Tag Archives: dessert

Mint Oreo Truffles

IMG_3500

The other weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Lydia’s birthday party. I was quite excited since Lydia was planning the party herself and she has a great eye for details and all things fabulous. Although she would protest, she really would make a great event planner.

My friendship with Lydia goes a long way back, all the way to infancy, in fact. Before I moved to Florida when I was seven, I spent a great deal of time with Lydia from playing with our Littlest Pet Shop toys, sleeping over at each other’s houses, and attending one another’s birthday parties – I have a lot of childhood memories that include Lydia. After moving away to Florida, Lydia and I became pen pals and would write each other letters once to twice a month (this was before email became standard). So it was very special to reunite for a birthday celebration after missing the last 18 or so in our lives.

I’m on the left and Lydia’s on the right in the picture below.

True to her style, Lydia’s party was indeed fabulous. I think I nearly died three times that night from a food coma. You should check out her birthday recap for the full scoop of what was on the menu since everything she served was delectably tasty. Cookie dough cheesecake, anyone?

What really won me over though was the plate full of mint Oreo truffles.

Yes, mint.

Yes, mint Oreos in fact.

Yes, you read that right. Mint Oreo truffles.

When I was ready to leave the party, Lydia was kind enough to offer me some truffles to take home. I thought it would be rude to say that I would take them all (and the other half of that cookie dough cheesecake as well), so I very politely said that I would take two truffles – one for me and one for Mister E to enjoy the next day.

Except, let’s be real here. The next morning I woke up with a possible sugar hangover and two beautiful mint Oreo truffles staring at me in the face. Do you really think I was generous enough to save one for Mister E?

If you said yes, then you do not know me at all.

So naturally, I had to make my own batch of truffles. Whether I made them to give Mister E a chance to taste them or made them for myself so that I could eat as many as I wanted without judgement is not important. What is important is that these truffles are disproportionately tasty for being so simple to make.

Edits

Mint Oreo Truffles

(recipe adapted from Kraft and inspired by Lydia)
  1. Crush a container of mint Oreo cookies either in a food processor or in a plastic bag using a rolling pin
  2. Transfer cookie crumbs to a large bowl
  3. Stir in one package of softened cream cheese (I used non-fat)
  4. Roll mixture into 1 teaspoon size balls and place onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet
  5. Freeze the truffle balls (not completely necessary but freezing makes the truffles easier to work with)
  6. Melt chocolate (or the preferred Wilton green Candy Melts) at 30 second intervals in the microwave
  7. Dip frozen balls into melted chocolate (with the help of a fork or toothpick) and place onto a wax paper lined plate
  8. Optional – drizzle more melted chocolate on top
  9. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge or freeze for longer storage

IMG_3468

After Lydia told me how she made her mint Oreo truffles, I realized that I had used the same Kraft recipe to make original Oreo truffles years ago for my coworkers. I remember not being all that impressed at all with how they turned out and pretty much wrote the whole recipe off.

Let me reiterate here, these mint Oreo truffles are so delicious and beat out the original kind by a landslide! I think the use of the Wilton Candy Melts instead of chocolate also makes a huge difference.

IMG_3506

I’m surprised that I would even have to say this, but milk is a necessity of course.

IMG_3483

Oh, and I should warn you. You know how sometimes you make cookies but then freeze them all to help with portion control? It makes it easy to just pop one or two cookies out of the freezer at a time to satisfy a craving instead of eating the entire batch? Well, that’s what I planned to do with these truffles. Except there’s a catch. They’re still delicious when frozen! The inside part of the truffle doesn’t completely freeze, so it’s similar to eating an ice cream sandwich. Alright, you’ve been warned now. You’re going to have to find a better hiding spot than the freezer for these babies.

Coconut Cupcakes with Lemon Filling

This weekend I died and went to heaven. At least, I think it was heaven. It sort of smelled like coconut. Come to think of it… it even tasted like coconut. You know what, I think that I might have just mistaken my kitchen this past weekend for heaven. Never mind me.

