Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Oreo Truffles

The Boundary Waters trip was a success, all 6 people came back - a little worse for the wear and very tired - but fun was had by all.
My cousin, uncle, moi, my boyfriend, father, and brother on our day canoe trip. 
It was beautiful in a way as only untouched nature can be.
Sunset over Lake Sawbill
  I never did get around to figuring out what to make since many delicious desserts for campfires revolve around the Dutch Oven and I was not very organized in finding and planning out ingredients so s'mores were served instead.  

However, upon returning I had one full day to plan and make a delicious treat for my boyfriend's 21st birthday.  
Us with the Cannoli birthday cake I made him last year for his 20th.

We usually make cakes for each other, but this year it was decided that he would have an ice cream cake.  I am not patient enough to try making a Baked Alaska yet, although it is on my list of desserts to try, so (please do not take away my baking queen crown for this) I purchased a DQ cake.  Even though I did not have to make a cake, I needed to make him some sort of treat, because as everyone knows the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. After getting the ingredients I came home and cranked on some French Broadway Music (from Le Roi Soleil) and I made one of his favorite holiday desserts - Gourmet Oreo Truffles.  

It is very simple to make and tastes heavenly, especially if one is an Oreo lover like me.

1 Package Oreos
8oz. Cream Cheese
Vanilla Almond Bark

1.Crush the entire package of oreos (cream and all) into a fine dust.  I used a food processor to get it into a powder.

2. Mix the cream cheese and Oreo powder in a medium bowl into one large ball.  It can sometimes be tricky so I usually wash my hands and hand mix the two together.

Halfway through mixing

3. Form the mixture into smaller teaspoon size balls and lay out on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper.  Put the balls into a fridge or freezer for 10 minutes or until chilled so that they will keep their shape when dipping in the almond bark.

4. Melt the Almond Bark while the truffle insides are chilling.  When all is melted, using a fork, dip the slightly chilled balls into the almond bark so that it is completely coated.  Set coated truffle back onto wax paper.  When all are coated, put trays back into freezer or fridge until the Almond Bark has hardened.

When they are ready, serve for a delicious and gourmet treat made form one of America's favorite cookies.

I showed up at the boyfriend's house with these and he had to have one right away.  It was a sweet treat for a wonderfully special day.  We celebrated by going out for a little Italian lunch at Cosetta's in St. Paul and went out to eat later that night with his family for dinner and his first sips of alcoholic beverages, none of which really appealed to his taste buds.  All around it was a wonderful day spending another birthday with him.  

Together at the Boundary Waters
However, next year I will have to make an extra special cake to make up for buying one this year.  I had better start devising and researching delectables for next year....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Flourless Chocolate Torte

Today was my father's birthday and after being dubbed the dessert queen - partially by my family and partially by myself  after making desserts for many family events over the last 6 months- I was charged with the task of making his birthday cake.  I talked to my dad about what kind of cake he would want and he mentioned carrot cake (which I am not the biggest fan of and it is a little difficult to put a lot of time into something you really don't like) and couple of other ideas until he said two magic words:  "Chocolate Chocolate" and this chocolate torte from the William-Sonoma Desserts book was chosen.

This dessert is rather simple to make and has been a favorite the couple of times I have made it.  In order to make this delicious morsel you will need the following ingredients:

Flourless Chocolate Torte
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (For dusting)
10oz. Bittersweet Chocolate (or dark works just as well if you are a chocoholic like myself)
3/4 cup Unsalted Butter
5 Large Egg Yolks
1/4 cup and 2 Tblsp Sugar
1Tsp Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt
3 Large Egg Whites

Chocolate Glaze
1/2 cup Butter
8oz Bittersweet Chocolate (or, again, dark chocolate if you prefer)
2Tblsp Light Corn Syrup

**Now the next part just a suggestion - turn on some music.  I turned on The Fray and sung and danced around the kitchen to that while mixing the ingredients but whatever suits you works perfectly fine.  You know you are doing it right when your dog cannot stand to be in the kitchen with you and your slightly psychotic cat stares at you oddly which is the reaction I got from them**

1) Preheat the oven to 300*F.

2) Use a double-boiler to melt the butter and chocolate.  It is suggested that you cut up the butter into at least 6 pieces and chop (or break as I did) the chocolate squares up so that the melting is easier.  When the two are well blended set it aside to cool slightly.

3) In a large bowl, beat together the egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla, and salt.  You want the consistency to become very thick and the color slightly pale.
I had to take a picture of the yolks because this is the first time I have separated all the yolks from the whites without breaking them.  I was very excited, what 21 year old wouldn't be?

4) Gradually pour the chocolate mix into the large bowl and beat the two mixtures together until it is all well blended.  Set that bowl aside.

5.) In another bowl, preferably a deep one, beat the egg yolks until they are foamy.  Gradually add the rest of the sugar (2 Tblsp) and continue to beat until medium-firm peaks form.
This is the portion of the dessert that I got mad the egg whites because the first time I tried to get peaks to form I beat them for 7 minutes with no result.  I then tried again with fresher eggs and Voila! 
6.) Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture - about half the bowl at a time.  Continue to fold the two together until there are not streaks left.
This is just after starting to fold in the 2nd half of the egg whites.

7.) Pour the mixture into an 8-in round, greased pan.  And if you so desire, dust the bottom and edges with the cocoa powder.  Put the mixture in the over for roughly 35 minutes.  The torte should puff slightly.  Let the baked torte sit and cool on a rack for 30 or so minutes.

Combine the butter and chocolate in the double boiler.  As stated above, it is best to cut and chop the butter and chocolate into smaller pieces.   Once the two are well blended add the light corn syrup and whisk it in so that the chocolate looks glossy.

Slowly pour the glaze over the center of the torte.  The glaze should cover the entire cake evenly by spilling over the sides.  The William-Sonoma way is the place a plate under the wire cooling rack and pour the glaze over the torte so that the excess runs off the cake and onto the plate below ultimately making the presentation better for fancy occasions because you will not have the excess chocolate around on the plate.  However, I just put the cake on the plate and poured the glaze that way and wiped the excess chocolate off with a  wet paper towel.  Let the cake chill until the glaze is firm and then you may serve,
I chose to serve the torte with raspberries like in the book picture.

The tartness of the berries complimented the sweetness of the torte perfectly.

Not only was this torte the perfect dessert for a wonderful birthday celebration but baking has a way of relieving stress from life.  I had just come from a job interview and applying for some credit card thing at the bank after having put it off for a good couple of months so it was nice to come home, turn on some music and smell that wonderful smell that is butter and chocolate melted together.  After finishing the torte portion of the cake I went for a coffee date with one of my good friends who leaves tomorrow for France for the semester.  It was a very bittersweet goodbye knowing that I will see her again but it won't be for a couple of months, oh how I wish I could go with and travel around France for a period of time. I must admit, I love France, French Culture and French Desserts.  I will get myself there - someday!  

But after the bittersweet goodbye I again came home to the amazing smell of chocolate while I prepared the glaze.  I admit I did take a spoonful of the glaze before adding the corn syrup because I could not resist the temptation, I am only human.

It was a very productive day all in all and I learned a very important lesson: when in doubt, chocolate understands.  My dad had a wonderful birthday, the torte was delicious,and now I look onward to the next thing: Camping in the Boundary Waters this weekend and maybe conquering the Dutch Oven with some help unless I can figure out another type of dessert to make while camping (besides s'mores.)