Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tuxedoed Oreos

"I'm serving chocolate mousse cake from Trader Joe's with French Vanilla ice cream. I was thinking about buying some of those chocolate wafers, but I didn't and these will work just as well."

I'm paraphrasing of course. My mom's boss and family friend held a going-away party for another co-worker and herself at the end of June. Their jobs had been "eliminated" in a series of budget cuts the local school district had to make in the wake of a budget shortfall--the third one within 9 months. The economy sucks everywhere, I know.

Anyway, she asked my parents to bring cantaloupe soup (a cold soup, it's wonderful for less than wonderful cantaloupe) and vegetarian picadillo stuffed peppers. Picadillo, pronounced peek-a-dee-oh, is a sweet and (sometimes) lightly spicy way of preparing meat. Our version has raisins and almonds in it and we use soy crumbles from the frozen foods section. She insisted she had dessert planned, that I didn't need to bring anything. But I didn't feel right going to a dinner party meant primarily for her co-workers without bringing something.

But, I was going to be going almost straight from my internship at a local natural history museum to her house. There was no way I was going to make anything that day. It had to be something that I could make over the weekend and which would age well.

When Mom said her boss would be doing something with chocolate mousse, these seemed like a natural. The Internet is full of recipes for this, so I don't claim anything particularly original, but I do want to point out that these work perfectly well with reduced-fat oreos and neufschatel. The best part about these is that they're kid-friendly (no baking, no sharp implements needed) and they go together pretty quickly. The ones I made used the white bark coating.

Oreo Bon-Bons

1 pound reduced-fat oreos
1 8-ounce block neufschatel (reduced fat cream cheese)
Powdered sugar for coating OR
White Bark coating (about 1/2 pound)

Smash the oreos so no huge chunks remain. This can be done with a gallon bag and a rolling pin--just be sure to get all the air out of the bag before you start hammering it. Or, you can toss them in your food processor and pulse it to break up the cookies. In a large bowl, using a fork, mix together the cream cheese and oreos until the color is even and it starts to come together to form a ball.

Roll small, equally sized balls of the cookie-cream cheese mixture. These can be any size you want, but it's easier to coat these if they're evenly sized--especially if you're using the white bark coating. Chill the small balls for an hour or two, until firm.

Spread the powdered sugar in a shallow dish, if using, or melt the white bark coating (follow instructions on the package, but generally you can do this in a double-boiler or by microwaving it on HIGH for 1 minute and then stirring. Microwave on HIGH for additional 15-second intervals until it is completely melted).

Dip or roll the balls through the powdered sugar or melted white bark. Let set and then store in refrigerator.

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