Monthly Archives: December 2009

Bacon and Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles

Bacon and Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles

Yes, you read that right, bacon and peanut butter chocolate truffles.  Are you still with me?  Are you a little weirded out?  If so, let me help:

Peanut butter = delicious

Chocolate = delicious

Bacon = ridiculously delicious

That means that peanut butter + chocolate + bacon = one helluva awesome treat

Truffle center ingredients

Make these little gems for your New Year’s party and surprise your guests (or your hostess) with the unique taste.  They are salty, sweet, chocolatey, and yes, bacon-y.  They come together very quickly and easily and can be made ahead of time.

Chocolate and butter and bacon fat, oh my

The original recipe calls for salted peanuts as part of the truffle center.  We used salted peanuts and the finished truffle is tasty, but a little on the salty side.  Next time, I will use unsalted peanuts to see if that makes a difference.  If you make these and use unsalted peanuts, please let us know how they are.  Also, the original recipe calls for 4 tbls of butter to be melted with the chocolate.  We wanted to give the truffles an extra kick of bacon so we use 2 tbls butter and 2 tbls bacon fat.  The chocolate was a bit thin so we dipped the truffles twice.  If you want to tone down the bacon flavor (why??), then you can use all butter.  In that case, you may not have to dip them twice… though if you have as much chocolate left over as we did, you might as well!

Dipping the balls

Bacon and Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles

Recipe adapted from The Bacon Cookbook

Ingredients:

6 slices lean streaky bacon

4 oz salted peanuts (about 1/2 cup)

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons bacon fat

six 1-oz squares semisweet chocolate

In a large skillet, fry the bacon over moderate heat until crisp, drain on paper towels, and let cool completely.  Reserve 2 tbls of the rendered bacon fat and let cool.

In a blender or food processor, combine the bacon, peanuts, and sugar and grind to a fine texture.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the peanut butter, and stir until well blended and smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill about 1 hour.

Roll the mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter, place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper, cover with plastic wrap, and chill about 30 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, combine the butter, reserved bacon fat, and chocolate in a small sauce pan and stir over very low heat till melted and smooth.  Remove from the heat and let cool until slightly warm.

Using a fork, coat the balls completely in the melted chocolate.  Set them back on the baking sheet and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes more).  If there is melted chocolate left over, give the balls a second coating.  Store in the refrigerator till ready to serve.  Or eat them all now.  It’s your choice….don’t think it’ll be an easy one.

To Serve:

Serve chilled.  Makes 18 to 20 truffles.

3 Comments

Filed under Candy, Dessert, Recipes

Stir-Fry of Napa Cabbage and Carrots

Stir-Fry of Napa Cabbage and Carrots

Are you feeling a little burnt out on all of the rich, buttery, and sugar-laden holiday food?  I definitely am.  After a few weeks of heavy eating, my body is starting to crave roasted lean meats and light preparations of vegetables. 

Shredded veggies

This recipe is a light and easy way to fix more of your winter vegetables, namely carrots and cabbage.  Both vegetables are shredded, stir-fried with garlic and fresh ginger, and tossed with a simple sauce of soy, toasted sesame oil, and a little chili paste for heat.  The whole thing comes together in just a few minutes and is a nice side to a roast chicken.

Adding the carrots

Stir-Fry of Napa Cabbage and Carrots

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

Ingredients:

1 tbls peanut oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbls fresh ginger, peeled and minced

8 oz carrots, peeled and shredded

1 medium-large head Napa Cabbage (about 2 lbs), rinsed and thinly sliced

2 tbls soy sauce

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1/2 tsp chili paste with garlic

2 tbls fresh cilantro, finely chopped

To Make:

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat.  Add the peanut oil, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry for a few minutes, but do not allow the garlic to brown.

Add the carrot and stir-fry for 3 minutes.

Add the cabbage and stir-fry for 3 minutes.

Add the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and chili paste and stir well to mix.

To Serve:

Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately.  Serves 4-6 as a side dish

Leave a comment

Filed under Dinner, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Merry Christmas.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas day.  Things here at chez Wicked Whisk were lots of fun.  Thing 1 oohed and ahhed her way through three hours of presents while Thing 2 stared somewhat slack-jawed at all of the colors and lights. 

Dough ball

Then after the orgy of present opening was over, we feasted on strata and the most delicious cinnamon rolls ever created.  While I realize that many have had their fill of rich food by now, this recipe is one you should try to squeeze in before the New Year’s resolutions. 

