Saturday, March 6, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Baking as Therapy

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Twin A has been proficient in the kitchen from a very early age. Recently, however, she has embraced baking as a sort of therapy... and there seems to be a direct relationship between the labor-intensiveness of the project and the benefit realized. I've long been aware of the calming influence of baking, the stress-relieving properties of kneading dough, and the sheer 'fun' of pounding chicken breasts with a meat mallet. It's a pleasure to watch my daughter make these discoveries on her own.

High school juniors face many challenges - standardized tests, AP exams, the college search process... and that's without mentioning social issues/peer pressures too numerous to list! With all the dangerous stress-relievers out there, I consider myself fortunate beyond words that Twin A has chosen baking as an outlet.

Her most recent session was devoted to truffle-making. The painstaking process of hand-rolling oreo centers, dipping them in melted Ghirardelli milk chocolate, and decorating with a drizzle of melted white chocolate yielded some gorgeous truffles! They will be attractively packaged and delivered for her BFF's birthday. We happily consumed the 'messy' ones.

Oreo Truffles

1 pound oreo cookies (3 sleeves)
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound milk chocolate
1/2 pound white chocolate

1. Using a food processor, grind cookies to a fine powder. With mixer, blend cookie powder, cream cheese and vanilla extract until thoroughly mixed. (There should be no white traces of cream cheese.)

2. Roll into small balls and place on wax-paper lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate for 45 minutes.

3. Line two cookie sheets with wax-paper. Melt milk chocolate in a double boiler. Dip balls and coat thoroughly. With slotted spoon, lift balls out of chocolate and let excess chocolate drip off. Place on cookie sheet.

4. In separate double boiler, melt white chocolate. Using a fork, drizzle white chocolate over balls. Let cool.

5. Store in airtight container, in refrigerator.

Twin A got this recipe from a friend. She melted the chocolate in the microwave, instead of using a double boiler. She chose to decorate some with chopped walnuts. And, as always true with baking, high quality ingredients yield a high quality product. We learned from experience to use Ghirardelli chocolate in this recipe. These are delicious!!

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  1. They are beautiful!

    If I were Twin A's parent I would be conflicted. Do I want my child to feel less stress in I want my child to feel the stress, attempt to relieve it through baking so that I could benefit :)

  2. Oh my! Those look so lovely and I bet they are so delicious. I miss having my daughter at home as she also likes to bake and create yummy things. My high school senior boy relieves his stress by wrestling with his younger brother and playing call of duty on the wii! Not quite the same...;)

  3. Wow - they're amazing! I also attest to the powers of baking therapy.

  4. What gorgeous truffles! I remember years ago learning to make truffles with a friend of mine - fun to make AND eat :)

    I agree - cooking is stress-relieving. My favorite stress reliever in the kitchen is chopping vegetables :)

  5. Yum! I love that she's so into cooking at her age. I've started my nieces early, too! Have a great weekend!

  6. I would be so proud! There are a thousand ways a teenager can derail themselves from all that stress and pressure. Baking is a skill and a form of therapy she will be able to use forever. Those truffles look fabulous!

  7. YUM!! Twin A did a fantastic job!

    I, too,can attest to the joys of kneading and pounding. CS also loves to bake; totally took charge of the Christmas cookies this year, made brownies for her swim team...

    Isn't it wonderful when you get to eat the "mistakes"!

  8. Beautiful! Truffles look like such fun to make, but so far I've been too intimidated. Her's look lovely!


  9. Oooh, yummy and they look so pretty too. Twin A is definitely on to something. Often times at the end of a long day, I actually look forward to getting into the kitchen. I love the whole process (except maybe the dishes:)

  10. Those truffles look so moreish! Cooking is most definitely therapeutic.

  11. Those look delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    I remember the stress of Junior year as well - so many tough decisions being thrown at you. Baking is a great stress reducer!

  12. Oh my goodness, do they ever look delicious...well done ladies!

    I was thinking of you today, we were in Toronto and I spied a Michigan licence plate near the market. Hope your day was as gorgeous and sunny as ours was!

  13. Looks like you just may have a chef in the family. The end results are almost too pretty to eat...note that I said "almost!"

  14. they look fantastic and sound so yummy...especially since I am a huge Oreo fan.

  15. Molly - It is a dilemma - lol! Today she's making a cake to take to my parent's for dinner.

    Kim - My sister has only boys. She always says how different things are at her house... I don't even want to know ;-)

    Verity - Here's to the power of baking therapy!!

    Wendy - I love chopping vegetables! That's probably why I make so much soup ;-)

    Jill - It's so much fun to cook with kids. Your nieces are lucky girls!

    Sandy - Aren't you in Hawaii??? I'm so surprised to see your comment pop up. Those truffles were the downfall of my diet this week...

    DS - My girls took over the Christmas cookies last year, too, and loved it! They did a wonderful job and we had so much fun together.

    Lezlie - They are really easy... and fun to make.

  16. These truffles are spectacular. I don't have the patience for those, put admire people who do.

  17. Book Psmith - Agreed! The dishes are the worst part. As she gets more involved with baking, I've been experimenting with main dishes... trying at least one new recipe a week, but sometimes three or even four.

    Dana - They taste as good as they look!

    BooksPlease - She has definitely discovered the therapeutic effects of baking at an early age!

    Amused - That junior year is tough! Went through it with my older daughter (in college now), so at least we knew what to expect this time...

    Darlene - I'm actually in New York... but our day yesterday was just as gorgeous. The sun is even shining again today. Woo hoo!!

    Esme - Thanks... she did such a good job with them!

    Caite - I love oreos, too!! These taste heavenly...

  18. wow - she is really talented! Those truffles look beautiful (and tasty).

    I am so impressed that your daughter has found such a healthy stress reliever - I am sure it will serve her well as she moves through life!

  19. Cooking is so long as things go to plan! What great truffles, and so easy to make! They would definitely not make it to my best friend's house if I had made those..they'd be in my stomach already!

  20. First, I really love these -- I've used different oreos and different coatings. But mine never looked this beautiful. Twin A has a gift!!!!

  21. This was fun to read. I could hear the note of mother's pride in your voice. The truffles look so good.

  22. Diane - She did a beautiful job with the truffles, but I'm finding that I have less patience for 'fussy' projects the older I get.

    Booksnyc - Her friends really appreciate the results, too!

    Rachel - She's had a couple attempts not turn out exactly as planned, and it's been frustrating... but they still seem to taste good!

    Beth F - I just told my daughter about your comment, and she's excited to try different oreos next time.

    Margot - I really am proud of her... she's become quite a young lady :-)

  23. These sound and look delicious. I wish I had been more interested in baking and cooking when I was younger. At least I'm learning now.

  24. Carolsnotebook - Better late than never, right? I liked to bake when I was younger, but not as much as my daughter does.


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