Happy day after Christmas!
I’m a big fan of this time of year, mostly because I can stay in my pajamas for the majority of the day and it’s perfectly acceptable.
Also because eating things like fudge and chocolate bark and oreo truffles for breakfast is a-okay.
Like the past few years, Nick and I have made mostly homemade gifts for our family. Toffee is a definite. Cocoa-crusted mixed nuts are always a hit. There was some cookies’n'mint bark that happened this year (coming soon – it’s addicting!). But one of my favorites are these oreo truffles.
I know. They’re everywhere. I tried so hard to resist making them. But they’re seriously easy, and so much fun to amp up with new flavors and toppings. Last year I did some double mint oreo truffles (yum).
But this year? I went a little tropical.
Thanks to a fantastic little baking set I got through Mixed and McCormick, I have a brand new stash of extracts. And as soon as I saw the coconut, I knew it had to make it into some kind of holiday treat.
Chocolate + crushed cookies + cream cheese + COCONUT?! Yes. How could it not be good?
The great thing about extracts is that you don’t need much. Just a few little drops took these classic oreo truffles to the next level. And then, just for fun, I added a sprinkling of toasted coconut on top. Any time you can add toasted coconut, just do it. It’s a beautiful thing.
If you’re still looking for some fun holiday season treats to whip up, I think these need to be added to your list.
A little twist on the classic, these rich little bites will be a hit! I think they roll even easier if you make the dough mixture the day before you want to roll/dip them in chocolate.
- 1 package oreo cookies
- 1 8-oz. package low fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 tsp coconut extract
- 2 cups chocolate chips (white, semi-sweet, or a mix if you want both)
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- toasted coconut for topping (optional)
- Place all the oreos in the bowl of a food processor and turn it on. Let the machine run until the cookies are ground and there are no large chunks of cookie left.
- Add the cream cheese and coconut extract to the oreos and turn it on again, letting it process until the cookie crumbs and the cream cheese are mixed together and have formed a ball of dough.
- Put the oreo mixture in a bowl and let it chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
- Scoop about 1 Tbsp of the cookie mixture from the bowl, roll it into a ball, and repeat until all the truffle fillings are ready to dip.
- Pour your chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat for 2 minutes, stopping to stir every 30 seconds, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Stir in the coconut oil.
- Drop a truffle into the melted chocolate, roll it around with a spoon or fork to cover it completely, and then lift it out of the bowl on a fork or slotted spoon to let the extra chocolate drip off.
- Place the chocolate-dipped candy on parchment paper and repeat with the rest of the truffles. While the chocolate is still melted, sprinkle a bit of the toasted coconut on the top of each truffle.
- Serve once the chocolate has set.
You guys. I have the funniest (maybe also grossest?) story to share, but it’s going to have to wait. I promise it’s coming – I’m totally embarrassed and don’t want anyone to know, but… it’s wayyyy too funny to keep to myself.
But first! I have 2 great giveaways from one of my favorite companies.
Have you heard of Nudo? If you have, I’m sure its because of their incredible olive oil and the adopt-an-olive-tree program. Check it out if you haven’t!
I first had the chance to try Nudo olive oil when I got some in the swag bag from the RockHer party in Atlanta a few years ago and I. fell. in. love.
Their packaging is fabulous. They let you adopt your OWN OLIVE TREE, and you get to reap the benefits of it all year long. Plus, if you find yourself in Italy, you can go hug it, take a picture with it, and spend some time thanking it for all the oil.
Now Nudo is offering a similar adoption program, but with Darjeeling tea.
When you adopt a Darjeeling tea garden for a year (and you even get to choose the garden and grower!), you will get some of the best quality “first flush” loose leaf tea four times a year from your garden. Where else can you get this?
And to make it even better, the Adopt A Tea Garden program is all about sustainability. Nudo has teamed up with local producers to restore deserted tea gardens for the program. Using biodynamic and organic farming practices, local farmers can now reopen those tea gardens, creating more jobs for the local tea pickers and growers and creating the opportunity for the younger generations to learn the skills that their families have practiced for centuries.
I’ve really enjoyed all of the teas so far, and I’m thinking of getting myself a tea garden for Christmas this year! But today, I’m really excited that one of you will have the chance to adopt his or her very own tea garden and win a year’s worth of tea! With this and their olive oil program, it really is a gift that keeps on giving – all year long!
You can decide to adopt a tea garden for yourself or as a gift, and then it lets you read all about the different gardens and growers and choose which one you’d like to “adopt”. From tasting notes to learning about the people that work there and harvest your tea, this step really gives light to the great work happening and lets you pick one that you connect with.
Then you get even more info about the “flushes” of tea. Have you ever heard of this before? I really hadn’t before I read up on their website and tried the teas for myself. Basically, the “flushes” are the tea growing seasons with Darjeeling tea. Each flush has slightly different characteristics (which you can see in the graphic above). So even though you’ve only picked one tea garden, each season or “flush” you receive will be slightly different.
