Recipe Sharing: No-Bake Peppermint Cookie Truffles with Candy Cane Sprinkles

The Finished Product

The Finished Product

This is a recipe I found on LovaLatte last year and we all thoroughly enjoyed them. Emily is Vegan and therefore her recipe … is vegan (surprise, I know!). So if you are looking for an incredible vegan dessert … DO IT!

But last year I also looked up the nutritional info between the vegan and non-vegan options and was reminded of a certain reality: just because something is Vegan or Gluten-Free DOES NOT mean it is healthy or low-fat/calorie/whatever!

So when I decided to surprise the family with these … I went for the non-vegan options.

Ingredients:
– Package of Mint Oreos
– Bag of milk chocolate chips
– 4oz cream cheese
– Candy Canes
– Muffin cup liners

IMG_0552

Just five simple ingredients

Two Thoughts
– Cream Cheese – mine was the ‘light’, but in this case it doesn’t matter which you choose … so do full fat, light or the non-fat types. It is flavor and consistency that matter (so probably stay away from the ‘whipped’ stuff)
– If you buy pre-smashed ‘peppermint dust’, you are paying WAY too much and losing the opportunity to smash things with a hammer … your loss. 🙂

IMG_0555

Your weapon of destruction

Directions

1. Put the Oreos and candy canes in sealable plastic bags (squeeze out the air)

2. Smash them to bits.

IMG_0554

Former candy canes

3. Combine the Oreos and cream cheese in a mixer until they form a smooth paste. Start on lowest setting and work up … otherwise the cookies will get everywhere.

4. Using the microwave, melt the chocolate until it is smooth and creamy. Tip: it is easy to seize chocolate – so do it for 30 seconds and stir with a spoon, then in 10 second increments. You actually want to see chunk in it while you stir it, as they will work out over a few seconds of mixing.

5. Take a melon-baller or small ice cream scoop and make balls out of the cookie paste. There is no ‘right size’ … I make them large so I only get 12, but there is no reason you can’t get 24 more reasonably sized servings.

IMG_0553

You can dunk the cookie balls or put chocolate on the top and bottom. Either way is awesome

6. This is personal preference, I’ve done both to equal acclaim:
– Dunk the balls in the melted chocolate and transfer to the muffin cups.
– Or, put a teaspoon (ish) of chocolate at the bottom of the cup, then drop the ball on top, then put another teaspoon or so on top.

7. Sprinkle some of the smashed candy canes on top of each cup. Make sure that the chocolate is still melted while doing this so the pieces will embed.

IMG_0556

Just one trip to the freezer away from eating!

8. Transfer to the freezer to chill.

9. Enjoy!

And that is it for me until next week – I hope everyone who celebrates has a great Christmas, everyone who gets time off from work gets to relax and enjoy, and in general I wish the best for everyone 🙂

Recipe Sharing: Ultimate Stuffed Acorn Squash (Vegetarian, Vegan Options Included)

IMG_0435

Happy Friday everyone! I have a couple of posts that are incubating but not quite ready, so I wanted to share a recipe instead!

This is a vegetarian (i.e. not vegan) meal that stands alone and is quite filling. The ingredients we bought for a pre-Thanksgiving meal when we planned for my brother to join us with his kids … but when he wasn’t able to make it we ended up with a snack-dinner instead. I had made this before, and it is based on a recipe from Vegetarian Times from a couple of years ago. We were all so done with turkey and needed a day off and had all of the stuff, so Lisa pulled it together for us on her day off.

When I made it the first time I used the Chile powder in the quantity stated as well as sprinkled on the squash (something I removed) but it was too spicy for my family (I have to be careful … I can handle just about anything, they can not). The next time I made it I partially pre-cooked the squash, because I love roasted squash – and it was good but a little overcooked by the time the center set.

This time the squash was well cooked, and the filling was moist – and it was all delicious. Lisa ended up with extra filling so we cooked it by itself and it ended up a lot like corn bread you’d make to go with a pot of chili.

Here goes – and don’t be intimidated by the seemingly large ingredient list … it is pretty easy to make!

Vegan Modification:
– You create vegan butter milk similar to normal ‘home-made buttermilk’ – 1 tbsp vinegar into 1 cup of milk. Only now – non-dairy milk. Works great!
– You can also use a non-dairy cheese, or whatever you normally substitute for cheddar cheese and cream cheese substitutes
– Also – typical vegan egg substitute.

Ingredients:
3 tbsp Olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced (4 tsp.), divided
2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
½ tsp. Ancho Chile powder
½ tsp. ground coriander
3 cups fresh or frozen organic corn kernels
⅔ cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper, optional
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 large eggs
4 Tbs. melted butter or olive oil
3 oz. soft goat cheese or low-fat cream cheese (⅓ cup)
3 oz. grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (¾ cup), plus more for sprinkling tops, optional
1 ½ cups cooked black beans or 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large poblano chile or 1 small red bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
8 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced (1 cup), plus more for sprinkling tops

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine oil and 2 tsp. minced garlic in small bowl. Brush squash halves with garlic oil, and sprinkle lightly with Ancho Chile powder (skip to make it milder) and coriander. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and place on large baking sheet.

2. Pulse 2 cups corn kernels in food processor (we used the Nutribullet) until finely chopped and milky. Set aside.

3. Whisk 1/2 tsp. each coriander and Ancho Chile powder into cornmeal, along with sugar, baking soda, salt, and cayenne (if using) in medium bowl. Set aside.

4. Whisk together buttermilk and eggs in separate bowl. Whisk in butter, then puréed corn, remaining 1 cup corn kernels, goat cheese, Cheddar, and remaining 2 tsp. garlic. Fold in cornmeal mixture with spatula, then fold in black beans, poblano chile, and green onions.

5. Divide filling among squash halves. Sprinkle each squash with extra Cheddar (if using).

6. Bake squash halves 30 to 45 minutes, or until squash are tender and filling is set. Sprinkle with green onions. Squash can be prepared 24 hours ahead, then reheated 20 minutes at 325°F.

Serve right away – you really shouldn’t even need a knife (though you’ll look more civilized if you use one!). One half-squash feeds one person, so this recipe serves 4 people. If you have more, you should be OK with this recipe up to a 3rd squash without scaling (as I say we had a bunch of extra filling).

Do you love stuffed squash? Favorite recipes?