Maple Walnut Truffles

Maple Walnut Truffles

While I often talk about wanting to move to California (#CaliforniaDreaming), there is one thing I will miss when I move: our yard.

Okay, so there are a few things I will miss, though not many, and one of the things I will hate to leave behind is our yard, specifically in summer.

Maple Walnut Truffles

We don’t have a lot of land, which is nice really.  More land = more work, and we already have more than enough yard work.  But the land we do have is populated with trees.  Pine trees, maple trees, flowering trees.  They are stunning, but not quite as beautiful as the flowers.

From peonies and tulips to irises and coneflowers to the plethora of annuals we are unable to stop ourselves from buying each year.  Once everything is in full bloom, the neighbors fade away and our yard that looked so desolate in winter turns into a tropical jungle.

Maple Walnut Truffles

With all these plants, all these hiding places, comes wildlife.  Birds that sing and swoop around the yard.  Squirrels and chipmunks that bound along in the grass.  Hummingbirds that come right up to the window to say hi … and eat.  Probably mostly eat.  Baby bunnies that explore the world for the first time.

It is life right in front of me and it gives me life on days good and bad.  And really, this is why I want to leave this yard behind, so I don’t have to give these things up in the winter.  And hopefully one day when I do get to move, the next family to move in will enjoy the yard as much as we have and perhaps enjoy winter a bit more.

 

To make sure we all enjoy the beauty of summer, fun no bake treats like these Maple Walnut Truffles, which also happen to be gluten free, are perfect.

These are super easy to make.  They are filled with maple flavor and crunchy walnuts.  Plus, since it’s best to keep them in the refrigerator, they are a refreshing treat to beat the heat.  Feel free to swap the walnuts for pecans if you prefer, just make sure to use real maple syrup.

Enjoy summer and these irresistible homemade candies.

Maple Walnut Truffles

Maple Walnut Truffles

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

Yield: About 20 truffles

Ingredients

½ stick unsalted butter, room temperature

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

1 ½ cups carob or dark chocolate chips

½ cup white chocolate chips

1 ½ tablespoons pure vegetable shortening, divided

Instructions

In a medium bowl, whisk together butter and maple syrup. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar and whisk to combine. Whisk in vanilla. Add more maple syrup or confectioners’ sugar as necessary to achieve a thick yet smooth mixture. Stir in walnuts. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes until firm.

Once chilled, roll mixture into about 1 tablespoon sized balls. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate an additional 10 minutes.

While the truffles are chilling, melt the carob or dark chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon shortening, in the microwave in 30 second increments until fully melted.

Remove the truffles from the refrigerator and using a fork dip into the chocolate, coating completely. Return to the parchment to set. Repeat with remaining truffles.

Melt white chocolate in the microwave with remaining ½ tablespoon of shortening, in 30 second increments, until fully melted. Using a fork, drizzle white chocolate over truffles.

Refrigerate truffles until set, about 20 minutes. Serve or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Truffles may also be frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Notes

Additional chilling time is necessary

Recipe adapted from Crazy for Crust

http://piesandplots.net/maple-walnut-truffles/

Animal Cookie Ice Cream Cake

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BiteSizedBitsofJoy #CollectiveBias

Animal Cookie Ice Cream Cake

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the good old days … which for me is about ten or twelve years ago.  Still, that seems like a long time ago in a world that was incredibly different from the one we inhabit currently.

Cell phones made phone calls.  Social media wasn’t really a thing.  MTV played music videos.  Like I said – a different world.

 

Frosted Animal Cookies

 

Frosted Animal Cookies

It’s not to say that world was better than the one we experience today, but it was different and sometimes different is good.  While I can’t time travel to the past, I can recreate some of those fond memories.

I have been putting away my cell phone, limiting my time on it to between thirty and forty minutes a day.  It is like lifting a weight off my shoulders.  I am enjoying old school movies and TV shows.  I just watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for the first time and I feel like it’s about time to break out my West Wing DVDs for another viewing.

Animal Cookie Ice Cream Cake

I’ve also been picking up nostalgic treats, especially those from Keebler.  My mom loved Keebler cookies and often ate them when she was pregnant with me, so perhaps that is why I have such a soft spot for them.  Every time I pick up some Keebler cookies, I get to take a trip down memory lane and the cookie aisle at my local Kroger.

Shopping at Kroger

I like so many different Keebler cookies and am keeping my eyes peeled for the Birthday Cake Fudge Stripes, but today we’re celebrating Frosted Animal Cookies.  They are so fun with the bright colors and you all know I’m so up for anything with frosting and sprinkles.

But I wanted to do something more creative than just eat them right out of the bag … though I did a bit of that too.  So I made an Animal Cookie Ice Cream Cake.  Ice cream cake is another one of those nostalgic treats that I haven’t had in forever, but I recently have been craving one, so this was the perfect time to get to work.

Animal Cookie Ice Cream Cake

I made the perfect yellow cake with some of the Animal Cookies mixed right in.  I layered the cakes with vanilla bean ice cream and a ton of chopped Animal Cookies.  I frosted the cake with ice cream and topped it with a bit of marshmallow fluff before finishing with more Animal Cookies and sprinkles!

The end result is everything my old school heart was craving.  The soft cake, the smooth ice cream, the crunchy cookies, and of course the sprinkles.  Not only is this a great way to revisit the past, but it’s an awesome treat for summer since it’s super refreshing.

Animal Cookie Ice Cream Cake

You have to check out this sweepstakes too!

Keebler Cookies at Kroger: Summer 2016

Pick up some Keebler cookies, make this cake, and relive all those awesome memories that it turns out don’t have to be left behind.

For more great ideas and inspiration, be sure to check out the #BiteSizedBitsOfJoy Social Hub http://cbi.as/3jch4 –coming soon!

Animal Cookie Ice Cream Cake

Animal Cookie Ice Cream Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8-10 servings

Ingredients

Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups granulated sugar

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, plus more for pans, room temperature

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)

½ cup Frosted Animal Cookies, chopped

For assembly

2 pints high quality vanilla bean ice cream, softened

1 cup Frosted Animal Cookies, chopped

1 cup marshmallow fluff

11 whole Frosted Animal Cookies

Sprinkles

Instructions

Bake the cakes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. I did this by hand but a hand or stand mixer will work. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to the sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Fold in the cookies.

Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool completely in pans. Cakes may be made 1 day ahead of time and stored in pans covered tightly with plastic wrap.

When you are ready to assemble the cake, remove the cakes from the pans and level the tops of them with a serrated knife. Line one of the cake pans with plastic wrap, leaving a fair amount of overhang. Place one cake in the lined cake pan. Top with 1 pint of ice cream, spreading it into an even layer. Top with chopped Animal Cookies. Press the cookies and ice cream lightly into the cake.

Place the second cake on top. Spread second pint of ice cream on top of the cake. Cover with plastic that is left as overhang and freeze for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. When ready to serve, top with marshmallow fluff and whole Animal Cookies. Finish with sprinkles. Slice cake using a large serrated knife.

Notes

Cake recipe adapted from Food and Wine Additional chilling time is necessary

http://piesandplots.net/animal-cookie-ice-cream-cake/

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