I love to cook and and I love to read. As I was sitting on the beach in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. reading my latest novel, a "novel" idea came to me. I decided I would start a blog which combined both passions where I review a book, and also write about a new dish I cook. The food will be inspired by either the food mentioned in the book, or inspired by the geography and culture in the book. Enjoy!
Home-made candies and treats make great gifts around the holidays. I made some winners this year, and wanted to share the recipes. They are all SUPER easy and VERY tasty.
Oreo Truffles (these won me first place in a bake-off at work):
1) 1 box of Oreo Cookies (regular, not double stuff)
2) 1 block of cream cheese (full fat) softened at room temperature
3) 16 oz of semi-sweet Baker's Chocolate, melted
1) Put the cookies into a food processor and grind into fine crumbs like sand (you may need to do a few batches). * Don't try to do this by hand. A food processor is key.
2) Pour the crumbs into a bowl, and mix the crumbs with the room temperature cream cheese. (You will need to work/knead the cream cheese and cookie crumbs together with your hands). Form into a glossy brown dough.
3) Use a scoop (like a melon baller) to roll the dough into small 1 inch balls (if too sticky, let the dough firm up in fridge if it starts to get melty)
4) Put on a wax paper lined sheet, and let them sit in the freezer for about an hour so you can handle them better later when you dip them in the chocolate.
5) Melt 8 ounces (1 box) of bakers chocolate in the microwave. Do not over-heat. Follow the directions on melting chocolate. Always put in for about 30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds, stir etc....at the end, stir really fast and you'll melt the rest, but don't overheat. Melt the other 8 oz when ready and repeat with remaining Oreo balls.
6) Drop in an Oreo ball into the chocolate and pull out with a spoon, so you coat the whole ball. The chocolate will stick well and smoothly to the frozen ball. Then put in the fridge to harden them.
7) Optional: roll in nuts, coconut, Oreo crumbs, etc.
8) Keep cool
1) 3 - 4 cups of powdered sugar
2) 1 stick of butter, softened
3) 1 1/2 cups of peanut butter
4) 1 teaspoon of vanilla
5) 16 oz of semi-sweet Bakers Chocolate
1) Mix together the powdered sugar, butter, peanut butter and vanilla. Once the dough starts to form, you'll need to use your hands. If the texture is too crumbly, add a little peanut butter...if too mushy, add a little powdered sugar. You should be able to easily roll them into balls.
2) Use a melon baller to scoop out the dough and roll into small 1 inch balls onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper
3) Put balls on a wax paper lined sheet, and let them sit in the freezer for about an hour so you can handle them better later when you dip them in the chocolate.
4) Melt 8 ounces (1 box) of bakers chocolate in the microwave. Do not over-heat. Follow the directions on melting chocolate. Always put in for about 30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds, stir etc....at the end, stir really fast and you'll melt the rest, but don't overheat. Melt the other 8 oz when ready and repeat with remaining balls.
5) Use a toothpick and dip about 3/4's of the way into the chocolate, place on wax paper lined sheet, and remove toothpick. You can smooth over the toothpick whole easily. * Note: If the balls are not frozen, it will be really hard to handle.
6) Put in the fridge to harden them
1) A bag of Mini Pretzels
2) 2-3 Bags of Rollo's
3) Halved Pecans
1) Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
2) Lay as many pretzels as you can fit onto a wax paper lined baking sheet
3) Unwrap the Rolo candy
4) Place one Rolo on the center of each mini pretzel
5) Put the pretzels into the oven for 3-5 minutes (4 works for me) until the Rolo is slightly melted on top of the pretzel
6) Take out of the oven ans move to step 7 immediately
7) Gently press (squish) a pecan half into the melted Rolo so it spreads across the pretzel
8) Cool completely.
9) Repeat until you run out of Pretzels/Rolos/Pecans