Christmas Party Goodies!

Zack and I got to go to the first Christmas party of the season last weekend.  His boss had a dinner party for the management and office employees.  I really enjoyed going, because I got to meet the people that Zack works with.  It was really nice to get to put faces with names that I’ve heard Zack talk about.

Everyone was so nice, too!  Plus there was lots of good food.

Zack and I took a platter of desserts – peanut butter and chocolate fudge and cookie balls and a plate of jalapeno cheddar bite appetizers.  People seemed to like both plates of stuff.

There were some leftovers on both plates, so I took them to work with me Monday and every bit got snatched up 🙂

I forgot to take a picture of the platter of goodies which sucks, because the fudge and cookie balls looked so cute arranged on the platter!  Oh well, at least I got individual pictures.

Christmas Tree Cool Mint Oreo Cookie Balls

Prep: 30 minutes, plus refrigerating. Makes about 24 cookie balls.

– 6 oz package cream cheese, softened

– 1 pkg (15. 25 oz) Oreo cool mint cream cookies, finely crushed

– 2 pkg (6 squares each) white chocolate, melted

– 6 drops green food coloring

– red and green decorating icing

Mix cream cheese and cookie crumbs until well blended.

Shape into 1″ balls; place on waxed paper covered baking sheet.  Freeze 10 minutes.  Mix melted chocolate and food coloring until well blended.  Dip balls in chocolate; return to baking sheet.  Squiggle green and red icing onto balls to make Christmas trees.  Let stand until chocolate is firm.  Keep refrigerated.

Chocolate Fudge

Prep: 10 minutes.  Cook: 30 minutes.  Cool 2 hours.  Stand 1-2 hours.

– 4 c sugar

– 1 1/3 c milk

– 1/4 c corn syrup

– 1/4 t salt

– 4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate

– 1/4 c butter

– 2 t vanilla

Grease bottom and sides of square pan, 8×8 with butter.

Butter sides of heavy 3-qt saucepan.  Place sugar, milk, corn syrup, salt, and chocolate in saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and sugar is dissolved.  Cook, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, to 234 degrees on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into a cup of very cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from water; remove from heat.  Drop butter on top, but do not stir.

Cool mixture without stirring to 110 degrees, about 2 hours (bottom of saucepan will be lukewarm). Add vanilla.  Beat vigorously and continuously using wooden spoon until fudge begins to thicken.  Then, continue beating 5-10 minutes until mixture is thick and no longer glossy.

Quickly, spread or press into pan.  Let stand about 1-2 hours or until firm.  Cut into 1-inch squares.

Peanut Butter Fudge

– 8 T butter, plus more for greasing pan

– 1 c smooth peanut butter

– 1 t vanilla extract

– 1 lb powdered sugar

Combine the butter and peanut butter in a 4-qt microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Microwave for 2 minutes on high.  Stir and microwave on high for 2 more minutes.  It will be HOT.  Add the vanilla and powdered sugar to mixture and stir to combine with a wooden spoon.  Mixture will become hard to stir and lose its sheen.  Spread into a buttered 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper.  Fold the excess parchment paper so it covers the surface of the fudge and refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours.  Cut into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Jalapeno Cheese Bites

– 1 can pizza dough

– 2 jalapeno peppers, halved, seeded, blanched, and sliced

– 1 – 1 1/2 t olive oil

– salt & pepper

– 1 t mixed dried herbs (oregano, parsley, basil)

– ~ 1 c Tex-Mex shredded cheese

Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Press down the dough on a lightly floured surface.  Then pull and stretch the dough into a rectangular shape.

Spread the oil on the dough and gently press it into a 14×8 inch rectangle.  Sprinkle some salt, herbs, pepper, cheese, and jalapeno peppers onto the dough.

Roll up the dough as tightly as you can.  Pinch both ends, and slice the log into 3/4″ – 1″ rounds.  Place the rolls on the baking sheet, cut side up, and bake for about 16-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and light golden brown in color.

Makes about 14 bites.

