Grand Marnier Chocolate Covered Cherries

I haven’t been sleeping lately. I’ve always been a solid 8- to 9-hour sleeper. I chalk it up to too many thoughts and anxiety around one situation. So I’ve been asked what am I doing at the wee hour of 3 a.m.? Well, here’s what I’ve been up to.

1. Zoning out on Pinterest.
2. Writing One Line a Day.
3. Staring at the pile of Christmas presents that need to be wrapped, wishing them to wrap themselves.
4. Drinking wine, pretending my wine rack is an Advent calendar.
5. Praying, praying and more praying.
6. Midnight cleaning sprees, including the stove, microwave and refrigerator.
7. Painting my nails in glitter.
8. Watching mindless reality shows.
9. Midnight grocery shopping trips – no one is there!
10. Speed reading through every book in my Kindle queue.
11. Laying in bed, staring at the dark, counting down until the alarm will ring.
12. Making these chocolate covered cherries.

Grand Marnier Chocolate Covered Cherries

Grand Marnier Chocolate Covered Cherries

2 jars maraschino cherries, drained (about 4 1/2 dozen)
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
2 bags milk chocolate chips
1 bag dark or white chocolate chips

Start by draining the cherries and placing in a shallow dish. Pour Grand Marnier over cherries to marinate overnight or longer – depends on how boozy you want your cherries!

Remove cherries from Grand Marnier and place on a baking pan lined with foil. Freeze for at least an hour.

Start by mixing 2 cups powdered sugar, margarine, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and salt. Knead into a dough-like mixture. If sticky, gradually add remaining 1 cup of powdered sugar. Cover and refrigerate until firm for at least an hour.

Begin by taking approximately 1 teaspoon of the sugar mixture, rolling into a ball and flattening it in the palm of your hand to the size of a silver dollar. Wrap the sugar mixture around your cherry to form a ball. Place back on the cold baking pan you removed from the freezer. Once all cherries are wrapped, refreeze for at least 30 minutes.

In a double boiler, gradually melt milk chocolate chips. When melted, dip frozen cherries in chocolate to coat and return to baking pan. Refrigerate until cooled and solid.

In a double boiler, melt dark or white chocolate chips and drizzle over chocolate covered cherries. Refrigerate (one last time!) until cooled and solid. Store in an air tight container in a cool place up to one month. Cherries are best served after two weeks once the juices have had time to set.

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Decadent Homemade Oreos

Thanks to a re-post last month from My First Kitchen, I found this recipe for homemade Oreos made by Smitten Kitchen.

I was never a die-hard Oreo fan growing up as a kid. They were just a little too hard of a cookie and not enough cream. You also have to eat at least 10 of them to feel fully satisfied. These are decadent enough you only need one… that is, if you can finish one. While the cookies come out of the oven soft, they do harden slightly while cooling like an Oreo, and you can put as much cream in between as you want!

And if you feed these to small children, be prepared for them to be covered in chocolate! I found this out when I made them for a 2-year-old birthday party this past weekend.

Note: I’ve been doubling this recipe and have been consistently making about 20 Oreos (40 cookies total to “sandwich”).

Homemade Oreos

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 egg

Cream Filling

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and sugar.  Now add the butter and egg, and mix until it’s combined. The mixture will come together as a dough, but the texture is a bit coarse.

Use a food scoop (or a tablespoon measuring spoon), and scoop the dough on to a cookie sheet. You’re looking for no bigger than golf ball size. Lightly wet your hand or a glass with a flat bottom and gently press down on the dough balls until they’re a bit flat.

Bake the cookies for 9 minutes. Let them cool on a rack.

For the filling, just mix the butter, shortening, and vanilla until combined and then gradually add the powdered sugar. You can use the same food scoop to scoop the filling on half the cookies, or you can put the filling in a plastic bag, cut off the tip, and pipe the cream filling out.