For the longest time, I had no idea what “truffles” were. My family just called them “balls.”
“Yay! Gramma’s peanut butter balls!” Ah, yes. We are super sophisticated. Although I know we are not alone. Joy the Baker says her family calls them the same thing. And she’s awesome, so I don’t feel so bad.
But whatever you call ’em…they are bite sized bits of fabulousness. And usually, pretty easy. So long as you have the rights tools.
Just like in woodworking and home improvement projects, the right tools matter in cooking, baking, and especially food crafting. (Take it from a cheap-ass who has tried to save a buck and failed.) The right tools can make the difference between having so much fun you want to celebrate with a glass of wine and being so miserable you need a glass of wine to keep yourself from having a full-blown Clark Griswold level meltdown. I guess either way you get wine. So there’s that.
Below, I’ve got pictures, measurements, directions, and tips for you to have a pleasant truffle- making experience that yields a huge tray full of fancy looking, festive truffles everyone will love. At the end I've got a recipe card for ya.
But first, three quick things I want you to know about this recipe:
1. The title of this recipe has Oreo in quotation marks because I don’t use Oreos but “Peppermint Crème Filled Chocolate Sandwich Cookie Truffles” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, ya know? I use an awesome substitute that has less chemicals and is always in stock at my local Fry’s. It’s the Simple Truth brand and the texture and flavor are every bit as good as regular Oreos, but they have a shorter, better (although not perfect) ingredients list and don’t have that overly sweet flavor and they don’t leave me with the overwhelming urge to keep shoving them into my mouth. The recipe is otherwise your basic Oreo Truffle recipe, though.
2. The peppermint is just a little understated in this recipe. I love peppermint, but too much extract can have a funky aftertaste if you are not careful. And these got the thumbs up from people who are not wild about peppermint, so that’s sayin’ somethin’.
3. I’m not trying to be a bossy snob, but I highly recommend the Ghirardelli brand melting wafers over the cheaper candy melt options. The flavor is so much richer and the ingredient list is a lot shorter.
Peppermint Oreo Truffles
1 box Simple Truth chocolate sandwich cookies
8 oz block of cream cheese
2 tsp peppermint extract
1 ½ (12oz) bags of Ghirardelli White Melting Wafers
A few drops of food coloring (optional, in the Tools picture below)
Mini cupcake cups for serving
A rubber spatula (This is a must!)
A large bowl
A double broiler or two pots for a homemade alternative
A piping bag and zip tie
A gallon size plastic bag
A small cookie scoop (this is also a must!)
2 butter knives and a spoon (not pictured-sorry)
1. Put the entire box of cookies into the plastic bag, Get as much of the air out as possible and crush ‘em up. I used the bowl because it was already out. A meat tenderizer or a rolling pin works great, too.
2. They don’t have to be a small as a grain of sand, just mostly broken up, like this:
3. Mix the cookie crumbs and cream cheese together in the bowl. I highly recommend the rubber spatula because the mixture will stick to it less. For the love of all things sacred and holy: DO NOT use a wooden spoon. You will go insane. That is the wrong tool for this job. Or any job in which you are mixing a sticky substance.
4. You are done mixing when you don’t see chunks or streaks of cream cheese anymore. Pop the bowl in the fridge to make it easier to form the truffles. 30 minutes oughta do it.
5. Grab the cookie scoop and use the flattest part of the spatula tho press down and get a nice, flat bottom for your truffles.
6. I know some people swear by just using the scoop to make the truffles the same size and then rolling them around in their hands... but then your hands get messy, the truffles will have to chill longer in the fridge because your hands have further softened the cream cheese, and they don’t stay in place is well during the dry/set up phase. So I scoop only and then set them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
7. When I have scooped every last one and sampled the last bit that isn’t quite enough for a full ball, I pop em in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes. Longer is okay if you have to take care of something else, but 30 minutes is the minimum.
8. Time to prep the materials for the colored drizzle that tops the truffle. This is totally optional, but it really adds a little something to the overall look and comes with the major bonus of distracting the eater from any imperfections, such as lumps or uneven coating. One or both of which every single batch I make includes.
