Monday, January 2, 2012

Cake Balls!

I find bite-size desserts impossible to deny. They sit so prettily on the serving dishes, just calling out to each victim that passes by.

Their bite-size-ness is what makes them undeniable. Just yesterday, while at a family dinner, I fell prey to yet another sweet morsel. The main meal was over, which, for my family, means that you have to start working that metabolism to get ready for dessert (or not; we eat dessert even if we are bursting from dinner).

The cookie plates hit the table and I knew it was over. Actually, I thought I might be okay; a bite of this, a bite of that-but it never turns out that way. Sitting by itself in a mini-muffin cup (it just had to be mini, didn't it? Everyone knows that if it's mini, it's cute; thus, even more unavoidable), was a delightful truffle-y looking-thing.

I held off for a while. Then I gave up and plucked it from the red plate and dove in. It had a nut and chocolate filling. While it was yummy, it wasn't my favorite so I settled on eating about half.

Or, I thought I did. Then I gave up again, gradually. Suffice it to say that by the time we were ready to leave, there wasn't even a crumb left.

Anyways, the reason for this long-winded story is that I made my own bite-size wonders to bring to a New Year's Eve party. But I would never even consider eating only half of one of these. My new goal would be to try not to eat the whole plate.

They are Gingerbread Cake Balls with a white chocolate coat and mini chocolate chips on top (again, the mini chocolate chips doubles the desirability).

Warning: cake balls are time intensive. They are really fun, but you have to be up for a day of baking, mixing, refrigerating, dipping, and refrigerating again.

It's totally worth it.


White Chocolate Gingerbread Cake Balls
Recipe courtesy of Eats Well With Others

Gingerbread Muffins

Makes 14-16 (I made 14 good-sized muffins), adapted from Confections of A Foodie Bride

2 3/4 cups AP flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt
coarse sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 375.
Line a muffin pan (or two) with paper liners or spray with nonstick spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, black pepper, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the mixer after each addition, until well mixed. Try to have the eggs at room temperature-they will combine more easily.
Add the molasses and mix until well blended.
Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing on low only until just incorporated. Add the yogurt, mixing until well distributed. Add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing only until just incorporated.
Scoop into the prepared muffin tins, until about 3/4 full.
Bake 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350. Bake another 15 minutes until a skewer comes out with moist crumbs attached. Mine took a little (maybe 5 minutes) longer to bake. I think I made them a little too big.
Cool 5 minutes in the pan. Turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Cake Balls

Makes ~50 from 14 muffins

7 gingerbread muffins
8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-2 cups confectioner's sugar
12 oz white chocolate (NOT chips)
mini chocolate chips, for decoration (optional)

In a large bowl, crumble the gingerbread muffins into small pieces.
Using a hand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Stir in the confectioner's sugar until the mixture resembles cake frosting-not too thick.
A half cup at a time, mix the cream cheese frosting into the gingerbread crumbs with your fingers. Add enough so that the gingerbread is moist and readily sticks together to form balls, a truffle-like consistency. You should have enough to blend with the 14 muffins. I did 2 batches of 7 muffins and had just enough.
Roll the cake and icing mixture into 1 inch balls. Once all dough is used up, place sheet in the fridge and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler, stirring frequently. Allow to cool for a minute or two and then dip each gingerbread ball in the white chocolate, turning to coat. Place back on parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with chocolate chips as you go. When all balls are dipped, place back in refrigerator for 15 minutes or until white chocolate is hardened.
I like to keep mine refrigerated in between servings.


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