Friday, 25 January 2013

White Chocolate Peppermint M&M Cookies

I used to see awesome looking recipes on American blogs that involved speciality candies that we just didn't get in England, I would wish longingly that I could have access to those tasty treats! Sometimes I would get so desperate that I would pay crazy high prices to order them off American grocery websites...but I no longer have to do that!

When I spotted this recipe and realised it included White Chocolate Peppermint M&M's, I already had a bag of these babies sitting in my cupboard...just waiting to be baked up into something awesome! and so paired with some white chocolate chips and crushed candy canes, and these cookies were born! 

I have never had crushed candy canes in cookies before, they gave a great texture and didn't give an overbearing peppermint flavour either.  The white chocolate chips balanced out the mintiness perfectly! and these cookies tasted great cold...and even better warm too!

They were the perfect seasonal treat!

White Chocolate Peppermint M&M Cookies:
Makes 30

3 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed candy canes
1 cup White Chocolate Peppermint M&M's

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with a silpat baking mat (I have one of those now too!) or parchment paper and set aside.

Combine flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

Cream butter and sugars together in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until combined.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Slowly mix in the dry ingredients.  Stir in the white chocolate chips, candy canes and M&M's.

Drop heaped tablespoons of dough on prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the centre.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes.  Transfer cookies to wire rack and cool completely.

Eat and enjoy!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Truffles

So I am aware that Christmas has been over for a full 27 days now! and that's 27 that I should have spent blogging all my Christmas goodies I'd baked...but I started a second job just before Christmas and it's been crazy hectic! So I'm sorry for the long blogging delay, but the good news is we just bought another macbook so we finally have one each! and I'm thinking as a result there's going to be alot more blogging going on around here! So my aim is to bust out all my Christmas recipes before January is over...bear with me!

The baking all started with a mammoth baking day back in early December! My friend Cassie came over armed with about 3 kg of Callebaut chocolate and 6 hours later this is what we had baked up! It was so much fun! 

For now let's just focus on the Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Truffles, what a mouthful! (the other recipes will come later this week hopefully!)

You know how as a baking blogger you star about 200 recipes a month on your google reader? and then you make about 5 of them! Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this! Well this recipe isn't one of those that gets lost in the Pinterest abyss of drool worthy goods that never make it to your oven...this was one of those recipes I spotted and knew I had to bake a.s.a.p! so I made it happen!
and wow, was I glad I did - these were so delicious!

It requires a little bit of work and planning...but it's worth it.
I made the peppermint bark the night before, and then made the cheesecake mix the next afternoon (which had to be chilled for a few hours) and then rolled and dipped the balls in the evening.  So all in all it didn't take more than 24 hours, but it's not something you could whip up before you're heading out the door so it does need some planning!

However, when there's peppermint and white chocolate flavoured cheesecake studded with graham cracker crumbs and pieces of peppermint bark involved...and then all dipped in delicious high quality chocolate and finished off with a candy cane crunch - I'm sure you'll find a way!

Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Truffles:
Makes 30

1/2 recipe peppermint bark
8 oz softened cream cheese
1 cup plus 2 tbsp graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup powdered/icing sugar
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
4 oz white chocolate, melted

for the coating:

16 oz milk chocolate, we used Callebaut, melted
crushed candy canes

The day prior to making the truffles, make your peppermint bark and refrigerate it.

Once ready to make the truffles, break the peppermint bark into large pieces so it is easier to work with.  Then place on a cutting board and chop into very small pieces.  Set the peppermint bark aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the softened cream cheese, graham cracker crumbs, icing sugar and peppermint extract.  Mix on medium high speed until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides if necessary.  

Meanwhile, melt white chocolate in a glass bowl set above a pan of simmering water.  Stir until smooth.  Once cooled, add the chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and mix until fully incorporated.

Add all the peppermint bark to the mixture (if you didn't wait for the white chocolate to cool the bark will start to melt here so that's why you need to wait!) and mix until evenly distributed.  

Place in refrigerator for one hour until it's at a consistency where it's firm enough to roll together.

Once chilled, place wax paper on a baking tray that will fit into your refrigerator.  Roll cream cheese mixture into balls about the size of a tablespoon, don't be tempted to make them any bigger as it's a pretty sweet mixture so you want them bite size for sure.  Place on the wax paper and repeat with all remaining batter.  Place balls in refrigerator to chill for another hour, or if you're running out of time like we were the freezer will also do!

When ready to dip, melt your milk chocolate (or dark if you prefer) in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Stir until smooth.

Using a fork, dip each ball into the chocolate, coating completely and scrape off any excess as you remove the ball from the bowl.  Place back on the wax paper.  Sprinkle some crushed candy canes on top whilst the chocolate is still melted.  Repeat for remaining truffles.  Let truffles set on the wax paper until the chocolate has hardened and then eat and enjoy, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator if you're crazy enough to not want to eat them right away!


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