Friday, May 8, 2015

Oreo Truffle Tutorial

Some submissions that are sent to us require us to test out the pin, do research online, or call in "experts". Okay, most submissions do. We don't pretend to know how to fix everything. But sometimes we do get a submission in that we actually do know how to do, and that makes us feel super excited, like we actually do know something and aren't great big phonies.

I'm pretty excited to get to tell you about Oreo Truffles. Alexa, "a teen who loves Pinterest", came across these while surfing Pinterest before Easter. "I'm not a baker, actually I'm not very good at crafty-diy kinda projects but I still take on the 'easier' ones, just for fun. Last week, I was looking on Pinterest for something sweet to make with an Easter theme, and came across this AMAZING looking treat for Easter."

The Original Pin
photo by Gimme Some Oven

Mmmm, yum yum yum!! "It seemed easy enough, and plus, I mean how hard could it be? So I went and bought the ingredients for these delicious-looking Oreo truffles. I got home and started to read the directions, it said that I needed to put the Oreos in the food processor. Ours broke earlier this week, so, I settled for a hand mixer (there would just be chunkier pieces of Oreo right?). After I had 'blended' the Oreos and cream cheese, I just assumed that it 'was supposed to look like that' and made the eggs. Finally I chilled them and TRIED to dip them in chocolate."
The Pinstrosity

"Of course, I ran into all sorts of problems. For example:
1. Dropping the egg into the chocolate and unsuccessfully taking it out before it had taken almost all of the chocolate. 
2. Running out of chocolate because I had wasted a bunch of it.  
3. Transferring the already scary Oreo eggs onto a smaller pan because it wouldn't fit in the fridge, therefore making them look 100x worse
Unfortunately, all attempts failed to make them. And I ended up with delicious (but hideously ugly) Oreo eggs. So, lesson learned: I don't know how to dip Oreo eggs or how to follow directions-- if you do, then, I think they would turn out beautiful AND delicious!!"

These Oreo Truffles are one of my favorite things to make, especially at Christmas time. One batch makes a TON!

As luck has it, I actually wrote up a tutorial post for this recipe 5 1/2 years ago! I've perfected it a little more now, so I'll include my current commentary here in italics (the original post can be found here).

Oreo Truffles

Supplies you will need:

  • 1 pkg oreos (I prefer double stuff)
  • 1 pkg cream cheese
  • 1 pkg chocolate candy coating (I usually use Almond Bark, but the store I went to for this particular time didn't have any, they just had Kroger Candy Coating, which works, but it doesn't taste as good in my opinion)
  • 1 pkg vanilla (or any white) Candy Coating
  • 2 pots
  • 1 bowl
  • baking pans
  • wax paper
  • 4 spoons
  • 2 butterknifes
  • Shortening 

Smash the oreos. I use a cool little blender thing-a-ma-jigger...I can't think of what it's called right now, but it's in the picture below (uh...6 years ago me...that could be called a mini food processor or a food chopper). I've used a ziploc bag and my fist before, but it doesn't work as good. In Alexa's case here, a ziploc bag and a rolling pin, a bowl and a heavy duty cup, or something would also work.)

You don't want there to be any big cookie chunks. You want it to look like potting soil. MMMmm, yummy! 

One package of oreos will yield this many crumbs (below).

Step 2: Add the whole block of cream cheese.

I suggest removing any rings or bracelets for this next part.

Step 3: Mix the crumbs and the cream cheese together. I have tried a few different things and have found that using my hands is the most effective way to get this stuff mixed together.

It was after seeing the above shot that I decided I needed to put make up on and brush my hair now my cute little side ponytail is smooth, I have cute dangly earrings on and my makeup is subtle but present (this was just at the start of deciding that it is okay to be girly and feminine..."subtle but present" makeup was me saying "I'm wearing makeup and that makes me feel silly so I'll downplay it." I can be a bit of a goob sometimes).
It'll look like this when you're done (below is actually a double batch mixed up).

Step 4: Put the bowl with the goop in the fridge or freezer to harden up a little. Meanwhile, get out a casserole dish or a cookie sheet. After just a minute or two (or about 5 or 10), take the goop back out and then start rolling it into little balls about this big:

When I got my double batch all rolled out, I had 194 oreo balls (but then I ate two, so I ended up with an even 16 a single batch will yield about 8 dozen candies...depending on big/small you roll the balls and how many you eat in the process). Once the balls are rolled, stick the pans in the freezer.

Step 5: Melt half of the chocolate in a saucepan (there'll be instructions on the packet if you need them). Once the chocolate is melted, take the balls out of the freezer and plop a few in the pan (I usually do about 3 at a time). As the balls warm up, they will try to come apart, so don't throw too many in the pot at one time.

