Recipe: White Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles

Popping in today to share one of the easiest recipes I've ever brought you.

Let's bring together 3 ingredients, top them with sprinkles, never turn our oven on and call it a treat. With only a few more sleeps until Christmas and time running out, I thought I would share these incredibly easy, no-baking required truffles.

I will say that though this recipe is easy, it is a bit messy just FYI. I think this would be a fun treat to make with kids, where they can get their hands a little dirty and create something that doesn't have to go in the oven. If you are going to make this with little kiddo hands, I would recommend melting extra white chocolate to cover the truffles so you have more room to make a mess.  

White Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles

Yields 36 truffles

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
24 oz white chocolate chips, separated into 8 oz and 16 oz
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
sprinkles or nonpareils (optional)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip cream cheese until smooth. Melt 8 oz of white chocolate chips in the microwave and add into the cream cheese, along with the vanilla extract. Mix until combined and refrigerate for 1 hour or until filling is stiff.

Remove from the refrigerator and roll your filling into 36 small balls about the size of a large marble. Place on a plate and freeze for 30 minutes to hardened slightly.

Melt the rest of the white chocolate and begin dipping your filling into the white chocolate. Remove each ball with a fork, slightly shake off some of the extra chocolate and place each truffle on a piece of wax paper or a nonstick baking mat to dry. Decorate with sprinkles or nonpareils and let the chocolate set completely before enjoying. 

Recipe: Funfetti Christmas Cookies

We're less than a week away from Christmas and I'm over here trying to not feel the pressure. There's still gifts to buy, traveling to do, wrapping to take care of, and cards to mail out but I'm taking a deep breath and trying to enjoy the season. It's important to take good care this time of year and live in the balance between holiday chaos and end of the year relaxation.

Out of all the recipes I've posted on this blog, these cookies are by far the thing I make the most. Simple, soft sugar cookies with sprinkles that you can easily eat 3 or 4 of without blinking an eye. Most recently I made these for a cookie swap party and holiday gifts (also while eating my far share of them myself). Here we go!

Funfetti Christmas Cookies

Yields 2 dozen cookies

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/3 cups flour
3 tbsp sprinkles or nonpareils

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and shortening with an electric mixer. Add sugar and mix until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk flour, salt, and baking powder. With your mixer on low, add dry ingredients to the butter/egg mixer. Using a spatula, fold in sprinkles.

Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake 8-10 minutes or until bottoms just begin to brown. 

Recipe: Funfetti Holiday Donuts

I tried to make a holiday funfetti 3-tiered cake for you last weekend and it failed miserably. Though I've posted a few cakes on this blog, I just can't seem to get a vanilla multi-layered cake to turn out right. The edges are always overdone. The texture doesn't seem right. It's too dark or too sweet or too vanilla-y. I need to go back to the drawing board on that one. So after that debacle, I decided I wanted to use up the rest of the sprinkles I'd purchased and make something I knew I could make right: donuts.

These little babes will be my last recipe of 2016! I'll be taking next week to prep some things for the new year and take a proper rest. As much as I enjoy holiday baking, I'm excited to transfer that motivation into the new year and bake some new things for you in 2017. 

As for right now, I hope you all a restful and lovely holiday weekend and I hope you give someone in your life the gift of butter, sugar, and sprinkles.

Funfetti Holiday Donuts

Makes 12-14 donuts

For donuts:
2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 stick butter, cold and cut into cubes
2 eggs
1 cup full-fat sour cream
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup sprinkles

For glaze:
4 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a donut baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg to combine and aerate the flours. Add the cubes of butter and using a pastry blender (or your hands), cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly and sand-like. You'll want tiny pieces of butter throughout the mixture.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until fluffy. Add in sour cream and vanilla and whisk until combined. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and fold together with a rubber spatula. 

Scrape the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large tip (or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off) and pipe the batter evenly among the wells of the greased pan. Before placing into the oven, lightly tap the donut pan on a flat countertop to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then let cool completely on a cooling rack. 

Once the donuts are fully cooled, place wax paper underneath your cooling rack and start making your glaze. Add powdered sugar and water into a medium saucepan and start whisking them together. The mixture will be very stiff and not come together easily. Once it is mostly combined, heat glaze over medium heat, whisking frequently. The glaze will start to come together and thin out. Remove from heat when the mixture is warm but not hot. Dip each donut into the glaze and let cool on the rack. The glaze will harden quickly, so if you want to add decorations, sprinkle them on immediately.