Snickers Cheesecake

I had never made cheesecake before.  I had heard that it was difficult to make one without having it crack, but I had no idea how difficult it would be.

Mine was fine all through baking, but as soon as I took it out of the oven and put it on the cooling rack, it got a small crack in the center.  I wasn’t really worried about a small crack, because I knew I was putting caramel sauce and peanuts on it.

Then, after letting it sit for a while, I took the springform pan off that it had baked in and my entire beautiful cheesecake SPLIT IN HALF.

I was devastated.

I quickly stuck the entire thing in the refrigerator while trying to think of someway to fix it.  I called Mom and she said I should just cut it into cheesecake bars and nobody would even know.

So I did.  I think the bars turned out looking fine.

I also sent this with Zack to work for his company cookout.  Only one little piece was left afterwards, so people must not have been too turned off by its appearance.

Everyone said it was really good.  It has an Oreo cookie crust, actual Snickers bars baked into it and then the caramel drizzle and peanuts.


Here’s a picture of the Oreo crust.  It looks kind of like dirt in this picture.

The cut up Snickers bars that went in on top of the crust.

See?  Not too horrible. I will definitely do some research before I make another cheesecake on how to avoid cracks.

Snickers Cheesecake

Prep: 25 minutes.  Bake: 1 hr 5 minutes.  Chill: 4 hours.  Serves 10.

Crust:

– 24 Oreo cookies

– 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

– 3 8-oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature

– 3/4 cup sugar

– 3 large eggs, at room temperature

– 2 tsp. vanilla extract

– 1 cup lemon juice

– 1 tbsp. corn starch

– 3 regular sized Snickers bars, cut into 1/4″ slices

– 1/4 cup caramel sauce

– 1/4 cup roasted and salted peanuts

Make Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mist a 9-inch Springform pan with cooking spray.  Wrap bottom and sides with 2 large pieces of foil.  Crush cookies and mix in melted butter.  Press into an even layer in pan.  Bake until firm, 8-10 minutes.  Let cool.

Make filling: Place a roasting pan filled with 1-inch hot water on oven’s center rack.  Beat cream until smooth.  Add sugar; beat for 1 minute.  Beat in eggs.  Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.  Beat in vanilla, lemon juice, and cornstarch.

Sprinkle Snickers over crust.  Pour batter into pan; place in water bath.  Bake until cake is set around the edges but still jiggles in the center, about 55 minutes.

I did some research and this is how it’s recommended to cool a cheesecake: Remove pan to a wire rack.  Let cool 10 minutes and take a knife around the edges to release it from the foil.  Allow the cheesecake to cool for another hour and then put the entire thing (still in pan) into the refrigerator overnight to fully chill. Then, remove the pan and the foil.  It shouldn’t crack that way.

Enjoy:)

Oreo Truffles

Okay, I have found it.  This is the easiest dessert in the world.  Two ingredients.  20 minutes tops (plus some time for chilling).  Done.

In the top picture, the Oreo truffles are surrounded by Chocolate Chip cookie brownies.  They were from a box mix, but still pretty good.  I think it may have been a Betty Crocker box mix, but I cannot remember for sure.  I made that platter to take to my friend’s wedding.  All of it got eaten.

Oreo Truffles

– 1 package single stuffed Oreo’s

– 8 oz cream cheese, softened

Crush 9 Oreos and set aside.  You can do this by sticking them in a Ziploc bag and using a rolling pin, or if you don’t have a rolling pin (I don’t) you can just use a glass and roll that over them until crushed.

Crush remaining 36 Oreos. Beat cream cheese until smooth and add 36 crushed Oreos.

Beat until well mixed.

Form into 1-inch balls and then roll in remaining crushed Oreos.

Refrigerate until firm.

 

This plate of truffles was the first batch I ever made.  I did not know how well they were going to turn out.  I thought, “two ingredients? just cream cheese and Oreo’s? it CAN’T be that easy.” Oh, but it is.  They’re also easy to dress up.  Just stick them in mini baking cups like I did in the top picture.  I like cute desserts.

 

Enjoy~