Posts Tagged 'Christmas Candy Recipes'

Holiday Oreo Balls

Normally, I’m not a fan of foods made entirely from other processed foods.  However, for Oreo Balls, I make an exception.  I first tasted them last year when my friend Christopher made them.  Since Oreo cookies are one of my vices, I deemed them nothing short of heavenly.

I wanted to make my own this year, but I decided to use the classic recipe with only three ingredients: Oreos, cream cheese, and bark coating.  (Christopher’s recipe had butter in it as well, which made a firmer candy.)  To put a holiday twist on my Oreo Balls, I decided to use Oreos with mint creme filling and to sprinkle the candies with peppermint powder.  Here’s how I made them.

First, I piled an entire package of mint creme Oreos (17 ounces) and an 8-ounce package of softened cream cheese into the largest bowl of my food processor.  I pulsed the cookies and the cream cheese until they were completely blended.  (The mixture resembled a thick brownie batter.)  On a baking sheet lined with wax paper, I spooned out 1/2-tablespoon scoops of the mixture, repeating the process with an additional baking sheet to accommodate all of the candies.  I transferred the baking sheets to the refrigerator and chilled the candies for 1 hour.

While the candies chilled, I put Dr. O to work on the peppermint powder.  He put four candy canes inside a freezer bag and then put that bag inside another freezer bag.  He placed the bag of candy canes on a cutting board (to absorb the impact) and then pounded them with the flat side of our meat mallet.  When he had them pretty well pulverized, he placed a fine-mesh sieve over a small bowl, dumped the crushed candies into the sieve, and then sifted out the powder.

Once the candies had chilled for an hour, I took them out of the refrigerator, used my clean hands to roll them into balls, and then tucked them back into the refrigerator.  Next, I melted a package of white bark coating (24 ounces) in the microwave according to package instructions.  I took the candies back out of the refrigerator, dipped one in the melted bark, spooned the bark over the top, and then lifted the coated candy out with a fork.  I let the excess bark run through the fork tines for a few seconds and then transferred the candy to a sheet of wax paper.  I immediately sprinkled the candy with a bit of the peppermint dust and then repeated the process for the remaining candies.  Once the bark had set (about 15 minutes), I trimmed any excess bark from the base of the candies with a paring knife.  (Feel free to skip this step – I’m a lunatic!)  I should have counted them before we started eating them, but the recipe yields around 5 dozen with 1/2-tablespoon scoops.

Holiday Oreo Balls

If you like Oreos, you’ll find these irresistible.  The chocolate center is soft like a truffle (even when chilled) and it most definitely tastes like Oreos.  One thing it doesn’t taste like is cream cheese…  I was surprised, but you can hardly taste the cream cheese at all.  I think it functions more as a textural element to create the creamy center than it does to flavor the candy.  Besides the creamy center, you get a bit of a crisp snap from the bark, and the peppermint dust on top is crunchy like sanding sugar.  So. So. Yummy.

TIPS:  I chose to use peppermint powder instead of peppermint candy bits because the Oreo Balls need to be stored in the refrigerator.  When you put hard candy in the refrigerator, the moisture from the refrigerator causes it to soften, ruining its texture.  (It’s fine to leave the Oreo Balls out for a few hours, of course, but I think the cream cheese necessitates refrigerator storage for longer periods.  You can freeze them as well.)

Also, and this is kind of a biggie, I would strongly recommend putting the uncoated candy in the freezer for 15 minutes or so after you roll them into balls.  That way, it’s less likely that you’ll have many cookie crumbs end up in your bark and the candy will be less likely to stick to your dipping fork.  These problems weren’t major, but I’ll definitely incorporate freezer time for best results the next time I make this candy.

Recipe link: Oreo Balls

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Bourbon Balls

Last year, Dr. O’s grandmother gave me a folder full of holiday meal suggestions and recipes from various magazines from the late ’60s and early ’70s.  (How fun, right?)  The folder has a little bit of everything – drinks, appetizers, mains, sides, and desserts (along with some great holiday hairstyle ideas, hehe!) – so I thought I’d see if I could find something to add to my dinner party menu for next weekend.  One dish that really jumped out at me was a 1969 Good Housekeeping recipe for Bourbon Balls…  It was short, sweet, and good for making ahead, so I decided to give it a try.