I've done the chocolate in the microwave and on the stove and still the stove gives me the best results. Keep the heat on low and be patient. Stir the chocolate occasionally to keep it from scorching, and keep water out to keep it from seizing up. I will typically now add a tablespoon or two of shortening to my pot of melted chocolate to make it more smooth and so I don't get as thick of coats on the truffles. 

Cover the ball in chocolate and fish out with a spoon, or whatever device you have chosen for the job. My preferred device these days is a fork. You can scoop up the truffle and the excess chocolate runs through the tines. Don't stab the truffle, scoop. 

Dip half of the balls in the chocolate, adding more chocolate to the pot to melt as you go. I used to melt all the chocolate at once, but then it started to get lumpy and not as smooth (seizing and scorching). I found that it works better to add chocolate as you go. Once half the balls are dipped in chocolate, set the chocolate pan aside (with any remaining'll use it later).

Step 6: Melt half of the white chocolate in a different pan and dip the remaining half of the oreo balls. Usually I end up using a little more of the white chocolate than I do the reg. chocolate because it takes more white to cover the oreoness. 

Step 7: After you have dipped all the oreo balls, put the white ones aside and bring back the chocolate ones, but keep the white chocolate in the pot warm and runny. At this point I added a little bit of shortening (anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon or two, depending on how much chocolate is left and how runny I want it, just add 1 tsp at a time and stir it in), to make the chocolate a little more runny. Dip a butter knife (or a fork) in the white chocolate and drizzle it over the chocolate oreo balls, as seen below.

Once you have drizzled white chocolate on the brown balls, heat up the chocolate (again adding shortening if extra fluidity is also makes drizzling a little easier and as long as you don't add huge amounts of shortening, the flavor will be fine too) and then drizzle chocolate over the white balls. In the end it'll look something like this:

It took me about 2 1/2 hours to do a double batch from beginning to end. If you don't want to do it all in one shot, you can make the balls, and leave them in the fridge or freezer for a bit before you dip them. These are quite easy and they look nice (well...mine look like blobs, but you can make them look nice) and they taste great!

Seriously, these are so yummy. Give them a try! 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Show and Tell: Use it Up Projects

I put this post off a day hoping that maybe we'd have some late entries for the April challenge, but figured I'd go ahead and do the post today. I was able to get two Pinterest projects done this month using the Use It Up theme we had. Everything I used came from things I found around the house. I was pretty proud of myself! 

First, I made a table topper Dresden Plate, following one of my pins to a great tutorial. It was fun to dig through my fabric stash and pick out colors and prints (I don't have a huge one, so finding 4 fabrics that fit together perfectly was pretty exciting). I even found thread and batting in just the right amounts (I used just about every inch of the remaining gold thread I had, it was the perfect length left on the spool).  You can read more about this project here

Second, I made me a Home sign, using this site as my inspiration. I had spare 8x10 canvases in my painting box, a printer with ink, and mod podge, and made that work. I like how it turned out (especially now that it's dried all the way and the wrinkles in the paper are stretched out and gone). You can read more about this project here.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Even a Seasoned Crafter...

There is one thing we love about Pinstrosity...very few escape the clutches of a good Pinstrosity moment sometime in their creative life. Not even the seasoned crafters, bakers, artists, moms, office geniuses, etc. Mishaps happen to everyone. 

Carrie included. 

Carrie told us that she was doing a demonstration at her local Mothers of Preschoolers group on home decor and DIY projects and brought a bedside table to redo quickly, with this pin as her inspiration:

The Original Pin

She said, "I brought along some lace and laid it down and started painting. Well, apparently I used too much paint because it definitely didn't turn out like the example. But it was a good example to everyone that evened seasoned craft and DIYers have dud projects!"
The Pinstrosity

We've seen a few troubles come up with similar projects, and more often than not the problem is actually the use of lace vs. the use of a crocheted doily. Lace is much more thin and moves easily. It works, but you have to be very careful with it. Gentle spray painting works best with lace. Crocheted doilies are usually thicker and a little more sturdy. They produce a more apparent design from a distance (as with the turquoise table), and can be used with spray paint or gentle and careful application of liquid paint and a brush. You can often find doilies at local thrift stores or up in your attic. Just make sure you aren't using great great great grandma's crocheted doily that she carried across the ocean with her. That would be a Pinstrosity in and of itself.