Keep donuts in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Recipe: White Chocolate Dipped Spiced Molasses Cookies

So far the entire month of December has felt like "Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming!" to me. I'm not totally sure why, but it feels like it has been right around the corner for weeks and I know the next week and a half is going to fly by.

Luckily, I'm not usually one to stress about the holidays. I LOVE buying and giving gifts and I'm pretty much done shopping with a few things I still need to think up and pick up. Our little pink tree is up, the house is decorated, and we even hung some lights around the windows (inside, because we didn't have a ladder to put them outside). This week I have plans to make Christmas cookies with my mom, I have a holiday party with friends, and I'm hoping to make it to the Christmas Village in Center City. This will also be the year I have a proper white Christmas since we are spending Christmas weekend with G's family in western NY. I have a lot of mixed feelings about that, but mostly I hope the snow feels magical and not like a huge pain in the ass.

So here we are with the perfect Christmas cookie. These are basically chewy, soft ginger snaps. A cross between a ginger snap and a molasses cookie that's spicy enough to hold it's own even when dipped in thick white chocolate. This recipe has been foolproof for me. I've made them with both an electric mixer and a wooden spoon and honestly, I liked the spoon method better. Less dishes and a little arm exercise never hurt nobody.

White Chocolate Dipped Spiced Molasses Cookies

Yields 2 dozen cookies
Adapted from this recipe

1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground clove
3/4 teaspoon cardamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
10 oz package of white chocolate wafers**
sprinkles

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together brown sugar, shortening, and molasses with a wooden spoon until fully combined. Add in egg. Once combined, add in flour, spices, and salt and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Once it does, roll dough into 1–1 1/2 inch balls, press the top into the 3 tablespoons of sugar, and place 2 inches apart on a ungreased baking sheet (or line with a nonstick baking mat). Bake for 10-15 minutes on the center rack. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely.

When the cookies are cooled, place white chocolate wafers in a microwave safe bowl and melt in the microwave. To prevent chocolate from burning, turn microwave to half power and zap for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Don't over heat. Dip each cookie into the chocolate halfway, let some extra drip off and place on a cooling rack with wax paper underneath or a sheet of wax paper. If you are adding sprinkles, you'll want to do that right away after dipping so they stick to the wet chocolate. Once chocolate is dry, store in an air tight container.

** I used these Ghirardelli 10oz package of white chocolate wafers and it was the perfect amount for these cookies. You can also melt down white chocolate chips, heated in the microwave the same way. I would recommend against those candy wafers that you can buy for at-home candy making because they are chocolate flavored and not actual chocolate (and I personally find them disgusting). You could also absolutely switch out dark or milk chocolate for the white if you fancy that.

Recipe: Eggnog Crème Brûlée

I don't know when I decided to like eggnog. Growing up, it was always around during the holidays and I remember trying it and being pretty repulsed by it. When I got older, we used to go to parties where the boozy eggnog was flowing and I still couldn't get into it.

But I'm now a convert. I can get down with some eggnog. Not a lot, just a small glass or two with a little cinnamon and nutmeg on top. Or just one of these eggnog creme brûlées because these babies are great. If you like eggnog, these are a must. And I promise, creme brûlée is not as hard as it seems!

Eggnog Crème Brûlée

Makes 6 ramekins

4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup full-fat eggnog
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For sugar topping: 1/4 cup sugar, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until combined. Whisk in eggnog, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and spices until everything is combined. Pour mixture into something with a spout for easy pouring.

Arrange ramekins in a baking dish so that they aren't touching each other or the sides of the baking dish. Pour the eggnog mixture into each ramekin so it's 3/4 full. Heat about 4 cups of water to a boil, and pour the water into the baking dish to create a water bath for the custards. Water should come half way up the ramekins.

Carefully place in the bottom rack of the oven for 40-50 minutes. Finished custards should be set in the center, but still slightly jiggly. Once cooked, let cool on a baking rack until room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator before serving. 

When ready to serve, mix together sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and sprinkle an even coating over each custard. Using a kitchen torch to brûlée the tops. If you don't have a kitchen torch, you can place them in the broiler for a few minutes, but be sure to keep an eye on them!