There are several ingredients that need to be finely chopped, so I used my mini food processor quite a bit.  If you don’t have a food processor or chopper, the recipe is definitely still “doable.”  It just might not be quite as fun or easy.

First, I ground handfuls of vanilla wafers in my food processor to yield 2 1/2 cups of ground wafers.  (The recipe says they should be finely crushed, so banging them in a Ziploc with a rolling pin could be a decent alternative.)  I transferred the ground wafers to a large bowl.  Next, I used the food processor to finely chop 1 cup of walnuts.  I transferred those to the bowl as well.

To the mixture in the bowl, I added 1 cup of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of baking cocoa, 1/3 cup of bourbon, and 3 tablespoons of corn syrup.  I stirred the mixture until everything was well incorporated and then hand-rolled the mixture into 1-inch balls.  (Each ball was about 1 tablespoon of the mixture and the recipe makes about 36.)  To finish them off, I rolled the balls in granulated sugar.

Bourbon Balls

My friend Christopher absolutely loved these, but I have to say…  These Good Housekeeping people must have really loved boozy candy back in 1969.  Holy smokes!  The bourbon flavor is pretty strong, and you get shot-like warmth as they head down the hatch.  (If you’ve already had a fair share of “holiday cheer,” you might not feel it as much, but wow.)

I actually made them again the next day, cut down on the bourbon, and incorporated a bit of coffee and vanilla as “replacement liquid.”  I think my adaptation will be more of a crowd pleaser.  I really love the idea of this recipe, though, and the candies are just so pretty and festive with the sparkly sugar coating.

TIPS:  The first time I made the recipe, my mixture was a bit dry and I had a hard time rolling it into balls.  If this happens, just add more liquid (corn syrup, bourbon, or whatever, really), mix until it’s well incorporated, and try again.

UPDATE (12/10/09):  I’ve been discussing this recipe with a friend lately and I thought it would be good give you my exact recommended breakdown for the liquid.  Instead of 1/3 cup of bourbon, I recommend using 3 tablespoons of bourbon, 2 tablespoons of coffee, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  That way, you’ll still get the bourbon flavor without the burn.  If you still think the flavor is too strong, go with 3 tablespoons of coffee, 2 tablespoons of bourbon and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Peppermint Bark

Get ready for more Christmas yummies (already!). Today, I made Peppermint Bark from the December 2005 issue of Everyday Food.

The recipe list is short: 1 pound of chopped white chocolate (NOT chips), 2 cups of Rice Krispies, and 7.5 ounces of peppermints. I started by prepping a baking sheet. I sprayed it with nonstick cooking spray and then lined it with a piece of wax paper. (The cooking spray helps the paper adhere to the pan.) Next, I unwrapped about 45 peppermints, put them in a doubled resealable plastic bag (one inside the other), and pounded the heck out of them. This was the hardest part of the recipe, really. You need a decent amount of force to break those little disks, and there’s really no way around the noise. (My cat was alarmed.) Once they were crushed, I put the pieces in a sieve to remove the fine powder and set them aside.

Next, I put the white chocolate in a heatproof glass bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. (This is my version of a double boiler, which is one item I haven’t added to my collection yet.) I stirred the chocolate occasionally until it was melted, about 5 minutes. I removed it from the heat and stirred in the Rice Krispies.

I transferred the mixture to the lined baking sheet and spread it to the edges with a spatula. I sprinkled the crushed peppermints on top and then gently pressed them into the chocolate with a baking-sheet-sized piece of wax paper. I chilled the bark for 25 minutes in the refrigerator and then broke it into 2-inch pieces. Done!

peppermint_bark.jpg

This peppermint bark is addictive, seriously. The bark itself is softer than I expected, but the peppermints provide a nice crunch. Someone decided to buy out all of the Baker’s white chocolate in the three grocery stores near my home, so I ended up using Ghirardelli baking bars. I’m sure the use of quality chocolate contributed to the “yum” factor.

TIPS: The recipe says to use a rolling pin or a skillet to crush the peppermints. I found that the smooth side of my meat mallet worked best. If you don’t have a sieve, you could use a colander to separate the candy pieces from the powder.

Also, from the sound of the recipe, keeping your cooling time between 20 – 30 minutes is essential. Apparently, the moisture in the refrigerator will ruin the peppermints if the bark is stored there for too long. If you put the bark in an airtight container and keep it at room temperature, you should be able to enjoy it for a week.

Recipe link: Peppermint Bark




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