Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Oreo Truffles with a Peppermint Twist

So I've been hearing so much buzz about how amazing oreo truffles are - I thought I'd try them, but with a peppermint twist. Instead of using Oreos, I used Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe-Joe cookies. They are basically just like oreos, with a peppermint-cream filling.

Oreo Truffles with a Peppermint Twist
Adapted from Beantown Baker's recipe

24 peppermint oreo cookies
1/2 cup (4 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 teaspoon canola oil
3 peppermint candy canes, crushed into small pieces

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or wax paper and clear some space in your fridge.

Crush cookies using a food processor or a blender. The cookies should be crumbly, but not totally pulverized.

In a measuring cup, combine condensed milk, vanilla, and peppermint extract, stirring until incorporated. Pour this mixture over the crushed Oreos, and stir until ingredients come together. Working quickly, form the mixture into 1" balls by rolling between your hands, and place them on cookie sheet. Even if the mimxture feels sticky at first, it will roll into balls well if you use your palms. Put the balls into refrigerator to chill (for easy dipping).
Sidenote: at this point in the process, my cute hubby says, "I don't know WHAT to caal THOSE balls . . ." - in reference to his funny name for Hayley's Nutella Cookies that I make.

Melt the chocolate using your favorite method. I like to use my double boiler, but you can use your microwave in 10-15 second increments as well.

Dip chocolate balls into melted chocolate and put back on cookie sheet.

Sprinkle with crushed peppermint, and return to fridge until chocolate hardens.

Then I placed ours in mini-cupcake liners for no-mess scarfing.

We took a tin of these with us on our trip to the mountains for New Year's Eve and they were a BIG hit! There were only 4 of us, and we polished this batch off with ease. Oops! Guess it's time for New Year's Resolutions . . .

Recipe Index

Subscribe to VV

There are several ways to subscribe to Vintage Victuals so that you can keep up with my latest recipes and my newest posts!

The easiest way if you have a Blogger, AIM, Google, or Yahoo account is to simply become a VV Follower by clicking here or on the button to the right.

You can add VV to your Google reader or your Google home page by clicking here.

Add VV to your Yahoo home page by clicking here.

Add VV to your BlogLines reader by clicking here.

Add VV to your NewsGator reader by clicking here.

Add VV to your NetVibes account by clicking here.

Add VV to your Live Bookmarks by clicking here.

All About Vintage Victuals

Vintage Victuals started in late 2008 as a fun way for me to keep track of some of my favorite family recipes and to share them with my friends.

The blog has grown and taken on a life of its own, featuring tried-and-true recipes from my family members, quirky recipes from my vintage cookbook collection, and original recipes that I have come up with cooking dinner for my husband.

Vintage Victuals recipes have been featured on TasteSpotting, FoodGawker, and other culinary websites. The blog has also received several great awards from fellow bloggers. As the success of Vintage Victuals continues to grow, my culinary philosophy remains the same: simple, old-fashioned recipes are the absolute best!

I hope you will follow me and share in this great bloggin' and bakin' adventure!

Contacting Ellie

Dear Readers,

I love to hear from you! Please email me with any questions, ideas, recipes, suggestions, or tips you may have. See a great vintage coobook on eBay that reminded you of my blog? Have a generations-old family recipe that you want to share? Have an idea for tweaking one of my recipes or (eep!) correcting a mistake in one? Email me!!! The most rewarding part of the blog for me is actually reaching out to people through my recipes, so feel free to reach out!!

Click here to email me.

Click here to find me on twitter. Let's tweet together!

If you are interested in making one of my recipes and posting it on your own website, I ask that you merely change the text of the recipe to your own original words, and link back to the post here at VV. I love seeing other chefs out there enjoying my recipes, tweaking them, and sharing them with the blogosphere as long as citations link back to the original inspiration.

However, if you are interested in using my stories, my photos, or any other original content, I ask that you please contact me by email to ask permission. I am generally pretty easygoing about these things, but my inner lawyer voice says to be careful.

Check out this great article by David Lebowitz for more on being a legally compliant and ethical recipe blogger!


About Ellie

Hi! I'm Ellie, just your ordinary newlywed southern gal with a passion for cooking and baking from scratch.

I've been baking pretty much since I could see over the countertop. Before that, I had to use a stool to reach up and help mom stir. Cooking has always been a deeply seated part of my life, which is why this blog has become such a passion for me!

I grew up with a rich tradition of family recipes that had been passed down for generations. Instead of keeping these recipes a secret, I find great joy in sharing them with my readers all over the world.

Call me sentimental, but I believe that recipes can bind families together. I believe that a shared meal can bring loved ones closer. My mom taught me this, and it's something that I hold close to my heart. I hope that my blog makes you feel the same way!

