Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Few Holiday Treats

Each holiday season, I try to have at least one baked good to set out for family gatherings.  In this post I'm including a few of my tried and true recipes.

My first one, Tuxedo Brownie Bites, is always a winner, and these little bites from the folks at Pampered Chef can be finished off with a topping suitable for their intended Christmas holiday appearance (strawberries) or for mid-summer appearance, as I did in a previous post here for the 4th of July (blueberries and strawberries).  You'll need a couple mini muffin pans, and this recipe yields 4 dozen.  They can be refrigerated a few days before your event, with the topping the day before, garnishing just before company.  I store leftovers as completed, in an airtight container in the fridge, and they taste great even then!
My second winner that I tried last Christmas for the first time was Oreo Truffles.  I originally saw these on Pinterest and pinned one recipe, then started reading various reviews, and worked out my own variation. They, too, were a hit, and will be a keeper recipe.  They're no bake!
Oreo Truffles (No Bake)
Ingredients (makes 3 dozen)

  • 1 package Double Stuffed Oreos (some recommend NOT using double stuffed, and you can use less cream cheese if you do.  I used double stuffed and 6 oz cream cheese).
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese you may add up to 8 oz
  • 16 oz Dipping Chocolate (I used both Baker's and Ghirardelli's white chocolate, and used 50% microwave power to melt the chocolate, according to package instructions, in 30 second increments. See additional notes below).  EDITED NOTE 11-23-13:  To clarify type of chocolate used, it is Baker's premium white chocolate baking squares (1 bar = 8 oz) and Ghiarardelli's white chocolate baking bars (2 x 4 oz bar = 8oz). Baker's chocolate is chunkier, and Ghirardelli's is thinner; hence, the reason for the different times to melt each, respectively. No chips were used in this recipe.

Instructions
  1. Crush Oreos, either in a food processor or gallon size plastic food storage bag (my preferred way, rolling with a rolling pin.  My food processor tended to gum up with the oreo creme filling). Separate and set aside approximately 3 cookies (crumbled) for garnish.
  2. Mix softened cream cheese with the crumbled Oreos, until well combined (with spoon).
  3. Roll mixture into 1" balls, place on a wax paper covered cookie sheet, and put in freezer for 15 minutes or so to firm.
  4. While balls are setting up in freezer, melt chocolate according to directions.  This is a bit tricky, as the chocolate can firm up if you try to melt it all at once.  I melted 4 oz at a time, at 50% power, in 30 second increments (stirring after each 30), for a total of 120 seconds for Baker's (it's chunkier), and 90 seconds for Ghirardelli's.  Because I was using two brands, I mixed each of the 4 oz, melted, into one larger bowl before I began dipping (with a total of 8 oz, or half of the recipe's total).  Then I repeated the process for the remaining 8 oz.
  5. Take Oreo truffle balls from freezer, and dip into chocolate. Garnish with crumbles set aside while chocolate is still wet.  Let firm on wax paper, and store in refrigerator until ready to serve, in an airtight container.

I love little finger-sized desserts for large crowds, and even better than serving to your crowd?  Having leftovers for the morning after!
This year, I found another recipe that strikes a chord on two levels:  1) it's a great little recipe from Fall through Winter, spanning everything from Halloween to Christmastime, and beyond into cold winter days, and 2) the recipe is sized just perfectly for two, but can be adjusted for a larger, standard bundt cake.
This recipe is Hannah's Spice Cake for Two:
Hannah is a local craftsperson who specializes in hand-thrown pottery, and her trademark logo is the maple leaf (pictured above is her recipe card, with her logo and web & Facebook pages).  Each item she crafts is incised with not only her signature, but also with her trademark maple leaf  logo on the piece of pottery. Each year she holds an open house, and this year I purchased her little bundt pan to make her spice cake.  It's heavenly!  I plan to make a few and freeze them, and gift them, along with the pottery bundt and recipe card.
In the photo above, you can see the little spice cake for two, alongside Hannah's beautiful pottery bundt dish, and an 8 oz glass measuring cup for perspective of size.  A close friend of Hannah's mentioned to me that you don't have to use Hannah's recipe, but any regular bundt size recipe can be scaled down to one-third of the ingredients to make the portion size for two.  Likewise, then, it would make sense that you should be able to take Hannah's recipe and triple it if you would like to make it in a regular size bundt pan.

If you try any of these recipes, be sure to leave me some feedback.  I'd love to know if they're as well received at your house as they are in mine. :)

Sharing with:
Marty's Holiday Baking Party
Christmas Extravaganza