Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Oreo Cookie Balls - A Tutorial

I have made these little balls of deliciousness many times and I always get asked how they are made. They are deceptively simple, really. Especially when you consider the taste! To quote my cousin Nathan: "that has to be the best thang I ever wrapped my tongue around"! (He was talking about my dad's baked beans at the time but still...) Nathan makes me laugh. I might quote him again on my blog someday... Really! He has Larry the Cable Guy beat all to holler. I digress. Back to the Oreo balls...

Here we have the actors in the play: The actual ingredients are pretty basic. One package of Oreo cookies. One normal-size block of cream cheese. One package of candy wafers. I get a little creative with things but you can just use this basic recipe to start with. A side note before we begin: when I took these photos I was getting ready for a big church event in which a large number of people were anticipated to come by our home. I made a big-ole batch of this stuff. Can you say "FIVE package of Oreo's and FIVE blocks of yummy cream cheese"? Just wanted to be clear. The gi-hugic bowl of cookie gloop did not go on my own personal thighs. Though I will admit to snarfing down my fair share!
Then you can add some Just-For-Fun items. I chose these sprinkles. You'll see a rhyme to my reason directly. I also like to put the little balls in candy papers when I serve them. This is because I'm a "presentation" kind of girl and I like things all tied up with a bow! You don't have to do them this way. I'm sure they taste the same straight out of your hand without the little papers hugging their bottoms. Pretty sure anyway...
Rip open the package of Oreo cookies and...
...toss 'em in the blender. I can put one full row at a time in my blender. You might live dangerously and try more but I found if I tried to get my blender too full, I ended up with some cookie chunks and not the finer texture I wanted.
Almost there. You want these puppies almost the consistency of coarsely ground coffee. The cream part (arguably the best part of the Oreo) will mostly just disappear right into the whole blended powdery stuff.
Did I mention you should have your cream cheese at room temperature? You should. Take it out of the 'fridge an hour or so before hand (a day or so if you live in the north in the winter) and let it soften. You can soften it in the microwave but I don't recommend you do that if you can avoid it. The heating tends to separate the cream cheese and your dough turns kind of greasy. They firm up okay in the final steps and taste just as wonderful so go ahead if you forgot or the cat got into the first batch you laid out to soften or something...
Just plop the cream cheese in on top of the Oreo powder and wash your hands really, really, REALLY good with antibacterial soap. Then go wash them again just because I'm a nurse and it makes me feel better to say that. I can't stand the thoughts of grody hands in food I'm expected to eat... If your aren't sure about your hand hygiene, feel free pull on some sterile gloves. I was very certain my hands were very clean so I just started squishing the cream cheese into the Oreo mixture. Just keep smushing until all of the powdery bits incorporate into the cream bits. It only takes a few minutes for it to all stick together into a dough.
I have never placed the Oreo dough wad out on a plate before, but because the bowl was so big, I found it easier to work from a plate than leaning over a cavernous bowl spelunking for my next blop of dough. Do that if you want to.
I make my balls on the smallish side. Smaller than a ping-pong ball but bigger than a shooter-marble. You want them about the size of a typical chocolate candy so they are a good mouthful but not so big that you go into a sugar coma before you finish one. Line the little balls up on a piece of waxed paper or parchment - I have used both and they both work well - put over a cookie sheet. My favorite cookie sheets to use for this task are the stone ones because when they come out of the 'fridge after the cool down cycle, the stone stays cold longer and in Houston that is a good thing!
Now bear with me while I chase a rabbit for a minute. One of the batches I did I used mint Oreo's. I wanted to try some different flavors. I think the green Oreo filling looked so cool in the blender so I had to show you...
This is what the mint looks like all chopped up. You can almost see green in there if you look hard enough.
Then pop everybody in the fridge for a cool-down. Even dough that is very soft will firm right up when you get them in the cold for a bit. I normally clean up everything at this point and go check my email, make my bed and paint my toenails...whatever I can find to do to let time pass. I try to allow at least an hour.
Then you pull them out and baptize them in melted chocolate wafers. I'll did the white color first and I forgot to take a picture of the melting process so you'll have to wait a minute for that. Going in...
...and coming out. The chocolate stays soft for only a little while before it hardens back up and it doesn't appreciate being re-melted very much so you want to work quickly.
Then have you seven-year-old daughter sprinkle the still melty tops with the "Cookies and Cream" sprinkles you have sitting right handy in a ramekin. Yes, she washed her hands very well too!
Now I'm gonna do the chocolate ones. I put the wafers in a Pyrex measuring cup. Mine can hold the entire bag of wafers. I have had so many people tell me this is where the process fails! So I guess this is important! Melt the wafers exactly like this: Pop them in the microwave for one minute. Take them out. Give them a stir. Notice that they are looking a little soft around the edges but don't get concerned - because, well, because I told you not to! Put them back in the microwave for 30 seconds. Give them a stir. One more 30 second zap and you should be starting to get quite melty. Many people don't realize that when you cook with a microwave you are changing the molecular structure of food by exciting the molecules and they will continue to move for a short period of time after you take them out of the microwave. You can really see this work when melting chocolate. So if you pull the wafers out after one full minute and two half-minute cycles and you are almost smooth chocolate but still a little lumpy, just give it a stir for a few minutes and make sure you really need more time in the microwave before you put them back in for another go-round. So if you have had the experience of your chocolate getting hard and crumbly, you have over-cooked it and now you know...
See? Almost there. This will stir out to very smooth. Mmmmm...chocolate!
For the plain chocolate coated ones, we used toffee crumbles.
And now for the mint...these sprinkles aren't mint flavored but they look minty so we'll just use those so folks know which ones are mint. Okay? (BTW, that hand is chocolatey NOT dirty! She washed! Promise. I watched her do it.)
Lovely, rich mint chocolate melts make the mint cookies even yummier.
And the green sprinkles look really pretty on them.
Sittin' pretty in their little paper dresses all ready for someone to snatch them up and dive into chocolate heaven. We did have a few left over so I sent a small box to Melissa and Jamison's teachers. They loved me. They sent me notes of rapture. I was the favorite parent that week! I think I'm gonna do it again next week with a bigger box for their Christmas presents. I have done these with the golden Oreos and they are quite divine. I found some berry flavored Oreo's the other day and bought a couple of packages but I'm not sure they are going to make it to the project. Think chocolate-covered strawberries. Yes. That good. I hope the grocery store has more. I'm not sure I have enough left for even one batch...
Let me know if you try these. I'd love to hear about your own personal combinations. I saw some peanut butter Oreos the other day. I refrained from purchasing them though. If you did, tell me how they turned out.

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