Monday, June 18, 2012

Cookie Dough Madness

My first day off in a week! I seriously didn't know what I should be doing with myself, not having to work, so I did almost nada. Except waste time on Pinterest. And eat a freaking huge burger at Islands with the hubby. And, of course, check up on Bakerella's blog! Boy, am I glad I did! 3 words: Cookie. Dough. Truffles. Yes, please! Stumbling upon this fantastically easy treat was very fortuitous, since we just got new neighbors next door (who seem awesome!), and I wanted to make something for them to welcome them to our neighborhood. And these are egg-free, so there's no worry about E coli! Woot! Also, did you know there's a statistic that says 71% of all raw cookie dough consumers are women? Sounds about right to me! Anyways, let's get to not baking!


Cookie Dough Truffles
from Bakerella

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
chocolate candy coating (or chips)


In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy (for about 3 minutes).



Now, mix in the milk and vanilla.


Add the flour and salt and mix on low until combined.


My dough was still very dry, so I added about a teaspoon and a half more of milk. Worked like a dream.

Stir in the chocolate chips.


Just because you need to fully appreciate this fantastic mixture, here's a close up. Nom nom nom! At this point, I think two, maybe three truffles were lost. I have a bad habit of not letting my cookie dough touch the cookie sheet. Sam buys the Costco bucket of Nestle cookie dough for me from time to time, and we've made maybe one dozen cookies. I snack on the dough all the time. :) So the fact that this stuff is egg-less is awesome!


Chill the dough in refrigerator for about 30 minutes until it's firm enough to roll or scoop into 1-inch balls. I made them a little smaller, since I know I will not be able to exercise self-control and eat just one.


Place rolled balls on a wax paper lined baking sheet and place in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. Mine were in for longer because dinner prep had to start, and I can't procrastinate forever. :(

Melt the chocolate according to the directions on the package. I like the microwave, mostly because I've had bad luck with double broilers.



Remove a couple of balls from the freezer at a time and dip them in the chocolate. Make sure to let any extra chocolate fall off back into the bowl.




Decorate with more mini chips or however fancy you want, then place them on the wax paper to set. How do you like your truffles?


Fancy?


Just plain delicious?


Or even fancier?

Me, I just like them. Period. This recipe made about 30 little truffles, after I ate some of the dough. :)

So, since I used regular chocolate and not candy coating, my truffles took a little longer to set. I'm rather impatient, especially with sweets, so into the freezer they went! Ready to eat in 15 minutes or less.

Also, our neighbors really loved them. Awesome neighbor level: 99!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cannoli, Americanized

Have you missed me? Because, golly, I've missed you guys! And baking. I started a job (I know, what a drag) and I'm working FOREVER-long hours, so my free time is spent sleeping, sleeping, and oh yes, more sleeping. But finally, I found myself in possession of a day off, and of course, I had to make a sweet treat. :)

Back in my single days, I did a lot of crazy things to win over the heart of a really hot opera singer. I used to host these themed dinners, potluck-style, for my friends. My favorite was Italian night. Now that we're married, our themed dinners are on a much smaller scale. We whipped up tons of spaghetti and meat-a-balls, and I made Ariel bread, which is my own deviation of the classic garlic bread, with Alfredo sauce and paprika. But I felt like we needed to round it off with an authentic Italian dessert. I rifled through all my cookbooks, scoured all the websites I knew, but nothing seemed right. Tiramisu? Too alcoholic. Panna Cotta? Takes 4 freaking hours. Biscotti? Eh, maybe. And then I saw it: the classic, the wonderful, the cannoli. I couldn't find any pre-made cannoli shells anywhere. If only we had a fancy-schmancy bakery with petit fours and macarons in the display case. I'm sure with my wily ways I could have purchased un-filled shells. If only, if only. I thought, perhaps I will make them. I mean, how hard can it be? Ha. I don't have any cannoli tubes or a dowel lying around. Sam was quite averse to me even considering buying the white wine necessary for making the shells, too. I thought, surely my dreams of creating the perfect cannoli would be dashed. However, in my diligent interweb search, I found a sneaky fake-out that works almost as well. You want to know? Oh, I know you do.


Cannoli Fake-Out

24 ounces ricotta cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
12 sugar cones (I know, sneaky, right?)
Mini chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate (I chose option two)


Start out by draining the ricotta cheese. Drain, drain, drain! The trick is to let it dry out as much as you can. I read that you want it to sit overnight, but you know me, impatient! Use a paper towel and a strainer, or a cheesecloth, which would work better.


After about 15 minutes of no ricotta juice, I gave up on that idea and just piled it all onto a couple of paper towel squares and pressed the juice out. When the paper towels got moist, I replaced them.


This next step is optional, but I think it's a necessity. Melt yourself some chocolate.



Dip each and every sugar cone in the chocolate.




Sam said he thought that might be too much chocolate. I think he's crazy.


Yummy!


Mix the powdered sugar and ricotta together. Now add the little bits of chocolate to the concoction.



Fill a pastry bag or a ziploc bag with the cannoli filling. Now finish the job!



I popped these babies in the freezer to let the filling set. Just be careful not to leave them in too long. When you're ready to chow down, top it off with some whipped cream and enjoy!



Sam-a is-a enjoying his-a delicious-a cannoli, whilst our (creepy) friend Ryan is in the background. According to me, our dinner was a success! Now you go try the easiest cannoli you'll ever make, no baking or frying involved!