So here’s the thing about coconut. As a kid, I never had the desire to try coconut (along with a lot of other similarly ‘weird’ foods) and did my best to avoid it all together. Well, at the ripe old age of six, I decided to put my fears aside and try coconut in the form of Samoas (otherwise known as Caramel deLites) Girl Scout cookies. It took a second cookie to help me make up my mind, but I finally decided that coconut was something that I could warm up to (as long as chocolate and caramel continued to be invited to the party too). Well, as my fortune would have it, I was struck with a bug that day and became violently ill no less than ten minutes after finishing my second cookie. I had the distinct displeasure of seeing all of the cookies come right back up and I just knew, I knew, that it had to have been the coconut that made me sick. And thus ended my brief affair with coconut.

It would take another fifteen years for me to give coconut another chance. When I finally did give it another go, I believe it was in the form of a coconut mojito. And even though it might not be quite fair since anything would be delicious with the word mojito following it, I found that I very much enjoyed the coconut flavor. And that is where my relationship with coconut stands today. Coconut flavoring? Best friends. A match made in heaven. The peanut butter to my jelly. Coconut flakes? We’re more like frenemies. I’m friendly to its face, but I’ll never forgive it for making me sick all those years ago.

But enough with the negativity. Let’s get to the cupcakes. I really wasn’t intending to make any sweets for Easter, even though I kept the idea of these sweet bird nest cupcakes (coconut flakes, and all) in the back of my mind just in case. But of course when I stumbled upon these sweet pink baking cups mixed in between all the other holiday items on the store shelf, I just couldn’t resist buying them. Just in case I got the urge to bake.

Well, the urge hit this past weekend. Hard. Just in time for Easter, too. I had it in my head that I absolutely must find a way to combine coconut and lemon together because nothing would scream SPRING IS HERE like those two flavors combined. I spent some time brainstorming before deciding that I would adapt this recipe for Aloha cake to my needs. I originally thought I was going to make a lemon frosting, but after trying the cupcake on its own, it was pretty much decided for me that it needed the coconut frosting more.

Coconut Cupcakes with Lemon Filling

for the coconut cupcakes (recipe adapted from here):

  • 1 box of white cake mix + ingredients called out on mix
  • 3 teaspoons of coconut extract

for the lemon filling:

  • 1 package of Lemon instant pudding or
  • 1 package of Vanilla instant pudding + 2 tsp lemon extract

for the coconut frosting (recipe adapted from here):

  • 1 stick (8-Tbsp) of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 2 teaspoons of coconut extract

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Prepare the cake mix according to the box directions and mix in the coconut extract. Pour the mixture into a lined muffin tin and back 20-25 minutes (follow the guidance on the box for cooking times). While the cupcakes bake, prepare the filling by making the instant pudding (stir in lemon extract at the end if using the vanilla instant pudding). Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, use a small knife to cut a cone shape out of the cupcake. Slice the tip off of the cones. Spoon the filling into the cupcakes, and replace the base of the cone back onto the cupcake (see below for an example). To make the frosting, beat the butter with 1 cup confectioners’ sugar. While continuing to beat mixture, slowly add in the remaining confectioners’ sugar. Add in the skim milk and coconut extract last and continue to beat mixture for an additional minute. Frost cupcakes and decorate with lemon zest if desired. Yields 20-24 cupcakes.

Coconut and Lemon Cupcakes

I feel like I always say this every time I try a new dessert, but I swear, these cupcakes are my all-time favorite sweet item! They are so perfectly fluffy and moist with just the right amount of sweetness so that it’s not too rich tasting. When Mister E tried one, he died and joined me in my coconut bliss heaven. He claimed that the cupcakes were too good for me to give out the recipe to anyone, and that I should just sell the cupcakes instead. I decided not to tell him how easy these were to make and just went ahead and let him think that I made them from scratch. No need to give out all my secrets, right?

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

IMG_9531

Do you know how sometimes you get an idea stuck in your head that you just can’t shake? You become so persistent to see your idea through, despite the fear that it might just be a huge bust. Well, that was this cake for me. Except for the bust part. Thankfully, it turned out rather delicious (if I do say so, myself).

