Tag Archives: chocolate

Ginger Pumpkin (or Apple Cinnamon) Truffles.

Just when I was getting used to Fall, we’ve found ourselves in the middle of an Indian Summer.  It hit 82 degrees today!!  I was incredibly unprepared wearing jeans and a t-shirt at the park this morning and ended up a big sweaty mess.

But despite the warmer temps, I’ve completely crossed over into Fall mode:  We’ve switched out our Summer candles to Autumn scents, my sweaters and sweatshirts have found their home again in the closet, and the necessity for all things pumpkin and apple has set in.

In years past I’d heard of there being a pumpkin shortage, where the shelves of all grocery stores were devoid of pumpkin and everyone freaked out, hoarding cans if they happened upon them.  Living in Chicago, I laughe since cans of pumpkin were always readily available whenever I needed them.  That was, until last week as I stood in the baking aisle staring at the empty shelf in front of me.  I was dumbfounded, but had better luck at another store nearby.  I may have hoarded a few cans myself…  You know, just in case.

Seemed only fitting that this week’s recipe swap theme was Pumpkin/Apple recipes.  These truffles were little balls of goodness, the essence of Fall in two or three bites.  Because of my little pumpkin scare, I picked up a can of apple pie filling, which I also used to make a few Apple Cinnamon Truffles.  They were equally delicious, so feel free to substitute to your heart’s content if all of the pumpkin in your area has been hoarded by freaks like me.  :o )

Ginger Pumpkin (or Apple Cinnamon) Truffles – slightly adapted from Cooking with Christen

  • 1 Package Golden Oreos
  • 6 oz. Cream Cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 Cup Pure Pumpkin Puree (or Apple Pie Filling that has been pureed)
  • 1 tsp. Ginger, divided
  • 2 Packages White Chocolate Baking Bars
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • Crushed Pecans, for garnish

Add the Oreos to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form.  Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl) and mix together with the pumpkin (or pureed apple pie filling), cream cheese and 1/2 tsp. ginger.  Once combined, use a cookie scoop to form into small balls and place on a plate.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until firm.

Cover a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside.  Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each time, until fully melted.  Stir in the cinnamon and remaining 1/2 tsp. ginger.

Remove the balls from the fridge and dip into the chocolate, making sure they are coated evenly.  Place on the wax paper and repeat until all balls are covered in chocolate.  Sprinkle pecans on top and refrigerate until hardened.

WB Challenge #5: Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Cake Balls.

The theme for What’s Baking’s February Challenge was “Baked with Love,” which was rather fitting for a month filled with sugary musings and sweet affirmations.

So I thought about what it is that I love.  The answer is obvious:

My Boys.

I met the Husby through a mutual friend in college.  I knew that we would be married after our very first meeting.  And although he lived 100 miles away, we spent a lot of time getting to know each other by talking on the phone or chatting on the internet, and driving to see each other on the weekends.  This all became much easier when I transferred to a school closer to home.

On our first “grownup” date, he took me to a winter festival and out to a fancy dinner.  I don’t remember a lot of the specifics of that meal, but I do remember the giant chocolate dipped strawberries we had for dessert!

It sounds very cliche, but I didn’t think I could ever love anyone or anything as much as I loved the Husby until the Fruitaholic came along:

Photo by Abigail Junge - www.abigailjunge.com

I call him my little lovebug when putting him to bed for the night, so I set out to make “Lovebug Cookies,” strawberry cake mix cookies dotted with chocolate chips (like a ladybug – get it?), but when the chocolate chips didn’t melt evenly and the batter fluffed up more than I was expecting (as cake is known to do, duh), I was left with a big gooey mess.  And while it tasted good, it just didn’t look as pink and pretty as I was expecting.

So rather than just scratch it and toss the whole thing, I popped the cooked dough into my stand mixer, turned it on and watched it crumble.  I mixed it with some strawberry-cream cheese mixture that was left over from making Strawberry Stuffed French Toast, shaped it into balls, stuck them into the fridge for an hour then dipped them in chocolate.  YUM!

What do you love?

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Cake Balls – inspired by Bakerella

  • 1 Box Strawberry Cake Mix
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Canola Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips, optional
  • 1 Cup Strawberry Frosting (I used Strawberry Cream Cheese)
  • 2 Bars Ghirardelli 60% Dark Chocolate
  • Red Sanding Sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine cake mix, egg, oil and water in a large bowl.  When fully mixed, stir in chocolate chips, if using.

Press into the bottom of a greased baking dish and bake according to package directions.

When cooled, crumble cake mixture with a hand beater or stand mixer.  Mix with frosting and shape into 1-inch balls.  Place balls on a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 1 hour (or overnight).

In a microwave safe bowl, break chocolate bar into pieces.  Place in microwave at 50% power for 1 1/2 minutes then stir.  If the chocolate still has lumps after stirring, place in microwave at 50% power for an additional 30 seconds and stir.  Repeat until chocolate is smooth.

Take the cake balls out of the fridge and using a spoon, dip into the chocolate, one at a time, until fully covered.  Roll in sanding sugar, if desired.  Place the chocolate covered cake balls back onto the parchment paper.  When all cake balls have been dipped, refrigerate until hardened, about 30 minutes.

Chocolate Caramel Cookies with Sea Salt.

I am a sucker for sweet and savory combos, and chocolate salted caramel is my weakness.

I had made a different version of these cookies in the past and they were inedible.  Everything about them was wrong.  The caramel hardened and the cookie itself had no flavor and a brick-like consistency.  They went straight into the trash.  I was beyond bummed.

But these cookies?  These were a whole different story.  You know a cookie is good when you bake a full batch and they’re gone in 2 days.  Granted, I had some help, but really?  They’re damn good.  They provide the perfect balance of sweet and salty and moist and chewy, and are great for dipping into a big glass of milk.

Chocolate Caramel Cookies with Sea Salt – slightly adapted from A Good Appetite

  • 2 Cups Chocolate (I used a mixture of semi sweet chips and some chopped Hershey Bars)
  • 1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 Cups Chopped Caramel
  • Sea Salt

Working in 30 second increments and stirring after each round, microwave chocolate until melted.  Stir in butter.

Whisk together the eggs and vanilla.  Add melted chocolate and brown sugar.  Slowly add flour and baking powder  until well combined.  Stir in caramel and refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350.

Form dough into ball shapes and flatten slightly.

Pour some sea salt into a shallow dish.  Lightly roll the tops of the cookies in the salt and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes.

Cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes to allow the caramel to set, then transfer to a cookie rack.

**NOTES**

- When I took the dough out of the refrigerator, it was really hard.  I let it sit for about 10-15 minutes before working with it.

- Be generous with the salt.  It really makes the flavors pop.