Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Cookie Dough Truffles

Unlike the other recipes I’ve made and posted, I didn’t find this one; it found me, via my friend’s Facebook feed. It looked delicious, and really simple to make. I was right on both counts.

Cookie Dough Truffles
Picture from CakesCottage.com

Without further ado, here’s the recipe, via CakesCottage

Ingredients:

½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 pound dark chocolate candy coating

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, combine butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated, beating well after each addition.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until firm enough to handle.
  5. Shape mixture into 1 inch balls by rolling a spoonful in the palm of your hand. Coat your hands in flour to prevent sticking.
  6. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Loosely cover and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or until firm again.
  7. In a bowl, melt dark chocolate candy coating.
  8. Dip the cookie dough balls into the chocolate and place on parchment paper.
  9. Let the truffles sit until hard, about 15 minutes.
  10. Once set, remelt remaining candy coating.
  11. Place in a small baggie and cut a small hole in one corner.
  12. Carefully drizzle chocolate over truffles.
  13. Store in the refrigerator and serve cold. These can also be frozen for longer storage.

Alterations:

I believe I have a bona fide inability to follow the recipe to the letter.

  • I had no idea whether the recipe called for light or dark brown sugar, so I just went with light (since the dark was unopened).
  • I used milk chocolate for the candy coating for two reasons:

    1. My mother dislikes the bitterness of dark chocolate.
    2. Target had a convenient pack of melting chocolate, but they only had milk and white. I went with milk.
  • For the drizzle, I used white chocolate, because I had some left over from lollipop making, and I like the color contrast. Also, my drizzle wasn’t as neat as the Cakes Cottage picture, due to the ziplock bag having extra creases, and my lack of dexterity.
Cookie Dough Truffles
The finished product
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Mushroom Matzo Stuffing Recipe

matzo stuffing

We had an interfaith Seder this afternoon. Roasted chicken, corned beef, quinoa salad, steamed carrots, and noodle pudding. I was taking care of the mashed potatoes, when I thought, “hey, I like having stuffing with my chicken.” I checked to see if we had any Stove Top in the pantry, when the thought occurred to me – regular stuffing probably comes from leavened bread. I wondered to myself, “could I make stuffing with matzo?”

matzo stuffing
Spoiler alert: Yes, yes I can.

It turns out that I’m not the only one who’s had that thought, because there are quite a few matzo stuffing recipes out there. I ended up going with this one from Bon Appétit, with a few alterations.

  1. To accommodate a vegetarian, I swapped out chicken fat for EVOO, per the recipe, and used vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  2. I used matzo farfel instead of whole matzo, because all the store had was six pound multi-packs of matzo. I found a message board in which someone found that one matzo sheet crumbles into roughly a half cup, so I went with that ratio.
  3. I couldn’t find dried shiitake, so I used some fresh, as well as some dried black mushrooms. I think I ended up with 1.5 times the mushrooms the recipe called for, but is there really such a thing as too many mushrooms? I also was too lazy to slice up the reconstituted dried mushrooms, and just ran all the mushrooms through our mini Cuisinart.
  4. On a minor note, I doubled the recipe.

To be honest, I was expecting it to taste like matzo, kinda bland and crappy for a bread substitute. However, it turned out great! I think it would have been even better if I’d used chicken fat and broth, especially since the one vegetarian who could eat gluten didn’t show, but eh. Next year, with schmaltz, in Jerusalem!

I have reproduced the original recipe below, as seen on Bon Appétit, for reference:

Matzo Stuffing

Ingredients
SERVINGS: 8
1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
6 tablespoons chicken fat or olive oil, divided
1 1/4 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 sheets lightly salted matzo, broken into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/3 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

Preparation

  • Place mushrooms in medium bowl; add enough hot water to cover. Let soak until mushrooms are soft, at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Drain mushrooms; slice. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons chicken fat in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic. Sauté until celery is soft and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes. Add matzo; pour 3 cups broth over. Simmer until broth is absorbed and matzo is very soft, about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons chicken fat in another large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add remaining 1/3 cup broth. Simmer until most broth evaporates, about 3 minutes.
  • Add remaining 2 tablespoons chicken fat to mushrooms. Scrape matzo mixture into skillet with mushrooms. Cook over high heat until stuffing is golden brown, turning over in sections with spatula, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and thyme.

Recipe by Brian Bistrong, Chieun Ko Bistrong
h/t Bon Appétit

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Autism and the Measles Vaccine Debate

Really, there is no debate. As Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” My opinion, which is based in decades of scientific research by people way more qualified than I am, is that unless you have a compromised immune system, have an allergy to a vaccine’s ingredients, or have some other contraindication based on actual medical science, you should get your ass vaccinated. On time.