After picking so many apples with Mister E, I had the thought that what I really wanted to use my apples for was a coffee cake. I did some searching around online, but couldn’t find any recipes for what I really had in mind.

IMG_9502

So, I turned to where I always go when Google fails me – my mother. And wouldn’t you know it, she had a recipe for me. After a little tweaking of ingredients and adding a cinnamon streusal layer and cinnamon glaze – lo and behold, I had an apple cinnamon coffee cake!

IMG_9565

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (or 1 cup unsweetened applesauce)
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 granny smith apples, cored and peeled
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • Cinnamon Streusel, see below
  • Cinnamon Glaze, see below

Directions:  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and dice the apples into 1/4” pieces. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soada, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Stir in vegetable oil, apple juice, vanilla extract, and eggs. Mix until well combined. Lastly, stir in apples and walnuts. Pour batter into a large, well-greased, bundt pan – adding in the cinnamon streusel layer (see below) in the middle or the top (depending on preference). Bake for one hour and 15 minutes. Make sure a cake tester comes out clean before removing cake from oven. Allow to cool before drizzling cinnamon glaze (see below) on top of cake.

IMG_9518

Cinnamon Streusel

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions: Place all ingredients in a bowl and combine using either hands or a fork. Resulting mixture should appear crumbly.

IMG_9526

I choose to put all of my cinnamon streusel mixture on last after pouring all of my cake batter into the pan. This was based on past history with my particular bundt pan not doing well with streusel mixtures put on the bottom of the pan or in the middle.

IMG_9528

Cinnamon Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Directions: Whisk together all ingredients until well combined and mixture starts to thicken.

IMG_9547

I served my apple cinnamon coffee cake at a family get-together that I hosted at my apartment this past weekend. We had all just seen a local production of The Drowsy Chaperone that my uncle was in and it was already 10 p.m. by the time everyone made their way back to my apartment (which is conveniently close to the theater).

It was my largest get-together to date (I can’t believe I comfortably fit thirteen people into my one bedroom apartment!) and this cake made hosting such a breeze! I simply brewed a large pot of coffee and set out a stack of plates and forks next to the cake and let everyone help themselves. Three cheers for easy hosting!

Well, not completely easy. I still had to deal with cleaning up after three of Prince’s “accidents” after he got a little too happy being around so many people. You can’t win them all, people.

IMG_9549

Mini Blueberry Clafoutis

Isn’t clafoutis the funniest word you’ve heard today? I like repeating it over and over just because it’s so different. If you’re a little lost on what a clafoutis is, this excerpt from Wikipedia* might help:

Clafoutis is a baked French dessert of black cherries arranged in a buttered dish and covered with a thick flan-like batter. The clafoutis is dusted with powdered sugar and served lukewarm.

IMG_0805

I first heard of a clafoutis when Jenna posted her easy, blender version. However, I didn’t have cherries on hand and was really looking to use up a pint of blueberries** that was rapidly approaching their shelf life. After a little bit of searching around online, I found this recipe from Poor Girl Eats Well and was sold! I convienently had everything in my fridge and pantry, and I would bet my bottom dollar*** that you do too.

IMG_0710IMG_0733

IMG_0763

IMG_0742

IMG_0753

The only change that I made to PGEW’s recipe was to make my clafoutis into a dozen mini-sized clafoutis by using a muffin pan. I still set my oven to 350 degrees, but my cooking time was cut in half from what the recipe called for.

IMG_0766

Didn’t they turn out so pretty? I absolutely love the way that they look. These would be a great dessert to serve at a baby or bridal shower or any other type of family gathering. (Remember though, if you make the mini version – the recipe only makes a dozen!)

IMG_0804

So quick, run out to your local grocery store and pick up a pint of blueberries before they go completely out of season. If it’s already too late for blueberries in your neck of the woods, why don’t you try blackberries or raspberries and let me know how it turns out! Oh, and it’s suggested that you serve your clafoutis warm, but I didn’t mind eating one cold the next day. Just hold off on adding the powdered sugar until right before you serve them.