Rolling the dough

Serving cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning has long been a tradition in my family, one that I am proud to keep alive now that I have a family of my own.  Historically, we always had Pillsbury cinnamon rolls but last year, I went on a search for something better.  I found this recipe for cinnamon rolls from Alton Brown.  I generally like Alton Brown so I gave them a whirl.  Once I had one, I was completely hooked.  These really are the best cinnamon rolls I have ever eaten… just the right ratio of roll to cinnamon-flavored brown sugar and topped with a sweet and creamy icing.

Cutting the rolls

The best part about these rolls is that most of the work has to be done the night before.  That makes them perfect for a morning when you want something delicious but don’t want to have to work too hard (*cough* New Year’s day).  The dough is made, rolled, spread, and shaped the night before.  The next morning, the rolls are proofed with a bit of boiling water in the oven, then baked.  The icing takes minutes to make and spread once the rolls are baked.  So while these rolls are excellent on Christmas morning, don’t wait that long.  Make and serve them on New Year’s day as one last hurrah before we all go back to our healthy eating habits.

Proofed and ready to bake

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Recipe from Alton Brown

Dough Ingredients:

4 large egg yolks, room temperature

1 large whole egg, room temperature

2 ounces sugar (approximately 1/4 cup)

3 ounces unsalted butter, melted (approximately 6 tbls)

6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature

20 ounces all-purpose flour (approximately 4 cups), plus extra for dusting

1 package instant dry yeast (approximately 2 1/4 tsp)

1 1/4 tsp kosher salt

vegetable oil or cooking spray

Filling Ingredients:

8 ounces light brown sugar (approximately 1 cup)

1 tbls ground cinnamon

pinch of kosher salt

3/4 ounce unsalted butter (approximately 1 1/2 tbls)

Icing Ingredients:

2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened (approximately 1/4 cup)

3 tbls milk

5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar (approximately 1 1/2 cups)

To Make:

For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.

Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.

While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.

3 Comments

Filed under Baked goods, Breakfast, Recipes

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Lemon Creme

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Lemon Creme

I went on a crazy baking spree early in December.  I churned out batches of cookies, candies, fudge, bars, and other delicious goodies.  I took things to parties, gave some away, and we ate some (okay, a lot).  When I woke up from my sugar-induced holiday stupor the other day, I realized,with some amount of panic, that we were almost out of Christmas goodies… and with Christmas less than a week away.

Molasses goodness

Clearly that would not do.  I refuse to have my first Christmas with Thing 1 old enough to know what is going on be without delicious treats.  I knew I had to do something and before you can say advent calendar, I was back in the kitchen whipping up my third batch of these cookies.  The first two batches were whisked away to parties, despite the longing glances from Marc and Thing 1.  They were such a hit that it was only fair for me to make a batch for us to enjoy.

Making the cookies

And enjoy we have.  I think the gingerbread is just right… not too sweet, not too spicy, crispy on the edges and soft in the middle.  The lemon creme is a perfect complement.  Make them small for bite-sized treats, a little bigger if you want a heartier cookie.  It is helpful if you let them chill in the fridge a little before eating so the creme can firm up.  Of course, if you are anything like us, devouring them as soon as they are put together tastes pretty awesome too.

Little balls of gingerbread heaven

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Lemon Creme

The folks at McCormick have really outdone themselves with this recipe.  I adapted it slightly

Ingredients:

3 cups flour

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses (I like robust or blackstrap)

1 egg

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow cream

4 oz cream cheese, softened

1 tsp lemon extract

zest of 1 lemon

To Make:

Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in large bowl.  With a mixer set on medium speed, beat 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add molasses and egg and beat well.  Gradually beat the flour mixture until well mixed.  Press the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).  The firmer it is, the easier it is to handle so don’t skimp on this step.

After chilling, pull off pieces of dough and roll into balls, about 1 inch in diameter.  I used a melon baller to make my dough balls uniform in size (I also made them a little smaller than 1 inch).  Roll each ball in granulated sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown.  If you oven is anything like mine, turn the cookies half way to ensure even browning.  Remove to wire racks to let cool completely.

To make the cream, mix the remaining butter, cream cheese, marshmallow cream, extract, and lemon zest until well blended.  Spoon 1/2-1 tbls of cream on the flat side of a cookie and top it with another cookie, pressing gently to spread the filling.  Place on a tray and refrigerate 30-60 minutes to firm up the cream.

To Serve:

Makes 30-40 whoopie pies, depending on size.  McCormick suggests rolling the finished cookies in chopped peppermint candies.  While I think this looks pretty, peppermint, lemon, and gingerbread really don’t work for me.  If you think this sounds like a good combination, then go for it.

4 Comments

Filed under Baked goods, Cookies, Dessert, Recipes