I know this is an unpopular opinion in some circles; I’ve lost friends over my resoluteness in this matter. When people cite Andrew Wakefield, my response has always been this:

“Even if vaccines did cause autism, I’d rather my kid be autistic than dead.”

My recent discovery of a decades-old autism diagnosis does not change my mind one bit. And it looks like I’m in good company. Sarah at The Archipelago wrote about the very topic of autism vs. measles. She took the words right out of my brain. I wouldn’t be surprised I’ve said exactly the following at some point:

Vaccines don’t cause autism. But even if they did, is being like me really a fate worse than death?

Please read it, no matter which side you’re on.

Link: The Archipelago – I’m Autistic, and Believe Me, It’s a Lot Better than Measles.

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Holy Sugar, It’s Candy Corn Season!

With a blog named Sugar Palace, I figure I should talk about candy. It’s been autumn (in the Northern Hemisphere) for a few days now, so candy corn is ubiquitous. I first noticed it at Stop & Shop in late July.

Stop and Shop had Halloween candy in July
Stop & Shop Halloween candy display. Photo taken by Dee on July 27, 2014.

Now, I’m a self-confessed sugar addict. My blog is named after a fictional doughnut shop named in a Dar Williams song (“Party Generation”). In my mind, the four seasons are Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas. I get cranky when there’s too much blood in my glucose stream. TL;DR version: I f*cking love Halloween candy. However, that being said, even I have standards.

There has been a disturbing trend over the past couple of years of candy companies making different varieties of candy corn. First, there was the awkwardly-named Indian Corn. Then came the pumpkins, followed by the all-star combo known as the Harvest Mix. All of these are pretty yummy, if you’re in the mood for candy corn.

However. Last year, I noticed Candy Corn M&Ms, and Starburst Candy corn. They were a bit odd. I could tolerate the Starburst variety; if I ignored the candy corn-like texture, they were pretty tasty.

This year, I have to draw the line.

Brace Yourselves: Pumpkin flavored everything is coming
Listen to Ned Stark. Unless he tells you to trust Littlefinger.

Brach’s is now selling Pumpkin Spice flavored candy corn. Being an intrepid candy lover, I decided to try it.

Never again. It was reminiscent of cinnamon, if you swallowed a spoonful of powdered cinnamon that had been left out for a year and a half. Seriously, it had the powdery feel to it, without much of the taste. I could smell the pumpkin, but I couldn’t taste it.

I am loath to throw candy away, but I had to spit this stuff out and throw the rest of the bag away. Ick!

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What’s up with gluten?

In an earlier post, I tried to make “a funny” about someone who might be on a theoretical crusade against gluten (starting with dollar pizza shops). As my friend Rob pointed out, I failed miserably, and insulted those with actual gluten sensitivity and/or celiac disease in the process.

However, the current gluten-free craze does bring up questions.

First of all, I am very happy that this craze exists, because it means there are more options for people who truly are negatively affected by gluten. Ten years ago, most people had never even heard of gluten, and people with celiac disease had to find specialty stores in order to eat a sandwich that wouldn’t make them sick. Now, many supermarkets have entire gluten-free sections.

Now that I got that out of the way, here is the reason for this post. I was scrolling along my Facebook feed, when I found that one of my favorite pages, I F*cking Love Science (IFLS), posted this:

“Unless you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, going gluten free will do *nothing* for your health.

Image via Skepchick.

gluten-free-uranium

While I completely agree with the sentiment of the sign, I do not believe in IFLS’ addition.

Sure, there are people who appear to be going gluten-free because they think it’s cool, or they’re hoping they’ll be able to shed those last few pounds. Sites like Natural News seem to contribute toward this. (Warning: do not trust Natural News; the reasons will take up their own post). The Jimmy Kimmel Show demonstrated that some people who are foregoing gluten don’t even know what it is.

This is dangerous for people whose health is actually affected by gluten. I’ve heard anecdotes about people whose gluten sensitivity isn’t taken seriously, because friends, relatives, or food service workers assume that the gluten sensitivity isn’t real.

Personally, I’ve been struggling with this. I’ve noticed that certain gastrointestinal symptoms appear to be correlated with gluten consumption. However, since I haven’t been diagnosed, I’m afraid to say I’m gluten-free, because I don’t want to seem like I’m just being trendy, or, worse, somehow reflect negatively on people who have it worse than I do.

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