* Why do I trust Wikipedia as my source of education on practically everything?

** I know why. Because I learn things like a traditional clafoutis is made with cherries. If you use any other sort of fruit, it’s technically supposed to be called flaugnarde. Flaugnarde doesn’t sound so pretty, so we’re going to stick with clafoutis.

*** Do you ever wonder where phrases like “bet your bottom dollar” come from (other than the musical Annie)? It turns out, it basically means that you’re betting your last dollar because you’re so confident in something.

And that concludes today’s education from Wikipedia.

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries from Pinterest

A few weeks ago, Mister E sent me an email at work inviting me over for dinner at his parents’ house later that night. But this wasn’t going to be just a normal dinner at his parents’ house, you see. His older sister, brother-in-law, and their adorable one-year-old son were visiting from California, and this would be my first time meeting them as the girlfriend.

Instant panic set in as I realized that I should bring something over to the house but would have less than a half hour to prepare anything after work. I started racking my brain for ideas of something small, easy, and sure to impress. Thankfully, I had read Kristin’s post on Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries just a few days prior. They sounded delicious and I figured I could manage to make them in a short span of time.

IMG_1083

At home, I already had three out of the five required ingredients, so after I left work, I made a mad dash to the grocery store to pick up the rest. If anyone in Connecticut saw a crazy lady running through the aisles with graham crackers and cream cheese in her hands, I apologize on that poor girl’s behalf.

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

(recipe from SugarDerby)

  • 16 strawberries
  • 8 oz. package of reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large plain graham crackers, crushed

Directions:  After rinsing your strawberries, cut the tops off and hull out the middle using a small, sharp knife. In a bowl, combine cream cheese, powered sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Pour cream cheese mixture into a Ziploc bag and cut the tip off a corner to create a pastry bag. Pipe the cream cheese into the strawberries. Dip the strawberries into the crushed graham crackers to coat. Serve and enjoy! (Store in a refrigerator if not serving right away.)

IMG_1037

IMG_1046

 

IMG_1049 IMG_1056

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please excuse any blurry photos. Remember, I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get out the door throughout the entire process of making these.

IMG_1078

As an afterthought, I realized that I could have just bought a container of cream cheese frosting to save time as opposed to making my own. But like my mom said, at least I had the satisfaction of knowing that these were completely homemade. Since I didn’t have time to let my cream cheese soften on its own, I put it into the microwave for 15 second intervals to soften it quickly. My only regret on these strawberries is that I wish I had more time to crush my graham crackers finer. They were a bit too chunky for my taste.

I was a little bit clueless as to how I should plate my strawberries, so I ended up just coating the bottom of a large plate with additional crushed graham cracker crumbs and standing my strawberries on their tops. I also added a few fresh, whole strawberries along the side for anyone who might not be a fan of cream cheese (aka, Mister E’s nephew).

The verdict? They were insanely delicious and were a big hit with everyone! The best part though was that it only took me 20 minutes to make, meaning I had a few minutes to spare to actually run a brush through my hair and put on some lip gloss before dashing out the door.

IMG_1063

Ok, but onto important things. One of the most intriguing things about Kristin’s post on these strawberries was that she mentioned that she had found them on Pinterest. I had heard of Pinterest before on blogs like Young House Love, but thought that it was just for interior decorating and DIY projects. I didn’t know that they had food on it!

image

A few days later, I had signed myself up on the website and all I can say is that I AM IN LOVE. The best way I can describe Pinterest is as a inspirational board where you can “pin” images from across the internet that include a link to where you found that image. It’s sort of like a visual bookmark site. My favorite thing about Pinterest though is that it’s also a social website where you can follow what other people are pinning and like or comment on them.

You can pin anything from delicious food, fashion inspiration, hair tutorials, DIY projects, quotes, and funny images. The possibilities are endless. You should definitely check it out and follow me if only to get a laugh now and then.

image

(source)

Do you have a quick and easy recipe that you go to when you need to impress? Sharing is caring!