But that’s not all!
So one winner will get the Tea Garden adoption, but I also have a great gift box from Nudo up for grabs, too.
Seriously….their olive oil is insanely good. The mandarin orange? I drizzle that on salads by itself. Nothing else needed. And the cocoa olive oil? It’s on its way into some dessert coming soon.
This gift box has a little of everything – one bottle of their extra virgin olive oil, a jar of olive tapenade, a bar of myrtle + red grape soap (which smells incredible), AND a tin for you to grow your own olive tree!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
You can read all about the Adopt A Tea Garden program on Nudo’s website. And you can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Good luck!!
When it comes to trying different desserts, I feel like I’m years behind my age.
At 30, I should have already had homemade rice pudding or creme brulee, but I haven’t. I’ve never made real homemade ice cream or a souffle or baked alaska.
I seem to get stuck on desserts, and most of them involve chocolate.
What can I say? I come from a long line of sugar-lovers, especially in chocolate form. But I love other desserts. Really love them! Lemon cake and ice creams and fruit tarts – there is room for everything on my dessert table. It’s equal opportunity in this house when it comes to sweets, but somehow, chocolate always seems to edge everything else out.
And now, after years of hearing about flourless chocolate cakes and then finally trying one in a restaurant a few years ago, I decided to try to make one at home.
Can we talk about my serious dislike for winter again? I think I figured out one of the biggest reasons I hate it.
Winter makes me realize just how lazy I am.
When it’s freezing outside and already dark when you get home from work….how are you supposed to not be lazy? Can someone explain this to me? It’s like I can’t control myself – I get home, get into pajamas, and I’m ready to be done for the night. Finished. Making dinner is such a chore to me in the winter. I just want to cuddle up on the couch, watch some tv or read a book, and then go to bed.
So, this definitely means making everything as easy as possible for myself because I know I won’t do anything with too many steps.
Enter the dutch baby.
We’ve done this before, with peaches. But this time I’m going with the classic. The first dutch baby I ever had.
Today is a very special day.
We’re celebrating Bev and her twin babies that will be making their worldwide debut soon – and we couldn’t be more excited!
Fun fact: I met Bev for the first time a few years ago in Nashville, but didn’t really get to experience her awesomeness until a year later. Then, we bonded over Phillip Phillips on American Idol, and the rest is history.
I am so excited for Bev and her husband and the two little bundles that are on their way! My guess? Their kids will be insanely talented, super crafty, great cooks, and gorgeous. And definitely hilarious. Most definitely hilarious.
Getting together with a bunch of other bloggers for a virtual baby shower is basically the best thing ever. I get to cook a new dish for a friend, celebrate with everyone, and stay in my sweatpants if I want to. And for Bev’s baby shower, I knew I couldn’t do a typical party food. It needed to be something different – fantastic – full of flavor. Just like Bev’s recipes.
So today, I’m bringing Thai Spiced Chicken with Coconut Cream Swiss Chard. I know.
I have something really special for you guys today.
Have you seen the America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook?
This cookbook is the best cookbook I’ve ever seen. It has over 600 recipes, 18 chapters, and 2,500 beautiful color photos—yup, 2,500 pictures. It’s like having all of your Pinterest food boards wrapped up in a book cover!
I mean….look at just that one page of pictures for sticky buns! I always want more pictures in cookbooks, and this one delivers.
The book brings together all the techniques, tips, and the best recipes ATK has developed in the kitchen. It’s actually a direct outgrowth of the interactive, video-based online cooking school launched by the test kitchen team two years ago. Thousands of students have taken online courses taught by test kitchen experts. In the process, the instructors have learned at what point home cooks are likely to get tripped up when making a recipe. The America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook is designed to anticipate common cooking problems—and prevent them.
Even though I’ve been cooking now for almost 10 years, I picked up a bunch of new tips and techniques after reading through the book. And if they had this book years ago, I probably would be much better than I am now! I can’t even imagine how helpful this book will be to someone who is new to cooking.
My biggest issue when I first started cooking was knowing what certain stages looked like in a recipe – whipped egg whites, for example, or knowing when meat has been appropriately browned (I always turn it too fast).
But all these pictures? They make sure you know exactly what to look for.
Don’t believe me? Check out the Test Kitchen blog for more reviews. But I think everyone should have this book.
My first thing to make using this book? Perfect fried eggs. Their recipe/pictures in the book really do make for perfect eggs.
The best part of all this is that I have one copy of the America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook to give away!
If you want to win this book for yourself, tell me what dish you’ve always wanted to make.
Want some extra entries?
- Like America’s Test Kitchen on Facebook
- Tweet about the giveaway (mentioning @branappetit and @TestKitchen)
- Tell me one thing you always mess up in the kitchen – we can be honest here. Me? I always have problems with mashed potatoes. I don’t know what it is! It should be super easy, right? I’ve got issues.