio of secret recipes. How would I get the details of this treat. I like Rian. I did not want to have to resort to waterboarding. But I do have my priorities.

He laughed. “It’s on the web. It’s famous. It’s simple.”

How I never knew about this delicacy, I’ll never know. It’s brilliantly simple. It’s decadent. And it really is something that your kids can do. They can do the whole thing with you watching and they will giggle and drool to their utmost delight. Yes, they’ll make a mess, but so would you if you made this, so it really doesn’t matter.

Get your camera. This is a moment to embarrass the kids with twenty years from now at the wedding.


Oreo Truffles

Yield: 3 dozen +, depending on how big your roll the chocolate balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 16-ounce package of Oreo cookies, divided
  • 1 8-ounce package of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 8-ounce packages of Baker’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted and stirred to uniformity
  • Sprinkles of your choice, optional

Preparation:

Line a half cookie sheet with wax paper.

Crush 9 of the cookies to fine crumbs in a food processor; reserve for later use. Or cookies can be crushed by putting them in a Ziplock freezer bag, sealing the bag and using a rolling pin. With the pin you can beat or roll. [I was only joking about using a hammer, but you could.]

Crush the remaining 36 cookies to fine crumbs. Place the crumbs in a medium bowl. Add the cream cheese and mix until well blended. There may be little white streaks of cream cheese and the Oreo filling. Streaks are fine, globs are not.

Roll the chocolate mixture into 36-42 round balls, about 1 inch in diameter.

Dip the balls one at a time in the melted chocolate. Use two forks to dip, rotate, and remove each truffle.

Place the truffles on the wax paper covered sheet. Sprinkle with the reserved cookie crumbs or sprinkles as shown in the picture above.

Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store leftover ruffles, covered, the refrigerator. You can eat them cold or let them first warm a bit to intensify the flavor. If they get to room temperature, they taste just fine, but you will have to lick your fingers.

If kids are involved at room temperature, baths may be necessary and the whole purpose here was to avoid tears. Remember?

Source: allrecipes.com

Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4.5for 1/50th second at ISO‑3200

 

Candied Orange Peel for Cocktails and More

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One of the major differences between dining at home and in a restaurant is staffing. At home, you are the staff. And you may have a few things on your mind besides the next meal: job, spouse, kids, bills, community issues, the unopened mail on your desk, the unopened emails on your computer. Your life is full.

So, creating a meal means you focus on the “big” parts. Adornments may be an afterthought that cannot be achieved on a given evening.

A restaurant meal is often appreciated because it can be just so complete: big and small things combing into a true food experience. There are those little details: the flowers, the arrangement of silverware, the way the salt and pepper are presented, the little additional pieces that accompany each dish. That staff in the back of the kitchen, busy 12 to 18+ hours a day, includes people who just work the details, the little things that together make the meal richly complete.

I just took the time to make one of those “little things.” These candied orange peels took three days to make, from beginning to end. No I was not working hotly over it every hour, but there was daily work involved to produce one canister of candied orange peels.

What am I going to do with them? Drink garnishes. Topping off the whipped cream that adorns rich gingerbread. Diced and then woven into a salad for texture and flavor. Suzen and I will find ways. And, these critters keep for a year in the freezer or four to up to twelve months in the refrigerator.

How do these slices taste? Sweet and orange, of course. They have little bite to them, a little chew because they are not completely “softened.”

This recipe is from two sources: primarily Southern Italian Desserts by Rosetta Costantino but also The Art of Simple Food II by Alice Waters. You’ll find many recipes candying citrus fruit. I’ve had successes and failures. I turned to these two sources to develop a foolproof — if somewhat lengthy — recipe. In a word, this recipe is a sweet success.

 

Candied Orange Peels

Yield: about 35 pieces

Ingredients:

  • 5 large navel oranges with thick peels
  • 4 cups granulated sugar, plus more for coating
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups water [again, and again, and again]

Preparation:

Use a paring knife to cut the peel from the orange, pith and all, in wide strips running from top to bottom. They will have an elongated diamond shape, about 1 inch at the widest point. [Note, after candying, I cut the final strips into thinner strips about ¼ inch wide as I coated them in sugar].

Put the peels into a large soup pot and cover them generously with cool water. Bring to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, and drain. Repeat the boiling and draining twice more. Return the peels to the pot, cover with cold water until cool enough to handle, then drain.

Lay one strip skin side down on a flat surface and use a paring knife running parallel to the rind to cut away most of the white pith inside, leaving about ⅛ inch of pith along with the peel. Repeat with the remaining strips. (Discard the trimmings.). [Note, you will find this step easy; the pith will be soft, almost spongy, and this is as much a “pushing off” as “cutting” process.]

Return the peels to the pot, cover with cold water, and blanch two more times as before, for a total of five blanchings. Drain the peels and set aside.

Stir the sugar, lemon juice, and water in the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes to slightly thicken the syrup. Add the peels and cook until they are shiny and translucent, about 1 hour. Do not let the syrup come to a boil, or you may toughen the peels. You want this step to be a simple simmering. Remove the pot from the heat and let the peels plump in the syrup overnight.

Transfer the peels to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet to dry. As you remove each peel from the syrup, run it between your thumb and forefinger to squeeze any excess syrup back into the pot. [Note: that overnight settling may leave you with a very viscous mass; removing the peels will be a chore and they may be heavily coated in goo that does NOT come off with your finger; that will add a day or two to the drying process.]

When the peels are no longer tacky—24 to 48 or more hours later transfer the peels, a few at a time, to a shallow bowl of sugar, tossing to coat them well. Return the peels to the rack to dry overnight.

Transfer the peels to an airtight container with parchment paper separating the layers and store in the freezer, where they will keep for at least a year.

Sources: Southern Italian Desserts by Rosetta Costantino and Jennie Schacht and The Art of Simple Food II by Alice Waters

Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5.6 for 1/60th second at ISO-1600