Sunday, February 9, 2014

Nilla Wafer Truffles

Anyone remember the Nilla Wafer?

Yup, these guys.

If you don't know them you should get to know them. Nillas are normally a supporting character in dessert... Sometimes as an ingredient for pie crust, or crumbled as a layer in banana pudding. But truth be told they're sooooooo delicious on their own. Buttery, crispy, and perfect for dunking, I think it's Nilla's time to shine again.

These little chocolate nuggets of Nilla are delectable and an absolutely adorable treat to give to your Valentine this month! Feel free to decorate them however you choose... they're yummy anytime of year!

First we crush up a pack of Nilla Wafers in the food processor...

Then we add them into a bowl with some cream cheese, confectioners sugar, and melted butter. You mush them together with your hands (unfortunately they just don't come together in a mixer... hands are a must).

Then they get rolled into little balls and 'chill' (pun intended) in the freezer for a little while.

While the Nillas are chillin', we melt some chocolate for some dippin'...Then we dip...

Tada! B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L Valentine's Day treats for your honey!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Nilla Wafer Truffles

  • 1 pack (11 oz) of Nilla Wafers
  • 7 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Sprinkles for decorating (optional) 

  1. Empty your package of Nilla Wafers into a food processor, turn it on, and let it run until the Nilla Wafers turn into fine crumbs. 
  2. Empty the Nilla crumbs into a large mixing bowl. Add your cream cheese, confectioners sugar, and melted butter. Mix WELL WITH YOUR HANDS (an electric mixer just doesn't work) until the combination turns into a dough-like consistency (see picture above). 
  3. Roll the Nilla 'dough' into 1-inch balls. Store the balls in a Ziploc bag and put them in the freezer to chill (about one hour). 
  4. About 5 minutes before you're ready to take your Nilla truffles out of the freezer, put your chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave and microwave the chocolate until it melts, about 3-5 minutes (varies depending on your microwave, so keep an eye on it). 
  5. Take your Nilla truffles out of the freezer. Submerge each ball in the melted chocolate, one-at-a-time, then scoop out with a fork and place on a sheet of parchment paper. (click here for a great video that has a fun technique for perfectly dipping truffles) 
  6. Immediately, while the chocolate is still soft, top with your sprinkles. 
  7. Let the chocolate coating harden, about one-hour. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Doggy Birthday Cake


Yesterday was our little doggy's first birthday... Well, at least we think it was...

When we adopted Paisley from the shelter (shout out to North Shore Animal League in Long Island!), they had noted on her paperwork that her guesstimated birthday was April 3rd. We then took her to the vet who told us, based on the amount of teeth she already had, that she was about two months older than we thought... putting her birthday at February 3rd.

So, February 3rd it is!

Over the course of the four months that Paisley has been living in our home, she's already given us enough laughter to last a lifetime. I couldn't let her birthday go by without making her a 'cake'!

I posted the above picture of my peanut butter doggy cake on Twitter and a friend asked that I share it on Beta's Bites... so here it is!

The recipe comes from this book, which you can purchase on Amazon here (it comes with three adorable little bone-shaped cookie cutters!):

This particular cookie is found on page 42, and is called 'MacDuff's Peanut Butter Holiday Shortbread.' Paisley totally loveddddd it!

Below I've posted the recipe as it reads in the book, but I'll tell you how I made the cake pictured above. I quartered the recipe for the cookies, rolled out the dough, and used a large, heart-shaped cookie cutter to make two cookies (you can't see it in the picture, but the 'cake' actually has two layers). I then baked them on foil in the oven for the recommended 15 minutes at 400 degrees. When the cookies were cooled, I spread half a tablespoon of peanut butter to stick the two layers together on top of each other. I then used another dab of peanut butter to stick a little treat on top for additional decoration.

We then sang her Happy Birthday (of course) and let her have a small piece of the 'cake'... The whole thing would be too much even for a large dog!

MacDuff's Peanut Butter Holiday Shortbread

Makes about 55 biscuits using a small cookie cutter
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky) 
  • 3/4 cup milk
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and baking powder
  2. In a small bowl, whisk peanut butter and milk until smooth
  3. Make a well in the flour mixture and gradually stir in peanut butter mixture until well blended 
  4. Use hands to work dough into 2 pliable balls. The warmth from your hands will help make the dough more workable. 
  5. Knead each dough ball on a floured surface, about 2 minutes
  6. With a rolling pin, roll dough between 1/4" and 1/2" thickness. 
  7. Cut with K-9 Biscuit Cutter and place on a baking sheet, lined with foil. 
  8. Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees
  9. Cool on a rack and store in sealed, plastic bags in the refrigerator. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Boozy Bites: Del Diablo

For 2014, I figured it might be fun to switch things up a bit and add some guest recipes and posts to Beta's Bites! Truth be told, I have lots of friends and family who have a whole host of amazing recipes of their own that need to be shared with the blogging world... plus I'm sure all my blabbing gets boring after a while!

What better way to kick-off our series of guest recipes than with some booze?

So this is my friend Brendan.

He's one of my husband's childhood best friends and happens to be engaged to one of my best friends from college, Jenelle (bet you can take a guess at how they were introduced?!) They're both wonderful and will be getting married this July in Connecticut... needless to say we're SUPER excited to be participating in their festivities.

Since Brendan and Jenelle live less than a mile from Anthony and me, we spend quite a bit of time at each other's humble abodes. One day when we were at their house, Brendan whipped out a bottle of vodka from the fridge and declared that they had infused it with some jalapenos and that he and Jenelle wanted to make us a new drink... Of course, we didn't object.

The drink that he made was inspired by a cocktail offered at Dos Caminos in Manhattan called 'Del Diablo.' It's tasty, it's strong, and it has an incredible kick of jalapeno that will knock your socks off.

Now you'll need at least a week to allow the vodka to be infused with the jalapeno, so be patient!

Thanks for the delicious recipe, Brendan! Cheers!

'Del Diablo'

Makes 2 Cocktails
  • 1-liter bottle of vodka
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, diced (keep seeds if you like your vodka on the spicier side, otherwise discard)
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 2 oz. passion fruit juice
  • Fresh pineapple to garnish
  1. Drop your diced jalapenos in the bottle of vodka. Allow to sit in the freezer for at lease 1 week. 
  2. Remove vodka from the freezer. Strain 4 oz. of vodka into a shaker. Add the 2 oz. of pineapple juice and 2 oz. of passion fruit juice. Add ice to the shaker, cover, and shake well until combined. 
  3. Separate mixture into two glasses over ice. Garnish with pineapple if desired.