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I whipped up a quick no-cook fudge made out of three simple ingredients – vanilla frosting, white chocolate chips, and mini peanut butter crackers.

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The end result is a rich and sweet, mouth melting fudge with a lightly sandy/powdery quality that reminds me of fudge I’ve had in the past. The peanut butter crackers add a salty contrast to the sweet fudge.

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Although I used storebought frosting, I imagine you could amp it up by using homemade frosting. I also think the recipe could be infinitely modified by either swapping out the flavors of the frosting, the chocolate, or the crunchy filling.

Examples

  • Vanilla frosting + white chocolate + couple drops of peppermint oil + Oreos = Grasshopper fudge
  • Cream cheese frosting + milk chocolate + graham crackers = Chocolate cheesecake fudge
  • Vanilla frosting + white chocolate + matcha powder + Oreos = matcha Oreo fudge

Since the ingredients are so few, the quality of each will really impact the outcome of the fudge – so choose your ingredients wisely.

Pro tip: If you have trouble smoothing out the top of your fudge, lay a sheet of cling wrap over it and flatten it with your hands like so. Mess-free and easy-peasy!

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Sweet and Salty White Chocolate Peanut Butter Crackers Fudge
Makes a 9×9 inch pan
From Cookies and Cups

1 can (16 oz) of vanilla frosting
12 oz of white chocolate chips
2 cups (6 oz) of mini peanut butter crackers (e.g. Ritz)

  1. Grease or spray lightly a 9×9 or 8×8 pan, depending on the thickness you desire for your fudge
  2. Melt your chips in a double boiler or the microwave.
  3. As soon as they are melted, stir in your entire can of frosting.
  4. Fold in your crackers.
  5. Spread into prepared pan and chill for 30 minutes.
  6. When firm, cut

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This is the third oatmeal cranberry white chocolate cookie recipe I’ve posted on my blog, the others being Cooks’ Illustrated and Serious Eats, and I think this one is one of the more successful ones. (Got my coworkers’ stamp of approval!) I usually have little faith in corporate recipes and I don’t believe them to be as rigorously tested as other baking blogs, but I decided to give this one a shot because it had a surprisingly low sugar-to-cookie ratio and it also looked really easy.

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And it turned out great! I loved that it wasn’t too sweet, and it felt almost healthful in certain bites. I feel like most cookie recipes tend to be overly sweet, and I usually have no problems reducing sugar by 1/4 cup or so to no ill effect. The other perk of this recipe is that it bakes at a slightly higher temperature of 375F than the standard 350F, so it didn’t spread out too much, had a crisp edge but still retained a chewy center.

Since it is an Ocean Spray recipe, I found that the 5 oz portion of cranberries that was listed was excessive and I only used about 3 oz, or until the cookie dough looked sufficiently studded with cranberries.

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Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from Ocean Spray
Makes approximately 40 two-bite sized cookies

2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 oz dried cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

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As my foray into gluten-free baking continues, I have been pushing the boundaries slowly. I’m not going to be making gluten-free bread or cake anytime soon – basically anything that contains flour as its main component will be tricky to perfect with gluten-free flours. I thought that an oatmeal cookie would be a decent compromise, since the oats take up considerable bulk in the cookie. I took a popular oatmeal cookie from Allrecipes and used a homemade gluten-free flour blend from the Celiac Support Organization website, specifically Carol Fenster’s General Baking Mix #1. I picked that recipe for its simplicity, and because I already had tapoica starch lying around.

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Then came the actual baking. These cookies are actually my second attempt. My first attempt came out overly spread out and lacy, and all the cookies merged into a giant lattice of baked cookie dough. It was still tasty, but it was more of a crisp and thin variety than soft and thick. Gluten-free flours without any additives generally don’t create structurally sound baked goods because the gluten protein provides a great deal of stability to a finished product. My hack was to then freeze the cookies so that they are less inclined to spread out. I then freezed the dough after shaping it into balls, and baked it at a higher temperature at a shorter duration. That worked wonderfully, and gave me cookies with a soft, almost cakey texture with a crisp caramelized rim.