You don't need to be a Martha or a Giada to make something that shows someone you love them. Most of my recipes here involve simple ingredients found at your local store or farmer's market - the same ones your grandmother probably used. We don't really have many specialty stores where I live, so I know how difficult it can be trying to drive all over creation looking for some obscure ingredient!

And most of my recipes are pretty easy and pretty quick - I pride myself in being able to bake a cake from scratch in the same amount of time it would take to stir a store-bought mix together. Just ask my grandmother Nanny - it drives her nuts!

I hope you enjoy my blog, and please come back and visit often.


Fruitcake - Cookies?

I really don't like fruitcake. At all.

I know, I know, this is very "un-vintage" of me.

Maybe it's the creepy little mystery bits of neon-colored candies. Or maybe it's the dense and soggy texture. Or the weird not-quite-recognizable flavors.

However, I am married to a man who loves fruitcake. So in a valiant attempt to do something sweet for my dear hubby, I decided to transform fruitcake this holiday season into something better, something yummy, or at least something not quite so creepy and mysterious.

It started with a cookie recipe I found in my parents' old Woman's Day Collector's Cookbook pages. But even tweaked that recipe a little bit to make these delicious, tender little cookies.

Instead of fluorescent-colored candies, I decided to go with some tasty dried fruits. Instead of bread that is soggy with liquor, I reconstituted the fruits with bourbon. Instead of a brick of dense cake, this recipe turned out light and fluffy.

All in all, it was a success . . . Much better than your average fruitcake! They almost turned out like tiny fluffy fruitcake muffin-tops. Excellent as an afternoon snack or for breakfast with some coffee!

Fruitcake Cookies
Inspired by Woman's Day Collector's Cookbook

1 cup raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup bourbon
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried pineapple
1/4 cup rum
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
3/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
3/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped

In a medium bowl, combine raisins, cranberries, and bourbon. In a second bowl, combine dried cherries, dried pineapple, and rum. Allow both bowls to stand for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy.

With mixer on low speed, add flour gradually and mix until smooth.

Add the fruit mixtures and nuts and mix well. Cover and chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Shape dough in balls the size of walnuts, and put on greased cookie sheets.

Bake for about 12 minutes. Cool on racks. Makes about 4 dozen.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Italian Stuffed Peppers

Made up an awesome recipe tonight using a few ingredients we had on hand. We're going out of town tomorrow, so I didn't want to have to buy a bunch of groceries. Plus, we've been eating so much heavy food over the holidays that we were both in the mood for something light and fresh! This hit the spot!

Italian Stuffed Peppers

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 green bell peppers
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 lb. ground turkey breast
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1/2 cup of your favorite spaghetti/marinara sauce
2 teaspoon italian seasoning (or a combination of fresh chopped herbs: basil, parsley, oregano)
2 cups brown rice, cooked
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons cream cheese
2 slices provolone, cut in half
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large heavy frying pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, wash the bell peppers. Cut the tops off of the peppers and remove all seeds and veins from inside with a knife and a spoon.
Add chopped onion to the frying pan, seasoning with salt and pepper, and sautee until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add ground turkey and season again with salt and pepper. Sautee the turkey, breaking up into pieces, until cooked all the way through. Add garlic, and cook for 1 more minute.

Turn the heat down to medium, and add the tomato sauce, and sprinkle in the Italian seasoning or herbs. Stir to coat the meat. Add the rice, the parmagiano reggiano, and the cream cheese. Mix until cheese is melted and incorporated.

Place the peppers on a greased roasting pan or cookie sheet. Fill the peppers with the turkey mixture.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling and sizzling. Remove and top each pepper with provolone cheese. Return to oven for another 5 minutes, or until cheese melts.

Serve with some crusty garlic bread, and enjoy!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Who's Ya Fry Daddy!?!

My hubby's favorite wedding gift that we received is our little fry daddy. It's small - just the right size for making appetizers for our friends or making dinner for the two of us. When we're feeling particularly indulgent, we'll have a fish fry night: fried fish, fried potatoes, and hush puppies. Since we're about to start our New Year's diet, we wanted to spluge by having one last fish fry. Here is our recipe for hush puppies - they are delicious!!!

Hush Puppies

Adapted from Paula Dean's recipe

6 cups canola oil, vegetable oil, or peanut oil
1 1/2 cups self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten

Using a deep pot or fryer, heat oil to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, stir together corn meal, flour, baking soda, salt, and Old Bay Seasoning. Mix in the chopped onion.

In a small bowl, stir together buttermilk and egg. Add this mimxture to the corn meal mixture, and stir until just incorporated.

Drop the batter by teaspoonfuls into preheated oil. To prevent sticking, dip your spoon into a glass of ice water after dropping each hushpuppy into the oil. Turn hushpuppies as they brown, and remove from oil when completely golden.

