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Monday, October 9, 2017

October 9: Apple Pie Truffles

For some people, fall is all about THE GREAT PUMPKIN. But I have a confession to make--I'm not gung-ho for pumpkin. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to turn down a sliver of pumpkin pie (particularly Nutella pumpkin pie!) Plus, I've certainly enjoyed more than one pumpkin chocolate chip cookie in my day. And, no doubt about it, I have a special place in my heart for my (award-winning) pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. (Man are those gooooooood. I should share that recipe with you soon.) 

I'm just saying that I'm not rushing out buying pumpkin-flavored everything (i.e. coffee, creamer, baking chips, cereal, cookies, seltzer, pancake mix, even pasta sauce --ok, admittedly, I *did* buy a jar of that a couple years back and it was surprisingly good.) I didn't wait with bated breath amidst the Countdown to the Release of the Starbucks PSL (that's "Pumpkin Spice Latte" in case you didn't know). I haven't even had one and probably won't because, well, I think they're sort of gross. (There. I said it.)

I don't think all pumpkin spice flavored things are gross, but it's simply not my favorite fall flavor.

But you know what fall flavor I DO like? The flavor I HAVE bought cookies and coffee and seltzer and cider and juice and even cereal versions of?


And the recipe I'm sharing today is all about the apple flavor. (Despite, yes, serving it on a pumpkin plate. Sigh. If anyone has a little apple dish they want to send me, I'm open to it. LOL!)

While perusing the seasonal baking aisle in Target (where I picked up some fun Halloween sprinkles and cupcake wrappers), my gaze fell upon the Limited Edition Oreos on the end cap. Of course there was Pumpkin Spice, but as we just established, I was a hard-pass on those. But next to them? Apple Pie. 

The package described them as a having a graham cracker flavored cookie with some apple cream inside. This piqued my interest. Generally, I remain an Oreo purist-- almost without exception, I prefer the original chocolate cookie with the creme center (single-stuffed, for me). Of the other flavors I've tried, the only ones I don't find vile are the mint and peanut butter varieties. I'm not fond of the Golden Oreos; the Birthday Cake ones repulse me (though my 6 year old loves them); and don't even get me started on the abominations that were Swedish Fish Oreos! Mommy! Still, despite some reservations, I decided to give these Apple Pie ones a go.

As a plain cookie, it was...decent. The flavor is reminiscent of apple pie (artificial apple pie, mind you, but it was still decidedly apple-pie-y.) Still, I couldn't see myself eating them plain or with a glass of milk or even dipped IN a glass of milk. 

So what could I do with this pack of cookies, I wondered?

Then inspiration struck.

Remember last year I showed you how to make those delightful eyeball truffles? (Ok, so maybe they don't sound delightful what with the word "eyeball" in the title, but I promise they taste fab.) 

Well, I've had great success and rave reviews any time I've made Oreo truffles (which I've done in regular, mint, and peanut butter varieties). So, logically, wouldn't an apple pie variety offer a tasty fall twist? 

I thought so, too.

And boy oh boy oh boy was I right. They taste exactly how I imagined they would taste. A smooth apple pie filling within a creamy white candy coating with a little crunch from the coarse sugar topping. 

It's APPLE BRILLIANCE, I tell you!

People have gone wild for these everywhere I've shared them (namely, my local Starbucks and that painting event the other night.) 

Sadly, coming up with this brilliant idea was the easiest part of the process for me. Yes, it has a very happy ending, but getting to that point was not exactly smooth sailing. 

The good news (for you) is that most of the problems I brought on myself, which means you can avoid them. Learn from my errors, people. Don't let my mistakes have been in vain!

More good news: this recipe and process couldn't be simpler: pulverize a pack of Oreos in a food processor, add softened cream cheese to the crumbs, give it a few pulses until the crumbs and cream cheese come together to form a ball of dough (alternately, you can skip the processor and used old-fashioned elbow grease to stir it, but why do more work than necessary?), scoop those babies into balls, refrigerate until firm, dip into melted chocolate/candy melts, sprinkle with sugar, allow to firm up, then enjoy! Homemade yum.


Here's some important guidelines before you begin:

1. Make sure you have enough cookies. A standard package of Oreos is 36 cookies weighing in at 14.3oz. (The Mint and PB varieties are 15.25oz.) Limited Edition Oreos--like the Apple Pie and Pumpkin Spice ones-- are only 10.7oz. Ergo, you need to make up the difference there or your ratios will be thrown off. Buy 2 packs and use 1.5 packs.

I'll share here that I was going to just modify my recipe, cutting back my other ingredients to account for the smaller cookie quantity. Simple mathematics would allow me to do this with ease. 

Unfortunately, my brain wasn't working properly the day I made these and, despite doing my best impression of Everyday Math Whiz, I couldn't, for the life of me, solve for X and compute that I should have cut my recipe back by around a third. (FYI- since I'd sampled cookies before coming up with my plan for truffles, my 10.7 oz was down to 9.3oz.) Anyway, long story short: I drove to the store and bought a second pack. You can avoid the extra trip by getting 2 packages to start.

2. Make sure you remember that cookies MUST be in crumb form PRIOR to adding the cream cheese. Like I said, my brain wasn't working properly when I made these. Plus, I was doing too many things at once (making dinner, prepping these truffles, and talking on the phone...) So I went ahead and plunked that cream cheese right on into the food processor with full cookies.