Grab a small handful of the vanilla melting wafers and put them in the piping bag with a squirt or two blue food coloring. I used the Sky Blue color from Americolor because it always produces a blue that is “cool,” no matter how dark or light you make it. Cool blue is what you want for a winter wonderland peppermint truffle. Royal or regular blue will work in a pinch, just add the tiniest bit possible. You can always add more later. Another option would be to just keep the drizzle white for a tone on tone look. Whatever you decide, it’ll be beautiful. Tie it with a twisty tie and set it aside for now.
9. Heat your water on low to medium low in your double broiler (or homemade double broiler, in my case). I apologize that I didn’t think to snap a picture of that. If you are making your own double broiler, just put water in your bigger pot and set the smaller pot on top. Add the melting wafers and extract to the top pot.
10. Stir it up. Occasionally, at first, then more as it starts to melt.
11. When it is smooth and free of any lumps you are ready to coat the chilled truffles. This is when it starts to get fun! Or hairy, depending on your expectations. Friends, it is not going to look like a perfect piece of Russel Stover’s candy. Don’t beat yourself up because it’s going to taste a lot better!
12. Grab two butter knives. Set the truffle on one of them.
13. Use your spoon to cover the truffle in candy coating.
*Some people love to just drop the truffle in and roll it around. I am not one of those people. For three reasons:
- It mucks up the coating because little crumbs fall off.
- You get less mileage out of the coating because more leaves the pot every time.
- It’s harder to get the top and sides smooth this way.
Of course, if you are a total klutz like me, then you might accidentally drop one in anyway. Oh, well. The crumbs were not all that noticeable on the finished product. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
14. While the truffle is still on the spoon, remove excess coating around the bottom edges using the other knife. Wipe the excess into the pot. (Sorry no pics again…this part requires both hands.)
15. Use the second knife to slide the truffle back onto the parchment paper to set up. Coat the rest of the truffles the same way and resist the urge to sample them just yet. They’re hot!
16. Now remove the top pot that had the candy coating in it and set it aside. Better yet, go rinse it with hot water immediately. That coating is a pain to clean off once it cools. Use that warm water in the larger pot to heat up the piping bag you prepped earlier. Don’t worry, the water is not hot enough to melt the bag, just drop it right in.
17. Once the wafers are completely melted use a pot holder to mix the food coloring and coating together while the bag is still sealed. Cut off just the very tip of the bag.
18. Time to make these babies pop! To drizzle the colored coating on top keep in mind that the less uniform the lines, the better. I like use the same motion I see toddles use when they scribble with a crayon. Some lines are closer together or father apart, some are wider than others, and it comes out looking a little more…decadent.
19. Keep going until they are all “scribbled” on. You will be a pro by the end of the tray. And you can just eat the ugly ones before anyone can see them. Problem solved.
20. Let them cool completely, either on the counter or in the fridge.
21. Last (and possibly most important) step…let’s make them presentable. We'll even use one of the less impressive examples just to further prove the point. Take them one by one…
22. Break off any drizzles along the bottom…
23. And place it inside a mini baking cup…
24. Presentation makes even this lopsided, not so perfectly topped truffle look delicious. It’s really is all about presentation.
25. Well, most of the time. Some truffles just can’t be saved. And you have to quickly eat them before anyone can see those ugly ones.
26. Also, it’s a real chore keeping them safe from cute little thieves.
You should definitely make these the next time you have people over during the holidays. You won’t be disappointed!
Here’s what it’ll cost ya:
- Melting wafers: $3.00/bag (if you get them on sale. If not, they run about $5/ bag)
- Simple Truth Chocolate Sandwich cookies: $2.50 on sale (I think they are about $4 regularly)
- Cream Cheese: $1.25
- Mini Cupcake Liners: $1.99
That’s a grand total of: $11.74.
Worth it. Definitely worth it.
Put it on a fancy serving tray and you have it; an impressive, gorgeous, wintery dessert that makes people’s eyes light up as they reach in to grab one.
As far as storage goes, you could leave them out at room temp if you are serving them later in the day, but I like to keep mine in the fridge until just before serving. There is cream cheese in them, after all. Plus, they are easier to eat cold and, most importantly, the peppermint flavor is better represented when they are cold.
If you make these and decide to get creative I wanna hear about it! Either post a comment below or a pic to the Flickr group.
Here's the recipe "card":
Happy baking, friends! And whatever you make, make it yours!