12 Days of Christmas Cookies - Days 5 & 6

According to a study I made up for this post, completely inundating oneself with only current events can induce a severe case of jam-fingers-in-ears-and-run-away-whilst-yelling-lalalalalala-itis. A FB friend closed her FB & Twitter accounts just after the Paris tragedy because of the severity of her aforementioned affliction. I applaud her decision, and admire the strength it took for her to do that - considering how heavily vested she was in the medium. 

I don't have it in me to go cold turkey. So stave off the affliction, I've made copious use of the "Delete From Feed" and "Don't Show Posts From xxx" options on my feed. And to amp up the Christmas cheer, especially while baking, I added Lite Rock 105 out of Providence to my radio diet the day after Thanksgiving - that's when they go all Christmas songs 24-7, until the New Year. My fingers are no longer poised outside my ears. I just need to decide on other radio stations after Christmas is over, since lite rock isn't really my bag, baby. Hopefully before 2016 is over, I'll be able to acquire a Sirius subscription - Howard just upped his contract for another 5 years.


 BROWNIE BITES AND OREO MINT BALLS

 
A tray of chocolate. Mmmmmm.




















It appears I won't be able to finish up with cookies before Christmas is gets here. But since the holiday isn't really over until after New Year's, I'll have a whole other week. And life lesson learned: plan ahead. 

My intention was to have White Chocolate Chip Lemon Streusel Bars as part of this post, but I changed my mind. Don't fear - they will appear! Today's chocolate bomb is brought to you courtesy of my America's Test Kitchen Christmas Cookie Collection. They are super-easy (don't even need an oven for the Mint Balls) and will definitely quell any chocolate craving! My favorite part about these recipes is they're mini. Not only is mini cute (look at the widdle munchkins!) but it's fewer calories. Doesn't matter how many you eat. Ahem. 

OREO MINT BALLS

WHAT YOU'LL NEED 

14 Oreo Cool Mint Creme Cookies
3 oz cream cheese, softened
6 ounces of semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used chocolate chips)
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp green sprinkles (I didn't have any on hand, and that didn't stop me - don't let it stop you!)
Parchment paper

WHAT TO DO 

Line a large plate with parchment paper. Blitz the cookies in a food processor until finely ground, about one minute. Mix the ground cookies and the cream cheese thoroughly in a bowl. Roll mixture into 15 balls, space evenly on prepared plate, then put in the freezer until firm. About 20 minutes.

Melt semi-sweet chocolate and vegetable oil together. For the microwave: put in a covered bowl, heat at half power for 2 - 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  For the stove: put oil and chocolate in a sauce pan over medium heat, for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Rolls the frozen balls in the melted chocolate mixture. I used a toothpick and butter knife to make sure they were completely coated. Put back on the plate, decorate with sprinkles, if you have them. Repeat. Put back in the freezer for another 10 minutes. Remove. Eat. Store any remaining balls in the refrigerator.

BROWNIE BITES

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

8 tbsp unsalted butter
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 c sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 c flour
1/2 c pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)

WHAT TO DO

Preheat oven to 350. Liberally grease one 24-cup or two 12-cup mini muffin tins.

Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. About five minutes.

In a large bowl, whist sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking powder and salt together. Add chocolate mixture, whisk until combined. Gently stir in the flour with rubber spatula until completely incorporated. 

Drop a tablespoon of batter into prepared cups and sprinkle on the nuts, if using. Bake 16 - 18 minutes; until a test toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. If using two trays, be sure to rotated halfway through. If using one tray, make sure oven rack is centered. Let brownies cool for 10 minutes before taking them out of the tins.




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