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Soft Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies (Gluten-Free)
Makes 3 dozen cookies
Adapted from Allrecipes

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup gluten-free flour (recipe follows)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup white chocolate chips (I eyeballed it – add to your heart’s desire!)

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in egg, then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats. Roll the dough into teaspoon sized balls, and freeze till hard.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Place cookie balls 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet until completely cool.

Gluten-Free Flour Mix
Makes 1 cup
From Carol Fenster

1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 tbsps tapioca starch/flour

Blend all flours till combined. These flours are very light, so take care to avoid coating your counter in white powder. Potato starch is also different from potato flour – be cautious in your purchase.

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Trifles are one of my favorite desserts to construct. This is why:

1. It’s no-bake and thus super quick to assemble.
2. You can even use all store-bought, ready-made ingredients to assemble your trifle.
3. If your layer cake fails, turn it into a trifled “deconstructed” dessert.

This chocolate cake trifle was borne out of the third reason. I had made a chocolate whiskey cake, only I tweaked the recipe to double the amount of whiskey to 1 cup, and omitted the coffee chocolate chips. If I found the original recipe a tad too sweet, this new incarnation was excessively alcoholic. I legitimately felt tipsy after a slice, and would mostly eat it with a scoop of ice cream to offset the dryness and high alcoholic content.

The poor cake languished in my freezer for a while, until I chanced upon this chocolate sauce recipe. I loved that it didn’t contain any ingredient that couldn’t exist outside the refrigerator, which would imply that it’d have an extended shelf life much like a commercial chocolate sauce. I made a batch of it, and I saw it as the perfect solution to my dry and un-sweet chocolate cake. Then I had another great idea. I had some heavy cream left over from the Sachertorte. What if added a bunch of whipped cream to it and made it a trifle?

I made short work of it, both in making and eating it. I added some white chocolate chips for textural contrast and added sweetness. It ended up being a high whipped cream to cake ratio, which meant that the flavors ended up balancing out perfectly.

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Chocolate Whiskey Trifle
This is not so much a recipe as guidelines for freewheeling creativity. Go wild!

An amount of chocolate cake – I used this chocolate whiskey cake recipe
Chocolate sauce – homemade from this Allrecipes recipe, or store-bought is fine
1 cup of heavy cream
Granulated sugar to taste
White chocolate chips

1. Start whipping heavy cream on high with a mixer (or laboriously by hand if you don’t have a mixer – it is possible, just tiring) and add granulated sugar to taste.
2. Crumble chocolate cake into a container – ideally glass, so everyone can see the strata that make up your trifle. Spoon some whipped cream into it and even out. Squirt a bunch of chocolate sauce on to it. Sprinkle a handful of chocolate chips.
3. Repeat until a limiting factor presents itself – for me, the whipped cream ran out first.
4. Let sit for an hour so the cake moistens from the sauces and whipped cream. If you’re not patient enough, go ahead and eat it right there and then anyway.

IMG_4002This may look like a nondescript oatmeal white chocolate chip cookie. But little did you know that when you bite into it, there would be unexpected warmth and spice from the candied ginger chunks that cuts the sweetness of the white chocolate a little bit. What I like best about these cookies is how it is reminiscent of the winter holidays. The flavors are definitely very seasonal, and somehow the combination of oats, ginger, white chocolate and honey just feel like a warm, comforting embrace.

Which explains why I have eaten so many. Nom nom noms.

Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate and Candied Ginger Chunks
Adapted from Epicurious
Makes about 50 cookies

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour (It’s okay to use all-purpose flour although I suspect whole wheat can add a nutty, earthy, wholesome flavor)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups (packed) brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 ounces white chocolate chips
1 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped

Preheat to 375°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In medium bowl, combine oats, all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

Using electric mixer at high speed, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg, honey, and vanilla and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Add oat mixture and mix at low speed just until incorporated. Stir in white chocolate chocolate and ginger. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes or until slightly stiffer. In the interest of time optimization, I recommend doing the dishes now.

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough about 2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake until golden and slightly crisp on edges, about 14 to 16 minutes. Cool on sheets 3 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

I went to the new Maison Kayser on the Upper East Side, and I was pretty inspired by the pistachio white chocolate chip cookie they had. It was chewy and soft, so soft that it couldn’t stay whole. It had a slight lemon fragrance, which I thought added interest to the cookie.

I searched for a recipe online, and adapted one by replacing the vanilla essence with lemon essence. I also liked that this recipe used oats to add chewiness – I’m personally really fond of oats in cookies, and it’s less caloric too. I used whole wheat flour in place of plain flour without any problems. This is a really easy recipe. I recommend using good quality white chocolate.

It was rather therapeutic de-shelling these pistachios while watching a movie.

Pistachio White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 6 dozen
Adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients

1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of dark brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of milk (I used water instead of milk)
2 teaspoons of lemon extract
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of kosher salt (regular salt will suffice)
1 cup of rolled oats
1 1/2 cups of coarsely chopped pistachios, raw and unsalted
1 1/2 cups of white chocolate chips

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cream the butter and sugars together on high speed for three minutes.

2 Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and beat for 3 minutes, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

3 In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and rolled oats. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture slowly, being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl once or twice to ensure even mixing.

4 Fold in the pistachios and white chocolate chips. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheets, add an extra pistachio or two on top of each bit of dough for decoration if desired.

5 Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to set up on the cookie sheets before moving to a baking rack to cool completely.

This is not the first time I made these cookies, and every single time, they turn out wonderfully. Honestly, white chocolate is probably my favorite chocolate in cookies. Sometimes, regular semi-sweet chocolate has a slight hint of bitterness that I don’t prefer in my sweet indulgence. Also, I love white chocolate with cranberries in my cookies – and this is another fantastic, tried-and-true recipe.

Also, I almost never have the time to bake during the day, seeing how I’m busy with work and school throughout the week and during the weekends I’m busy out and about with some errand or another. Baking for me is very much a therapeutic indulgence: something I do in the middle of the night when I am absolutely sick and tired of studying. And because of the unusual free time I had on my hands, you have a wonderful picture of my cookies basking in natural light. I stood in my pathetic excuse of a balcony to get these pictures.

The original recipe called for 14 tablespoons, but I recommend reducing it by two tablespoons. Based on the original recipe, my cookies spread too much – I quelled my frustration by chewing on the admittedly delicious but ugly cookie scraps. Also, texture-wise, these are a good balance between chewy and crisp – but I’m sure if you played around with baking times you could alter these texturally. I didn’t have sea salt so I didn’t use it, but I’m sure they would only improve the cookies.

Crispy Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 24 cookies, about 2.5-3 inches wide, depending

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
6 ounces good-quality white chocolate bar, chopped

1/2 teapoon flaky sea salt (like Maldon or fleur de sel) (for sprinkling on top)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and table salt in a medium bowl.

2. Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then add egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down bowl again. Add flour mixture gradually and mix until just incorporated and smooth. Gradually add oats and white chocolate and mix until well incorporated.

3. Divide dough into 24 equal portions, each about 2 tablespoons. Roll between palms into balls, then place on lined baking sheets about 2 1/2 inches apart. Using fingertips, gently press down each ball to about 3/4-inch thickness. (I highly recommend refrigerating the dough for half an hour or so or putting it in the freezer if you’re feeling less patient in order to avoid spreading.)

4. Sprinkle a flake or two of sea salt on each cookie.

5. Bake until cookies are deep golden brown, about 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack to cool.