When I started off running the machine, only the cookies near the blade broke up. I had to repeatedly open the lid and use a spoon to push down the still-whole cookies on top. Once all the cookies finally made it to be chopped, the texture was wrong. Basically, you're looking for something like a creamy peanut butter texture, but mine was more of a chunky peanut butter situation. 

I put the whole food processor bowl into the fridge so the chunky PB-esque dough could firm up while I ate dinner and decided how to handle this setback. About a half hour later, with a clear head and full stomach, I took out the chilled dough and gave it one more spin in the machine. Thankfully, that solved the problem and those last stubborn bits broke up and the mixture was smooth the way it should have been to start. 

So, again, to be clear: get your cookies to a full crumb BEFORE you add the cream cheese.

3. Use full-fat block cream cheese. Most recipes I've seen for any type of Oreo truffle call for a block of full-fat cream cheese. I've made it with full-fat and with the lighter Neufchatel stuff. Honestly, I've never noticed much difference with my end product. Until this truffle. 

 See how this is sort of in a paste spread all throughout the bowl? 
It's because of my cream cheese. 
The dough should actually be together in a kind of bigger blob in one area.

Now, I can't know for certain if my subsequent filling-troubles were due to the type of cream cheese I used (you'll see in my ingredient photo that I used the light stuff since that's what I had stocked in my fridge) or to the amount (I used the whole block, but I highly suspect that because of how these Apple Pie Oreos are essentially double-stuffed with apple pie creme, they would have been ok with 2 fewer ounces)--likely it's both!-- but I can say that the full-fat version is generally more dense from the added fat. So I feel safe in officially recommending you stick to the full-fat version as a rule. I, too, will be adopting this guideline for future.

4. Always work with chilled dough balls. When they are cold, they remain formed in the round shape and are less likely to spread and/or disintegrate in the warm dip.

To help with this, I suggest working in batches, removing only 5-10 balls at a time and leaving the rest in the refrigerator until you are ready to work with them. 

 See the sort of greasy sheen on these and how they're not quite round? 
Still because of my cream cheese. Also, they need to be colder.
Make sure they're nice and firm when you dip them.
Because mine were so greasy (likely due to the type/amount of cream cheese I used), I stuck them in the freezer. However, when I've made truffles in the past, the refrigerator worked best.

5. Get a nice, thick coating of chocolate/candy melt on your truffle. If you don't, the filling--especially if it's too greasy/wet like mine seemed to be any time it wasn't completely cold--will seep out through any available orifice. I had to go back after my truffles were all finished setting up and paint on extra coating to seal up the holes. Which was a pain in the rear. So be generous in your coating the first time around.

 See how these are cracking and the filling is oozing out? 
Yet another casualty of the cream cheese. Also? They need more candy coating. 
Make sure there's no naked (or too-thin) areas.

Ok, so you now have a sense of how many issues I had making what, in my past experience, has been a simple, foolproof recipe. And maybe you are thinking to yourself, "Wow. I don't think I should be taking advice from a person who clearly made every conceivable error along the way." Which, I guess, is fair. On the other hand, I feel like one thing a lot of our favorite cooking/baking blogs (and friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) DON'T give us is info on all the FAILS that may have arisen prior to the glorious final product they're sharing. That's not a criticism on them, but it's just not the way I choose to do things. I'd rather you know what sorts of things I encountered when I try out (or make up) a recipe. It makes for some longer reading, sure, but that's my style. I'm at peace with it.  

Alllllllll of that said, let's (finally!) get to the recipe so you can try them yourself and NOT replicate my mistakes. 

Note that what I'm giving you below are the ingredients and amounts YOU SHOULD use, and not the ones I DID use (but will use next time!)

Apple Pie Truffles

Yield: 36 Truffles

1 1/2 packages (you need about 15.25 oz total) Apple Pie Oreos
6 oz full-fat brick style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 package (12 oz) white candy melts - (I used Make & Mold Bright White Vanilla melts)
3 tsp Sugar in the Raw
1/8 tsp cinnamon


1. Mix coarse sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. Add whole Oreos to food processor. Process until small crumb forms. (You don't want a large chunk--the crumbs should resemble sand.)

3. Add softened cream cheese to crumbs and pulse until the mixture comes together. You'll know it's ready when no cream cheese streaks remain and when the mixture pulls together to form a ball of dough that moves around within the processor bowl as one friendly blob.

4. Using a small OXO scoop (about 3/4 tsp of dough), drop scoops of mixture onto parchment-lined pan. After all scoops are on the pan, gently roll the scoops between your palms so it forms a ball. Refrigerate until firm. (At least 30 minutes.)

5. Melt the candy melts according to package directions. (If your melted candy seems too thick, you can thin it out with 1 tsp of coconut oil or Crisco. I used coconut oil in mine.)

6. Working in batches of 5-10, remove dough balls from refrigerator and dip one at a time into the candy coating. Be sure to get a thick and full coating. (You can use a fork or designated dipping tools for this step. It's up to you.) Place coated truffle on a parchment-lined pan and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture while still wet (otherwise it won't stick to the coating.)

7. Allow to set as you complete the process with remaining balls.

8. When all truffles have set, store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

I broke this one open by hand when it was still at room temperature. 
The filling holds together better when it's refrigerated. 
(And when you don't make cream cheese errors...)

I know you'll enjoy these on-the-go, bite-sized apple pie candies! 

(Also, since we were talking about pumpkin before...if you're one of those PUMPKIN FLAVOR ALL THE THINGS people, you could sub out the Apple Pie Oreos with the Pumpkin Spice ones and have on-the-go, bite-sized pumpkin pie candies. You're welcome.)

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