Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cookie Dough Truffles

It never ceases to amaze me how sometimes the simplest of things can be the most impressive to the masses. This was the case when I made a couple of bite-sized desserts for my parents' surprise 60th birthday party.

I ordered a sheet cake, but I also made Birthday Cake Rice Krispie Treats and Cookie Dough Truffles so there were other options to jazz up the dessert table. Neither recipe even required baking, and I got so many compliments! Perfect!

These cookie dough truffles were something that I picked up from Bakerella, whom you can't help but love. Of course her confections are always adorable, and her photography skills are superb (especially compared to my last-minute photos taken in the dark).

The recipe is so easy, and I thought the presentation was really nice for a crowd. They're super easy to transport and serve, and guests can put them up by the stick, keeping their fingers from getting sticky. It was also the first time that I had ever used candy melts, and they were super easy to work with. The candy coating hardens up so nicely, adding to the ease of transport and consumption — all qualities that one wants in a party food!

If you'd like to eat cookie dough that doesn't carry the worry of poisoning, try these. They are yummy!

Cookie Dough Truffles (makes about 3 dozen)
Adapted from Bakerella

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp.
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
2 bags chocolate candy coating (sold at craft stores, among other places)
Popsicle sticks, trimmed (lollipop sticks might work too)
Sprinkles (optional)

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using an electric mixer), beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Mix in milk and vanilla. Add flour and salt and mix on low until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Chill dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes until firm enough to scoop into 1-inch balls (I used a 1-inch cookie scoop).

Quickly roll the scoops of dough between your hands to form a smooth ball and place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer for 15-30 minutes. (Don't leave them in there too long — you won't be able to get the sticks in!)

Melt candy coating following the instructions on the package. Remove a couple of dough balls from the freezer at a time and insert the cut side of the popsicle stick into the ball. Dip into the candy coating, allowing excess chocolate to fall off back into the bowl so it is evenly coated.

Place back onto the baking sheet to set and add sprinkles (optional) before chocolate hardens. If the chocolate pools at the bottom of the truffle, dab it on the wax paper to pull some of the excess coating off and place on a clean spot on the baking sheet.

Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week.

Click here for a printable recipe!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Baked Brown Sugar Wings

The Superbowl. It's Sunday! It's the 49ers vs. the Ray Lewises!

Fact: Last year's game was a little more exciting for me. My team was in it (and won...ahem!).
Fact: This year I have no stake in either team and will use the game as an excuse to eat delicious, sporty finger food.
Fact: I've had a cold that has overstayed its welcome by about 4 days. It has striped me of my sense of taste! Sad trombone. It turns out that I eat strictly for pleasure.

If you like wings (and I mean wings where you can actually taste chicken, not just...fried), please make these! You will be astonished that they are so tender and full of flavor. And baked! So you're leaving behind all of the calories that oil adds.

Monday, January 28, 2013

White Bean Turkey Chili

Not only is there the momentum of the New Year, but I also have a serious desire to lose my remaining "baby weight." You know how there are those lucky b!$%*es women who seem to lose all of their baby weight without trying? Well, I am definitely not one of those women!

As a result, this mama is on a mission. I have been on the prowl for recipes that meet the following criteria: calorie conscious, WW-friendly, easily transportable and reheatable, and flavorful. This recipe for White Bean Turkey Chili is one of the healthy lunch recipes that I recently added to my repertoire.

I liked the list of ingredients and appreciated a chili that wasn't tomato-based. It also reheats nicely and tastes great with a spoonful of sour cream and a little fresh lime.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Almond Joy Bars

These sweet treats were the perfect end to a lovely lunch with my parents and in-laws. Not to mention, they were quick enough to whip up with a 1-month-old and overnight houseguests!

From bottom to top: First you have a rich, buttery almond shortbread; that's essentially topped with a macaroon-like coconut layer; and the cherry on top is a layer of bittersweet chocolate and toasted almonds.

They're called Almond Joy Bars, but they are even more delicious because of the rich shortbread layer. It's even just a little bit salty, and counters the sweetness of the other layers perfectly!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Chicken Tikka Masala

I absolutely love Indian food. I love fancy Indian restaurants. I love Philadelphia's self-serve Indian buffets. I loved when my college roommate used to come back from holiday breaks with homemade roti and curry from her Guyanese grandmother. I loved the Indian food from the hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Madras, India that our auto-rickshaw driver took us to for lunch.

I still love to look at my photos from that amazing trip — wish I blogged then so I would have thought to photograph the grub!

Back to the food! Indian food has such depth of flavor between all of the spices, chutneys, and sauces. And I also find the variety of vegetarian options quite appealing.

And naan. Oh, the naan!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Birthday Cake Rice Krispie Treats

It's pretty common these days to have sweets that are cake batter flavored. Ice cream, Italian ice, pancakes, fudge, etc. And because I like to be on the cutting edge of culinary trends...


...I recently whipped up some birthday cake rice krispie treats. And then whipped up another batch. And another. And then I made them for a birthday party to go alongside the cake.

It had been a while since I made these treats. Like maybe since high school? I forgot how easy, light, and pleasantly (but not overtly) sweet they are. And the addition of cake mix and sprinkles adds a variation on the flavor. I'm not claiming them to be anything gourmet. Just a nice switch from the typical sweet treats.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Baked French Toast Casserole

Happy New Year! It was a super busy end of 2012, and I intended to post this recipe pre-holidays because it's a great recipe for Christmas or New Year's Day. Oops. Holidays or not, if you're having company or just want something simple but tasty for breakfast, this is a delicious, easy option.

My aunt and uncle were coming to visit Katy, and I knew I wanted to make some sort of french toast casserole — that's because I wanted something that I could prep the evening before after Katy went to sleep. I found several recipes online, namely Ina Garten's and Paula Deen's. I took my favorite parts of both recipes and morphed them into the hybrid version posted below.

One modification included removing an entire stick of butter from Paula's recipe — I don't know what that woman is thinking sometimes!

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