Thursday, June 16, 2011

Why Didn't I Think of This?

Let’s be honest. Who amongst us doesn’t like chocolate chip cookie dough? Personally, I prefer it over the finished, baked cookie. I think it has something to do with that mouth-watering butter/sugar combination and the crunch of brown sugar in the raw dough. And then of course, I believe in the old adage that if you eat it straight from the mixing bowl, it doesn’t count. Yeah right, Liz.

Keep your spoon away, Liz!

In any event, when I’m whipping up a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough, I’m always happy when there is enough of it remaining in the bowl so I can actually bake the things. C’mon, can you really look me in the eye and tell me you’ve never done the same thing?

Ben and Jerry figured this out years ago when they came up with cookie dough ice cream. Someone also decided it would be a good addition to milkshakes. Now I am going to sink to a new low and let you in on a recipe for Cookie Dough Truffles.

Since my cookie-making method usually revolves around shaping the dough into balls and storing them in my freezer until ready to bake, I can’t believe I never thought to make them into truffles. I stumbled onto the concept one recent Saturday after I had been to the gym and was waiting for Henry to get home so we could go out to lunch (that doesn’t count either after an intense workout, right?) With nothing else to do, I flipped the channel to the Food Network and there was this woman making Chocolate Chip Blondies, which she was morphing into several other desserts like Cookie Dough Truffles. Well, well, well!

Are your kids hanging around the house this summer with nothing to do? Make these with them. Except for the fact that they will likely bounce off the walls after consuming one, it’s the perfect thing to make on a sweltering day when you are loathe to fire up the oven.

COOKIE DOUGH TRUFFLES (adapted from Anne Thornton, The Food Network)

4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt (I used fine sea salt)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 egg (I used extra-large)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups mini chocolate chips or chunks
2 12-oz. bags dark chocolate chips, preferably 60%
2 oz. white chocolate
2 oz. milk chocolate

Place butter into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until butter is creamy, scraping down bowl once, about 2 minutes. Add sugars and salt and continue beating for about 5 minutes, scraping down bowl several times until mixture is smooth and well-blended. Try to resist the temptation to dip a spoon into it and shovel it into your mouth.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Add the egg and the vanilla to the butter mixture and blend well on medium-high speed. Scrape down bowl, then reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture in two parts and mix only until just blended. Remove bowl from mixer stand and fold in the chocolate chips (or chunks) with a heavy spatula or wooden spoon.

Pat dough into an oval and wrap well in plastic. Refrigerate until just chilled, about one hour. Use a small ice cream scoop (I used a 1 ½-inch scoop) to shape into balls. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate at least one hour or until firm.

When ready to assemble, line a baking sheet with parchment and have ready a long skewer. Melt the chocolate chips in a small, deep pan. Use the skewer to spear a chilled cookie dough ball and dip it in the melted chocolate. Let excess drip off, then place ball on the prepared sheet, using the skewer to smooth out the top and cover the hole it made. Repeat with remaining balls, then place tray into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or until chocolate sets and is firm to the touch.

When ready to decorate, place chocolate covered balls on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet to catch excess chocolate. Melt the white chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat. Place into a plastic pastry bag with a very small hole snipped from the end. Pipe white chocolate over half of the chocolate balls.

Repeat with the milk chocolate and decorate the remaining balls.

Yield:  26 1 ½-inch truffles

*  You will need to store these in the refrigerator, however I recommend letting them sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before wolfing down serving. 

*  Be creative in your decorating!  Use both kinds of chocolate or roll balls in cocoa, chopped nuts, sprinkles or powdered sugar.  Let your kids decide....

*  The original recipe called for regular chocolate chips, but I think they are too big, which is why I used minis.  I think they give a better ratio of chocolate chips to dough.

*  Don't have a plastic pastry bag?  That's what Ziplocs are for.

*  When you dip the truffles in the melted chocolate, no matter how much you let the excess drip off, you will end up with a puddle of it around the truffle, which will solidify.  By all means, just leave it (means that much more chocolate) but if you are ridiculous like me, you will triim it off before decorating.  And then Henry will bemoan the waste of all those chocolate scraps...

*  I would be remiss if I didn't remind you there is a raw egg in this recipe.  If your health is compromised, you should skip this recipe altogether.  To reduce the risk of salmonella or any other food-borne illness, make sure you use only fresh, properly refrigerated and clean Grade A or AA eggs.  The more you know about where your eggs come from, the less the chance of contamination.

Well, I guess I have blown my Weight Watchers regimen for this week.  On trash food, no less........


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