Drain on paper towel, and serve immediately.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Monkeyin' Around

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is to make Monkey Bread - it's perfect because you can fix it the night before, leave it out to rise overnight, and then pop it in the oven on Christmas morning. Here's my Aunt Cathie's recipe that we love.

Ingredient Note: This recipe calls for frozen bread dough. You should be able to find this in the freezer section at your local grocery store - most often I find it in the form of dough to make dinner rolls. Just be sure you get the actual dough, not "warm and serve" rolls. If you prefer, you can always substitute hunks of home-made bread dough.

Aunt Cathie's Monkey Bread

3/4 cup chopped pecans
18-19 pieces of frozen bread dough
1 3-ounce package "cook 'n' serve" butterscotch pudding (not instant)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

The night before, spray a tube-pan or bundt pan with cooking spray. Then, sprinkle the bottom of the pan with pecans, spreading evenly. Arrange dough pieces evenly on top of the pecans. Sprinkle with butterscotch pudding mix. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Drizzle this mixture over the bread. Leave out to rise overnight, uncovered.

The next morning, dough should be double in size, like this:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes.

Let stand for 10 minutes before turning out onto a plate and serving.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bloggin' and Yule Loggin' on Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve, dear readers! I am happily spending my day doing some last minute baking and wrapping.

Here is the recipe for my Auntie Gladys's Chocolate Yule Log. She is Nanny's sister, and whenever she would come to visit us in Georgia, we would have so much fun baking together. Here is an old shot of Nanny, me, and Auntie Gladys in my parents' kitchen.

This is a beautiful, delicious, delicate dessert that is just perfect to serve around the holidays. It is light and airy, but satisfying with its soft sweetness. It's also much simpler to make than it sounds like, so don't be intimidated! Your family and guests will be truly impressed.

Auntie Gladys's Chocolate Yule Log

5 egg whites
5 egg yolks
1 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/4 cup flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar (optional)
Cocoa powder

Grease a jelly roll pan. Line with wax paper and grease again. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside

In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks until they turn a creamy lemon color, about 5 minutes. Sift in icing sugar, flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Add vanilla and stir until all ingredients are incorporated. Gently fold in egg whites, being sure not to deflate the mixture.

Spread the batter in the prepared jelly roll pan, smoothing into as even a layer as possible.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cake springs back when gently touched with your finger.

While cake is baking, lay a linen tea towel flat on your counter and sprinkle generously with confectioner's sugar.

When cake comes out of the oven, turn it out onto the prepared towel and remove wax paper.

Starting at one of the short ends, roll the cake up in the towel. Do this gently, but remember that the eggs in the cake make it spongy and pliable, so it's really not as hard to do this as you might anticipate. Allow cake to cool completely.

Meanwhile, beat 2 cups whipping cream until stiff but spreadable. Gradually add 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar, if desired. (My family is a non-sweet whipped cream family, but I know that some people prefer to have it sweetened.)

Unroll the cooled cake. Spread half of the whipped cream on the cake; then gently roll the cake back up in the same direction as before. If you'd like, you can simply sprinkle the cake with some powdered sugar and serve as it is. If you'd like to decorate the log more, then continue!

Slice a 1" piece off of one end and set aside. Transfer log to serving plate. Prop the removed slice against the side of the roll, like a branch. Cover the "bark" of the log with the rest of the whipped cream.

Run the tines of a fork across the whipped cream to create a random pattern. Then sift a small amount of cocoa powder on the "bark" to create a wood-like effect.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Betty Crocker's Gingerbread Boys

Since I had already made my usual Gingerbread Men recipe earlier this season, I decided that I would branch out and try a new one for my second round of cookies this year.

This post also brings up a fun story about my Betty Crocker cookbook.

When I was growing up, mom had her 1970s bright-orange edition of the Betty Crocker cookbook, and that was practically all we would ever use when it came to baking. In fact, my favorite chocolate cake recipe comes from this book.

One of the first times I went over to my hubby's house, I saw the exact same bright orange cookbook on his bookshelf! It was then, at that very moment, that I knew he was the one. . .

So back to the cookies! I thought this was an interesting recipe because it uses shortening instead of butter, and it uses no eggs. I tweaked the spices to my tastes and here is what I came up with!

Gingerbread Cookies

Adapted from Betty Crocker's Cookbook (1976)

1/2 cup shortening (ex. Crisco)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar. Blend in molasses, water, flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Cover; chill 2 to 3 hours.

Heat oven to 375F. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut with cookie cutter; place on ungreased baking sheet.

Decorate with raisins, red hots, or other candies (make sure you pick candies that won't melt!).

Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately remove from baking sheet. Cool on racks.

Decorate with icing as desired, and enjoy!

