Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thin Mint Truffles (or the desperate attempt at self-control)

This past Monday, my boss gave me a box of Thin Mints.  These cookies are easily my weakness (not the cute girls in uniform asking you to give them money), and they are even better straight from the freezer.  My boss is aware of this, and I think she was giving me these to get me back from not showing up with promised doughnuts. 

I had mixed feelings upon receipt of that box—I absolutely LOVE them, but God knows that they would be gone in about one day (and one night of late night snacking), so I knew that I would have to get rid of them as soon as possible.

I was having people over on Wednesday to celebrate my birthday, so I knew that I would be able to persuade people to eat them. 

So the brainstorming began. 
And I came up with Thin Mint Truffles.  A.m.a.z.i.n.g. (and simple too!).  I used this recipe for the chocolate filling, but came up with the rest of the recipe in hopes that I won’t be left alone with the cookies (it may have been my birthday, but my thighs wouldn’t have cared about that once they started expanding to accommodate those mint delights).
I apologize for the lack of pictures, but if you have any questions on how to make the truffle base, I would go to the link above or to my go-to-girl, Annie (and these are amazing as well!).  I got so excited that I thought eating the melted chocolate was more important than taking pictures of it : ) You understand.

Thin Mint Truffles
By: Me
1 cup of Thin Mints
12oz bittersweet chocolate (Ghodiva, please!)
8 oz semisweet chocolate (I used some chocolate chips)
1 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp peppermint extract

I took about one sleeve of Thin Mints, roughly chopped them, and set them aside in a small bowl.  I also took the leftover crumbs from said chopping and put them in another side bowl (trust me, this will make sense very soon!).

Roughly chop the bittersweet chocolate and place in a separate bowl.  Bring heavy cream to a boil, and pour it over the bittersweet chocolate and stir until chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.  Add peppermint extract.

Put melted chocolate in the freezer for about 2 hours, or until set. About half way through, take bowl out and stir in the cup of chopped Thin Mints.  Place back in freezer for the rest of the time.

Just before you are about to take out the chocolate from the freezer, melt the semisweet chocolate in a double boiler.

After you take the chocolate out of the freezer, scoop out about 2 tablespoons of chocolate and form into a ball.  Dip in the melted semisweet chocolate.  Immediately after that, roll in the leftover Thin Mint crumbs.

Do you see the bite of the thin mint in the truffle??

Guys, this was amazing!!!!! Not overly pepperminty (is that even a word?), but rich and decadent at the same time.  It looks like you slaved in the kitchen, when really (aside from the two hours in the freezer) it takes about 20 minutes!  The added thin mints in the actual truffle made the texture amazing---the creamy, dark chocolate base with the crunchy bits of Thin Mints was truly perfect.  The leftover crumbs was a last-minute decision, but I think it really made the presentation (and you don’t waste one crumb of these beauties!).

The only problem I had was that the chocolate took a little longer to set, so I couldn’t finish them for the birthday party.  So I brought them into work.  My coworkers didn’t seem that upset : )

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Buckeyes....Happy Birthday, Rachel!

The Occasional Oenophile made these for me for my bday!  See how she did it : )

1/2 stick of butter
1c peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
lots of powdered sugar (1 cup or more)
1 12oz bag semisweet chocolate chips (watch out for parrafin wax and hydrogenated oils)
1 extra tbsp butter
Mix the 1/2 stick of butter and the peanut butter together with the vanilla til blended.  Then add the powdered sugar a little at a time, so it blends.  It's best to do this part with your hands.  The peanut butter ball should be firm, and peices of it should break off more than melt away when you've added enough sugar, kinda like the consistency of the inside of a Reese's cup.  You'll end up with a giant ball of peanut butter dough.  Chill this in the fridge for at least 30 mins.  If you're in a rush, the freezer will do.
In a separate bowl, melt your chocolate chips.  Many cooks like to do this in a water bath, but I find that it saves time to just nuke them (sacrilege, I'm sure!).  The trick is to be very careful and methodical about the melting, or you'll end up with nasty, burnt chocolate.  I find that this works in my microwave: 30seconds on high, take out and mix, 30 seconds on high, take out and blend completely.  The morsels will continue to melt as you blend, so don't put it back in the microwave even if it doesn't look melted all the way.  Once your chocolate is smooth, mix in the extra tablespoon of butter until blended completely.  This adds a sheen to the chocolate that most American chocolate companies get by adding parrafin wax (ew!).
 Take the peanut butter out of the fridge. 
 Break off a small piece (1/2" diameter) and roll into a ball.  Be careful not to handle it too much or your dough will begin to melt in your hands, making the next step that much harder.  Once your ball is formed, stick a toothpick in the top, about halfway through. 
Holding the toothpick, dip the ball into the melted chocolate to coat the outsides. 
Carefully remove the ball without dislodging the toothpick (it usually helps to have a spoon ready in the bowl to catch defectors).  Place the finished product on a baking sheet covered in wax paper.   Repeat this process until you run out of peanut butter and/or chocolate. 
Chill your buckeyes on the baking sheet in the fridge or freezer overnight, and make sure to store them in a cool place.  I find that they keep in the freezer quite well.  If you allow them to melt, they'll start to stick together and fall apart. 
I feel compelled to warn you that they are addictive and contain 119 calories a piece, so pace yourself. :)
Happy Birthday Rachel!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth!