Monthly Challenge: May 2015

May can be an insanely busy month with Graduations galore, Mother's Day, family vacations, wedding season starting, etc. Rather than throw something on top of all the craziness for this month's challenge, we thought it would be fun (and helpful) to make the challenge go along with what many people are already doing for May. Gifts! There are millions of diy gift pins, Pinterest boards for goofy grad gifts, and even gift wrapping pins. If nothing else, make a gift for yourself! 

Now, what exactly are we asking you to do again?

1. Browse through your Pinterest boards, and then your sister's Pinterest boards, and then your high school BFF's Pinterest boards, and then your cat's previous owner's Pinterest boards, and then even the Official Pinstrosity Challenge Pinterest Board (we'll be adding ideas to it all the time) and find pins that fit the theme that inspire you. They can be food, decor, costumes, aprons, painting color schemes, etc., but it needs to be out of supplies you already have. This should be fun! 

2. Once you've found some pins on Pinterest that inspire you, build on that inspiration!  You can follow the pin instructions to a T, or you can just work off your inspiration and go for a Pin Spin.

3. Take a picture of the outcome. We want to see the Pin Wins, Pin Spins, and Pinstrosities!

4. Email us your pictures, the link to the project you were inspired by, and any bit of the story you want to tell. You have until 8:00 AM (MST) on June 1st to send us your May projects.

5. Saturday, June 6th we will do a Round Up post and show you the projects we were sent in. If we have too many for one post, we'll do multiple Show and Tell Saturday posts!

6. All projects submitted as part of the challenge need to have been completed in May 2015. No submitting projects you did last year. The point of this challenge is to get you to actually use Pinterest to inspire your life!

7. Feel free to submit as many times as you want!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Seedy Bread

You know those recipes you find that are healthy, claim amazing taste, and promote how easy it is to make it? The ones that make you think that eating healthy will be so much easier now that this pin is in your life? I know those pins. Many of you know those pins. Well, recently we had a GREAT submission from a faithful reader in Germany that revolves around one of "those pins"! Here is Lida's story: 

For quite a while I’m reading your posts from over here in Berlin and enjoying them! Now I can’t help it and make a submission on my own, freshly failed in my kitchen. What I tried to make was this: 

A super healthy life changing loaf! Uhm, okay, in my dreams. What I actually made was this: 

Originally I had in mind to make black bread. However, I couldn't find any recipe NOT using long fermented sourdough starters. I'm afraid of sourdough, the longer it needs to ferment the more, despite reading lots of posts with titles like "No Fear of Sourdough!".

Then I hit upon this. One of the family members my baking attempts are usually aimed at had recently remarked that he loved seed and nut breads –"the seedier and more nutty the better". What could be seedier and more nutty than a 100%-seeds-&-nut-loaf? Only the experience of baking it – or trying to.

I took a standard loaf pan (of tin instead of silicon but I boldly claim that can't be the reason for the disaster), lined it with parchment and filled in the seed mix. It consisted of the exact same amounts of the exact same ingredients. I did not substitute anything with some unfathomable EU-products and did not mix up metric and US measures. Note, I even got a measuring cup with cups and ounces (okay, I already had the cup but anyway, I did use it) and even bought organic coconut oil for 5 Euros to add those darn 3 tablespoons to the batter! Said batter actually isn't worthy of the name, because it's simply a drippy mix of nuts and seeds, sticky as heck because of the class A maple syrup that goes in it. At that point I didn't worry. After all, the whole mix had to sit for a couple of hours or overnight. I imagined the seeds would swell up and somehow be pressed into a solid shape.

The next day I got the first hunch that this wasn't the case. Since I had gone so far there was no turning back. The tin went in the preheated oven and sat there for a good 30 minutes instead of the 20 minutes called for in the recipe, but the cluster was still falling apart. It was sticky, but far from manageable. How far became evident as I transferred it out of the baking tin by lifting the parchment. The outer crust was inseparably glued to the parchment while inside this package everything was rolling (think of holding a water bomb filled with seeds and nuts). Incredibly, I succeeded in turning it onto another sheet of parchment on the oven rack. It went in the oven again, and I was pretty glad to have the approaching failure out of sight. It got back to me. Soon there was a burnt smell in the kitchen. It came partly from the parchment which had caught fire, and partly from nuts and seeds that had fallen off and rolled in the oven's most remote corners. Probably it will be years until the last of these has been removed or burned to ashes. Attempts to separate the burnt parchment from the loaf resulted in the collapse of the loaf itself and the whole baking project. This final stage of decomposition is documented by the photos.

On the GCT scale: this gets a 4. Visibly burnt, but not on fire (yet). No one tried the stuff smelling of burnt coconut oil and burnt money. No one will ever try it again. At least not over here in this tiny kitchen of ours.


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