Yesterday we celebrated a handful of birthdays with my husband's family. I brought the dessert, an assortment of goodies instead of a cake, because I felt like baking lately. I rarely bake and keep the whole batch of whatever I made home for us to eat. We don't need that many sweets hanging around to tempt us. Our son's special requests (since one of the birthdays coming soon is his) were his favorite Triple Peanut Butter Cookies, and Vanilla Cookie Truffles.
I've made these cookie truffles in an assortment of flavors before. They're quite easy to make, and lend themselves to almost infinite variations. Here's the vanilla recipe:
Vanilla Cookie Truffles
1 pound of your favorite vanilla sandwich cookies (like Vanilla Oreos - they come in a 15 oz. package, close enough to a pound to make no difference, but inexpensive sandwich cookies work just as well)
8 oz. package (brick) of cream cheese (you can also use neufchatel cheese)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional - I like the extra punch of vanilla in them)
1 pound vanilla candy discs
non pareils or sprinkles (jimmies) for decoration
Let the cream cheese come to room temperature, or soften it slightly in the microwave. