Cookie Butter Buckeyes

Cookie Butter BuckeyesFall has just begun here in Minneapolis and with it comes the updating of the pantry and the cupboard. In our house, that means bagging up the excess charcoal and stowing it in the basement storage unit, securing the melon baller in its spot in the back of the utensil drawer, and switching out the deviled egg plates for the muffin tins in the cabinet above the refrigerator. It’s fall, y’all, and we have this reorganization ritual of mine to thank for these cookie butter buckeyes.

Had I not been doing the delicate dance of rehoming the barbecue tongs at the tip-top of the pantry, to make room for the slow cooker on a lower, more accessible shelf, I wouldn’t have peered in the deep recesses of my pantry a half-full jar of Biscoff spread wedged in the corner by the Thanksgiving platter. What? You don’t have a Thanksgiving platter? That’s neither here nor there, I suppose, what you serve your turkey on is  your business. Let’s get back to the Biscoff, yes?

Cookie Butter BuckeyesUsing a remaining cup and a third of cookie butter is hardly a nightmare – heck, on a Monday I could eat that after dinner straight out of the jar. The stuff, generally, doesn’t stand a fighting chance here between me and our most darling fat cat who likes to delicately lick it off the top of my finger while gently steading the back of my hand with his mighty paw. Bear said I couldn’t feed it all to Ollie, though, so here I was with a jar of cookie butter and I couldn’t remember when I had bought it, how long we’d had it, and this lit a fire in me to figure out a way to use it right away.

I’ll admit, it didn’t take a lot of imagination to follow a trusted peanut butter buckeye recipe and substitute cookie butter. I added a little extra cinnamon in these just to get more of that spiced Biscoff flavor to come through against the sweetness of the semi-sweet chocolate, but otherwise these are your familiar, creamy, cozy buckeyes with some, appropriately, fall flavors. A perfect treat for a drive through the foliage, a picnic in the leaves, or alongside a mug of hot, steamy tea after a long day. Wipe off that Thanksgiving platter and lace up your boots – cookie butter buckeyes are your new fall BFF!

Cookie Butter Buckeyes
Yields approximately 30 1-1/2″ buckeyes

Ingredients
1-1/3 cups of cookie butter/speculoos spread/Biscoff
2 sticks of salted, softened butter
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
6 cups of confectioner’s sugar
4 cups of semi-sweet chocolate melted (use bars, not chips!)

Directions
Combine the cookie butter and softened butter in a medium sized bowl with an electric mixer until thoroughly incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and the ground cinnamon and mix to combine. Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar bit by bit with the mixer on low.

Once all of the confectioner’s sugar has been integrated, the mixture will resemble coarse crumbs, but will hold together when pressed together. Form 1-1/2″ balls with your hands and set on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicon baking mat. Place the sheet tray into the refrigerator for a half hour to allow the balls to firm up.

In the meantime, slowly melt your chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave, checking it every 10-15 seconds. Use bar chocolate here, as chocolate chips have stabilizers in them to keep their shape and they don’t melt as smoothly; in my experience, they seize and burn faster too. Once the chocolate has melted, remove it from the double boiler or microwave and take the buckeyes out of the refrigerator. Insert a skewer or toothpick into the top of the ball and gently dip it into the chocolate, swirling as you go. This will cause the chocolate to come up the sides of the ball, forming the buckeye’s distinct exposed cookie butter center and perfectly coated sides.

Place the buckeye back onto the baking sheet and remove the skewer gently. Smooth over the remaining hole from the skewer over with the tip of a butter knife (optional) and continue. When all the buckeyes are coated in chocolate, return the buckeyes to the fridge to set. When the chocolate has hardened, store in an airtight container in the fridge up to two weeks.

Oreo Cookie Truffles

Oreo Truffles

True fact: I’m not really a huge chocolate fan. I love the occasional brownie or a few bites of a really amazing chocolate cake, but generally, it’s too sweet for me. I eat a few bites and I’m bored or feel like I’m developing cavities. Heavy chocolate desserts, while delicious, make me crave ice water to cut through them. I guess I like a little more contrast in my sweets. Like, the salty element of chocolate-covered toffee, for example, or the burst of tartness that comes from the combination of fruit and dark chocolate. Chocolate in the form of sweet, baked goodness, though, just doesn’t get me going the way it does the majority of folks. Which is why it’s so strange that I can take down these Oreo cookie truffles like a cheetah to a gazelle without feeling Chocolate Overload™.

Maybe it’s the whole block of softened cream cheese that gets blended with the crushed Oreo’s that makes these little bonbons sweet and deeply chocolatey, but slightly tangy and so delicious you just keep going back to them. If that combination of cream cheese and Oreo’s gives you any pause, don’t let it. Something completely magical happens when the two are thoroughly combined, creating a dense, cakey interior that is like the fudgiest cake you’ve ever had, but never overwhelming. Dipped in a simple, vanilla white chocolate bark, when hardened, create these two-bite packages of perfect.

I kept the decoration limited on these, sprinkling some leftover Oreo crumb on top to signal what might be inside, but you could make these really glamorous with some edible glitter, luster dust, or even just some pretty piped CandyQuik designs. An even simpler idea for a stepped-up presentation is to tint the white bark to match a theme or holiday. I love the thought of pink and white truffles in little paper liners packaged up in a cute box for Valentine’s Day. I’ve also made these with mint Oreo’s and tinted the coating pale green, but you can also change the cookie completely. I’m thinking a buttery shortbread cookie with a maple-extract-spiked CandyQuik would be amazing, too. Oreo or Lorna Doone, these make an adorable sweet treat that trumps those tired cupcakes and cake pops, for sure. What other combinations would you try?

Oreo Cookie Truffles
Makes approximately 30 truffles

Ingredients:
1 package of original Oreo cookies; avoid the Double Stuff variety no matter how tempting
1 – 8oz. package of cream cheese, softened in the microwave
1 package of white chocolate or vanilla bark

Directions:
Using a food processor, pulverize the entire bag of Oreo’s – cream and all – into a fine ground. If you don’t have a food processor, you could absolutely use a large resealable bag and a rolling pin or heavy can, but I suggest doing it in batches to really get a fine sandy texture as shown above. Set aside approximately 1/4 of a cup for decorating tops, if desired. If not, leave it in. Mix the rest of the Oreo crumbs with the softened cream cheese and stir until thoroughly combined. On wax paper or a silicon baker’s mat, roll the truffle mixture into small balls and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up. This will prevent crumbs from falling into the melted bark once you begin dipping. Before removing the truffles from the refrigerator, melt the bark in the microwave per package directions. Roll the truffles individually through the melted bark, allow excess bark to drip off, and return to the wax paper or mat. Before they dry, sprinkle the top of each truffle with the reserved 1/4 cup of crumbs and allow the chocolate shell to harden. Share with someone you love or proudly consume them all yourself!