This weekend revolved around food.  Just not food that I cooked.

Like Friday, at Clyde's in D.C.
A sweet, tart cosmo!
Jill's husband got these Philly cheesesteak egg rolls!! He let me steal one : ) OMGSOGOOD
Shrimp and Scallop Pad Thai--I have been dreaming about this all week!

Like Sunday brunch at my friend's house--thanks, Nicole!

With eggs, spinach, mushrooms, garlic......
And sprinkled cheese!!!!! Holy cow : )
Or like Sunday night with Ethiopian food and dessert at a cafe.
You use this bread, called Injera
Anddd scoop!--YUM
 Anddd on the way home, we got to hear some live music from a band called the Brass Connections. The whole crowd was dancing and singing--it was amazing!
I just realized that after a whole weekend full of fun with my friends, I have only taken pictures of the food. And not them.  You can obviously see where my head is at. Oops.

Soooo understandably, I am on food detox today. Yay for arugala and parm slices : )  I used Jill's recipe for the dressing--two cloves of garlic, S&P, lemon juice, and olive oil (it tasted just like caesar dressing!).
Happy Fourth! Enjoy your time with your family, friends, and good food!


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Living for the Weekends

Sorry for no post yesterday! I was out late Friday night with some friends (pics to come later!) and then Saturday I spent the sunny day outside reading this:
Doesn’t Janet Evanovich crack you up!? I think she is hilarious, and it is quite entertaining for a quick read. 

I wasn’t so busy relaxing (hee hee ) that I couldn’t have fun cooking!  My first meal was from Julia Child’s cookbook
The Poached Egg.

For years I have wanted to try this recipe, but made up excuses for fear of failure.  After watching Julie and Julia recently, I decided to take a crack at it.

The cast of characters: One egg, a pot of simmering water, and a drizzle of vinegar (to keep the whites settled).

I cracked the egg in a separate bowl to drop into the simmering water.
Immediately, I used a wooden spoon to swirl the whites around.

After that, you wait for 3-4 minutes, until the whites are settled.

Then, you take it out carefully with a slotted spoon and place it on a plate.
Yummy.  The egg tasted better than any other form of egg I have had before. And it was so easy!!! It worked on the first try. Anddd it tasted like b.u.t.t.e.r.  It didn't need anything except a fork : ) And it only took 6 minutes.
Then came more good stuff for dinner.  The idea came from my inability to make a decision for what to eat.

First, I was thinking chicken parmesan.  But then I looked in my fridge and saw leftover egg roll wrappers from last week, from Kristin’s recipe.

So, I thought I would combine the two ideas--chicken parm + egg roll wrappers = chicken parm egg rolls!  

I made an extra egg roll (three total) and had it for lunch today—yummo (yes, I just pulled a Rachael Ray).

Chicken Parm Egg Rolls
Servings: 1-2

3 Egg Roll wrappers
1 chicken breast
1 cup pasta sauce
3 slices of mozzarella cheese
a handful of chopped basil

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and dried oregano.  Cook for 20-30 minutes, until cooked . Raise oven temperature to 425 F.

Chop chicken.

In a small bowl, combine pasta sauce, basil, and chicken. Mix well.
Lay egg roll out and place slice of cheese on a diagonal. Place chicken mixture on an egg roll. 
Wrap up egg roll and place on cookie sheet seam down.  Cook for 20 minutes. 

Spoon extra sauce on top.  Enjoy!
I love this recipe! It tastes exactly like a chicken parm grinder…but crispier….and more egg-rolly than starchy bread.

Have a happy fourth, everyone!!!