Comparison to my regular recipe for gingies:
I was amazed at how different these cookies turned out than my usual recipe. I served these at a Christmas caroling party over the weekend, and people could not stop eating these. They are slightly crispier and chewier than my other recipe, which is usually more cake-like and fluffy. These tasted like the freshest ginger snaps you've ever had. I'm pretty much sold on them as my new yearly recipe! I wish I had a picture to show, but we sort of decorated these AT the party, and they were eaten up too fast for me to have a photo session. We are making another batch for Christmas Eve, so hopefully I'll snap a few photos then!

Poulet Avec La Vache Qui Rit

I grew up eating Laughing Cow Cheese on crackers, but never actually cooked with it until I went to France as a foreign exchange student in high school.

Our French exchange student, Elodie, came back to visit us in Georgia as well, and she was so excited to find out that we have La Vache Qui Rit (The Cow Who Laughs) in the States, too! She made us this sinfully creamy seafood pie that involved Laughing Cow Cheese and creme fraiche. One day, I'll have to look up the recipe she left us and share it with you all.

I was so excited when I found this recipe for Laughing Cow Chicken because using the Laughing Cow Cheese, even in a simple dish, reminds me so much of Elodie!

PS: Sorry for the poor photo quality - my camera is still MIA, so these were taken with my cell phone!

Laughing Cow Chicken
Inspired by Elizabeth's Cooking Adventures and several other recipes I found online

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cleaned and pounded thin
2 sections of Laughing Cow Cheese (regular, light, or herbed)
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 cup of your favorite bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet or pot over medium heat and season with salt and pepper.

Spread one section of laughing cow cheese on each chicken breast. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Roll up and secure with toothpicks. Mix bread crumbs and salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Spray or brush each chicken roll with some olive oil or cooking spray. Dredge the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture.

Place the chicken in the hot olive oil. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes: chicken should sizzle and brown on the bottom. Turn and brown on the other side for about 2 minutes. Cover and bake in the oven for about 25-30 more minutes until chicken is cooked through (exact time will depend on the size of your chicken pieces). Remove toothpicks and serve with your favorite veggies!

This dish turned out so delicious, and it was so simple to make! Hubby loved this dinner.

The only thing I would change for next time is that I do NOT recommend using colored toothpicks - they were the only ones we had on hand, but they left a little colored mark when we took them out! It reminded me of Bridget Jones' blue soup . . . but not quite as bad. :-)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Marvelous Marbled Peppermint Bark

What could be more festive and full of holiday cheer than
beautifully swirled peppermint bark!?!

When I was in 6th grade, I did my science fair project on the science behind the art of paper marbling. It involved chaos theory, density of liquids, and a lot of other super nerdy stuff. It was so much fun! There are lots of different techniques and tools that you can use to create different patterns. Here is what paper marbling looks like:

Well, I had a flashback to that science fair project last night when my mom and I made some Marvelous Marbled Peppermint Bark. This was so much fun to make, and it turned out looking so beautiful. Most importantly, it is a delicious little holiday treat. And it was super easy and quick - the directions are just a little long here because I got so picture-happy!

Marvelous Marbled Peppermint Bark

10.5 ounces high-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped or grated
(I used Lindt Excellence 70% cocoa intense dark chocolate)
3 ounces high-quality white chocolate , finely chopped or grated
(I used Ghirardelli Sublime White Vanilla Dream squares)
4 candy canes or equivalent peppermint candies

Line a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside. Place the candy canes in a plastic bag, seal, and whack with something really hard, like a meat pounder, until they are crushed into small pieces.

Heat dark chocolate in a double boiler. I have a fancy one that my mom gave me (it even makes a little train whistle sound!), but you can also use a pot of simmering water with a glass bowl that fits over the top. Just make sure that the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. When chocolate is completely melted, spread it evenly over the prepared paper-lined pan.

In a clean and dry double boiler, melt the white chocolate until smooth.

Spoon the melted white chocolate over the dark chocolate. Then, drag the tip of a toothpick through the chocolate, snaking back and forth from the left side of the pan to the right side of the pan. Next, drag the tip of a toothpick, snaking back and forth from the far side of the pan to the near side of the pan. The resulting pattern will look pretty and marbled! Sprinkle the pieces of candy cane over the top, and push them lightly into the chocolate.

You can also swirl the chocolates in a random pattern, as I did with this batch. Either way ends up looking beautiful.

Place the tray of candy flat in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes, until very firm. Break into randomly-shaped pieces with your hands and enjoy! Keeps well in an air-tight container in the fridge for several days - if you can wait to eat it for that long!

I just love how it looks packed up in this Santa tin! This is the batch I made for my mom.

I also packaged a second batch for my co-workers as a little Christmas treat on our last day together before the holidays. They turned out pretty cute!

Sorry, I had waaayyy too much fun with the photos on this one!!!

Made by Lena