I am good at A LOT of things. I read extremely quickly. I provide excellent empathetic listening when necessary. I accessorize more than adequately. I can balance a balance sheet and value an investment portfolio with the best of them. Domestic "stuff," however, emphatically does not make the list of "Things Liz Has Managed to Master in Her 24+ Years on This Planet."
Case in point: I woke up yesterday feeling a festive tingle in my toes, which was more than added to by the masses of people joining my OMGCHRISTMAS bandwagon in the socially acceptable, post-Thanksgiving rush. I was running out of outlets to express my holiday spirit, though. Christmas carols? Been blasting them since Halloween. Tree? Decorated to the nines. Presents? Purchased and already wrapped beneath said tree. Stockings? Hung by the (improvised, imaginary, bookshelf-turned) chimney with utmost care. What's a Christmas queen to do?
I immediately hit up the Mecca of Christmas cheer, my favorite digital recipe box, Pinterest…and was riveted by the bajillions of sweet, food-colored, red-and-green, candy-cane-covered options already pinned to my Christmas board. I perused, carefully selected six (with Jon's major sweet-tooth input, of course) and got all ambitious and excited.
Then I went to bed, slept like crap, woke up and felt like kicking ass at the gym/online shopping/watching Colin Firth movies instead of baking. Around 2, I finally dragged my unmotivated little self to the Lund's down the road and filled my shopping basket with supplies for three of my six planned recipes: peanut blossoms (my favorite holiday standard), Oreo balls, and white-chocolate-covered pretzels.
I got home and decided to tackle the Oreo balls first, because, let's be real. They have two ingredients, and the recipe involved three steps. Plus I remember them being addictively good from Christmases past. I rolled up my sleeves, opened the Double Stufs, and got ready to go.
Um...let's just say I failed, in about every way it is possible to fail, and given I'm STILL not done with the damn things, I may well continue to fail well into tomorrow. What went wrong, you may ask?
Well, for starters, it turns out it's fairly difficult to make Oreo balls properly with Double Stuf Oreos. And I was talked into Double Stuf Oreos at the Lund's (by a very sick and delirious Michael, who clearly should not have been trusted). In trying to mash the Oreos enough for the balls, I was largely unsuccessful because the damn things kept getting stuck to the gallon bag, then to the sides of the bowl, by their double-helping of Oreo cream filling. Eventually, after the intervention of an ice cream scoop and two forks, I had what I thought was an adequate mash.
The next step, campers, is to mix in the cream cheese, in brick form. The problem here, however, is that the cream cheese was meant to be softened…which was clearly specified in the recipe. And had I not been a hot, agitated mess after my crushing escapades, I would have noticed that critical adjective. Instead, I had a grand adventure with hard, chilly cream cheese and Oreos that, it turns out, weren't adequately crumby enough. Fortunately, this particular problem was easily remedied with the aid of a microwave and the highest setting on my hand mixer.
I balled those little buggers up with few problems, popped them in the fridge to chill, and started the other major step: melting the white chocolate almond bark to dunk them in. Now, according to the pin I found on Pinterest, these guys would be the cutest little things ever if I had red and green dip. So I purchased red and green food coloring to mix into the almond bark. And I started melting the almond bark, EVER so carefully, because the packaging clearly cautioned against letting the stuff scorch or burn. After it got sort of creamy, I added some red food coloring, thinking it would help liquify it even more and get it all ready for dunking.
Not the case.
Turned out that, although the packaging of the bark was oh-so-clear on the scorchability of the bark, it wasn't so obvious what any sort of liquid would do to it. Which is turn it into a chocolatey glob with the consistency of Play-Doh and the stench of burned sugar. I literally made a small, red snowman out of my first batch of almond bark…staining my hands a fancy shade of scarlet in the process (literally caught red-handed). The second batch just wouldn't get melty enough. After nuking it for like three minutes, stirring every ten seconds, I called my mom, fuming, and swore I would never bake anything involving god-damned almond bark ever again. She talked me off the ledge and I started to try to dunk the Oreo balls, which I thought were probably chilled enough.
Not so much.
The damn things were either not chilled enough, or the almond bark was too hot, and the balls started to liquify and melt into the bark…turning my pristine, pretty white dip into a gritty, gray, Oreo-polluted mess. At this point, I had about a dozen dipped, and Jon would be home any minute. Wanting to spare him the scene of a very frustrated, not-at-all domestically-blissed-out girlfriend going insane over a bowl of melted chocolate, I threw in the towel. There are 30 more un-dipped balls waiting to be dealt with…which are spending the night in our freezer in the hopes that they'll be solid enough to survive a dunking tomorrow morning.
Guys, let's just say these balls killed any desire I have to celebrate Christmas in a gustatory fashion. Next year, I'm recommending that Santa replace lumps of coal with this recipe.
If you'd like to take your own stab at these demon desserts, check out the recipe here. Updates to come soon…here's hoping that Tuesday brings success where Monday just brought a culinary catastrophe!