Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas baking with Kitty Gramma...

"Kitty Gramma" is my mom...  just so we're all on the same page here.  Shortly after Moo first started talking, she dubbed my mom Kitty Gramma because she's the gramma with cats, and my Gramma is Puppy Gramma....  guess why?

Anyway, earlier this month Kitty Gramma came over and did some candy making with Rye (I wish I'd thought to get pictures, but I spaced)- they made some Oreo truffles (super easy, recipe to follow) and chocolate dipped honey-wheat pretzels.

Moo and O got their day to bake with Kitty Gramma today- Santa's Favorites (this recipe is from my mom's blog) and Cranberry Bliss Bars.  Heck yeah.

I'm sure you all know what Cranberry bliss bars are...  well, most of you , at least.  That is, if you've ever been to Starbucks around this time of year.  They're awesome little gingerbread cake bars with cranberries in them then they're covered in a tart, lemony cream cheese frosting, sprinkled with more cranberries and drizzled with icing.  Super rich.  Super yummy.

(This was an edge piece, so the cranberries sprinkled on top were a little skimpy.  Blame my children.)

Now, Santa's favorites.  Oh, goodness, how do I describe these little nuggets of tastiness?  ......It's a shortbread cookie, topped with a creamy, coconutty, walnutty filling that's dipped or drizzled with chocolate frosting (that's almost ganache-like in texture.  Thank goodness we tried this recipe when my mom found it in the local newspaper twenty-some years ago.  It's been a part of most Christmases since then (though admittedly, we've been slacking the past couple of years).  Just try them.  They're like little candy bars.  But they're cookies.  Mmmm.

Drizzling the frosting on was a new thing for us this year, but it was fun.  Especially for the kids.  It was Moo's idea to do the stars...  my little girl is so creative.

(He was either mid-sentence or he was concentrating *really* hard...)

And, here's the recipe I promised:

"Oreo" Truffles

  • 1 box of Oreos, smashed to bits (we used Trader Joe's "Joe Joe's" instead of Oreos 'cause I'm anal about artificial and will throw a fit over my kids having high fructose corn syrup.....  at least I'm honest)
  • 1 package of cream cheese (whatever the normal size is, 8 oz., I think)
  • chocolate.  As much as you like.  Whatever kind you like.  It really doesn't matter.

1. In a big bowl, mash together cookies and cream cheese until it looks pretty uniform.  

2. Using a cookie scoop or a teaspoon, scoop out meatball-sized pieces of dough.  Refrigerate for about ten minutes, or until they're easy to handle without sticking to everything. 

3. Roll the pieces to smooth them out and refrigerate again, if needed.

4. Melt the chocolate, being careful not to mess up the consistency (I'm sure you can find videos on YouTube if you don't know how to do this).  Using two forks, carefully roll the balls in the chocolate until they're evenly covered.  Repeat after they've hardened if you want a thicker layer.

Last year, we dipped half of them in white chocolate and the other half in dark chocolate, then drizzled each with the other kid of chocolate.  They were pretty.

Use up your extra chocolate by dipping other treats you have in it.  Pretzels obviously work well.  Maybe the second box of cookies you picked up for munching purposes  Dried fruit since you want to eat healthy (chocolate is good for you.  Google it).  Fingers.  You know, whatever...  

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