This will be the first of three posts about the big Jack and Jill shower that we threw for my brother and his fiancee this past weekend. We had a great time and it was wonderful not only seeing my brother and his fiancee, but extended family that I haven’t seen in way too long.
If you’ve been reading my blog, then you know that my son has a tree nut and sesame allergy. This means that bakeries are off limits because of the likelihood of cross contamination in the baking process. Food allergies are challenging in everyday life, but completely suck when it comes to eating out or special occasions. There’s no running to the local bakery for a cool Hot Wheels cake churned out by a professional. There’s no stopping last minute to pick up chocolate chip cookies or doughnuts for the class party. If I want my child to partake in a party or get a cool birthday cake, then it’s up to yours truly to bake it. This isn’t all bad. First of all, I learned to bake and discovered that I enjoyed it. Second of all, I haven’t met too many bakery cakes that I thought were that special, that goes for the Crisco icing too. In fact, the only two things that I miss about using a bakery are an artful looking cake and the ease of ordering it. Lucky for me, though, I don’t always have to do this myself. First son is blessed with an awesome grandma, who not only has mastered some cake recipes, but has even taken cake decorating lessons to make his cakes that much more special. She does it because she loves him, and because she knows the seriousness of his allergy. So, my mom baked the cake for the shower using a Barefoot Contessa recipe called Birthday Cake with Hot Pink Buttercream Icing, which you can food on the foodnetwork.com. My mom follows the recipe for the cake, but uses her own buttercream icing recipe. She also adapts the cooking time to a accommodate a rectangular shaped pan, which she figured out using trial an error. I can’t say enough about this recipe. The cake is moist and delicious with a hint of lemon that is a perfect complement to the sweetness of the vanilla butter cream icing. We have used this recipe many times and never been disappointed.
My task was to complement the cake. Originally, I was going to bake a chocolate peanut butter cake that I discovered on Smitten Kitchen, when I didn’t even know what Smitten Kitchen, or a blog was. However, I also wanted to make Bakerella’s cake pops again, because they are so good, and so cute, that I thought they would be a perfect dessert for the kids. Then, I stumbled upon a recipe for cookie dough cake cops at Baked Perfection and decided that I had to try them. I’m calling them truffles only because I didn’t put them on a stick, a last minute decision because I didn’t have time to go get a styrofoam block or more lollipop sticks. This recipe was easy and super delicious. The original recipe says that it makes about twenty balls, this is if you are rolling them quarter size. Since I was not making them into pops, my one regret was not making them smaller. They were very rich. I think a smaller cookie dough ball would have easily satisfied everyone’s sweet tooth and given me more truffles. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this recipe.
Chocolate Cookie Dough Truffles
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
dash of cinnamon
1 stick butter, softened (it is even okay if it is melting a little)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 bag of chocolate candy melts
In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt, and cinnamon. In a second, larger bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Roll the mixture into small balls and lay on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Chill until firm. Melt candy melts in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds or so. Using a spoon or fork (I used both to help me maneuver the balls onto wax paper) dip the balls into the chocolate and then place on a sheet of wax paper.
Now, let’s talk about decorating and learning from my mistakes. Since I also made brownie bites and needed to work with melted chocolate for that recipe, I decided that I would use a plastic squeeze bottle (think condiment bottle) to decorate the truffles. Waste of time! I was trying to do so many things at once that I wasn’t able to decorate everything at the same shot. Guess what happened? The chocolate hardened and I was left with an impossible to clean plastic bottle and wasted chocolate. I think the squeeze bottle is an excellent idea if you are organized and have everything ready to go like an assembly line. If, like me, you try to fill chocolate molds for one dessert while also trying to make another dessert, then you’ll end up with this: Had I read all the directions before I had started, which, by the way, I highly recommend but seldom do, I would have taken the suggestion to fill a baggie and cut a small corner off, sort of like a piping bag, which I ended up doing (without reading this advice) in my own desperation. However, I microwaved the chocolate first and then poured it into the bag. I’m not big on microwaving plastic. I think they turned out well. This is what it looks like when you bite into one.Absolutely awesome!!
I also made peanut butter balls which are made very similar to the chocolate chip cookie dough truffles. There are quite a few variations of this recipe online, here is the one that I used.
Peanut Butter Balls:
2 cups creamy peanut butter
½ cup butter
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 cups crispy rice cereal
1 bag of chocolate bag melts
1/2 bag of pink candy melts
1/2 bag of white candy melts
Melt peanut butter and butter in saucepan, over low heat. In large bowl, mix crispy rice cereal and confectioners’ sugar until well combined. Pour melted peanut butter and butter over cereal and sugar and blend together thoroughly. Form into 1 inch or smaller balls (again, I think I made mine too big), spread on cookie sheets, chill till firm in refrigerator.Melt the chocolate candy melts in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds or so. Using a teaspoon or a fork (or both) dip the balls into chocolate and place on wax paper until hardened. Decorate with white or pink chocolate. You can also mix it up a bit and dip the peanut butter into white chocolate (which first son seemed to favor) or pink chocolate. It’s up to you. (The finished product is pictured first, on my new Willow House platter.)
Two things about the peanut butter balls. I was hesitant to use the crispy rice cereal. I just couldn’t imagine the texture, but after reading so many favorable reviews I thought, what the heck. Turns out people really liked the crunch it added. Also, when I decorated these, I just used a teaspoon to drizzle chocolate on top. While the plastic bag idea worked, it was just easier to use the spoon. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did. Oh, and this is what my kitchen looked like when I finished. Who set off the bomb?Tomorrow, brownie bites and party favors. Until then, happy Monday!