Tasty Treats for the Holidays (or anytime)

Around November every year, my thoughts turn to holiday baking. Visions of cookies, cupcakes, pies, and candy dance in my head. Sometimes, I even manage to turn those visions into reality.

This year, my accomplice and I made a limited selection of goodies for work parties and gifts. We chose peanut butter cookies, peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, cake balls, and cookie truffles. All of them were very tasty, but I was especially impressed by the cake balls and truffles. So, it seems, was everyone else.
For the cake balls, we decided to go with a devil’s food cake and a maple bacon frosting. We opted to use a cake mix and canned frosting, the cake mix because it made the process more simple and the canned frosting for stability as we wanted cake balls that didn’t need to be refrigerated.  For the truffles, we decided to forego the traditional addition of cream cheese in favor of cream cheese frosting (again, for stability).

Here’s the lowdown:

For the cake balls — we made a 9″x13″ cake according to the directions on the cake mix package.  Once the cake cooled, we crumbled the cake into small, coarse crumbs and then stirred in about 3/4 of the frosting. I recommend starting with a little more than half and then adding more as needed. The final mixture should be moist enough to form balls, but not moist enough to be squishy. Once the mixture was ready, we used a small cookie scoop to portion out the mix. Those portions were rolled into balls and placed on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet.  Once the sheet was full of cake balls (which you can place very, very close together if necessary), we stuck the cake balls in the freezer for about twenty minutes.  (During those twenty minutes, we stirred up the peanut butter cookies and started baking them. What you do with your twenty minutes is, of course, entirely up to you). Once the time had passed, the cake balls were ready to dip. I highly recommend using candy melts or chocolate bark instead of chocolate chips; it melts and coats far better that way. We used a two-spoon method for dipping the balls (one spoon to dip, the other to transfer to yet more wax paper). The coating set up almost immediately, and the cake balls were ready for tasting. And they tasted awesome!

The method for making the cookie truffles is almost exactly the same as for the cake balls. instead of the baked cake, we used Oreos. In fact, we made a batch each of Birthday Cake Oreo Truffles and Cookie Dough Oreo Truffles; both were delicious. Simply throw the Oreos (or other cookies) into a food processor or food chopper and chop them into crumbs. Mix the crumbs with cream cheese frosting, portion, roll, stuff them in the freezer for about twenty minutes, take them out, and dip in chocolate or almond bark (I prefer the chocolate, personally).

You can decorate your truffles or cake balls with drizzled white chocolate, candy sprinkles, crushed nuts, etc. If you’re using something other than a drizzle, just make sure to add the decoration to the truffle before the coating has time to set.

The best part of these treats (other than devouring them) is that they are incredibly simple to make but people will still think you’re a baking genius!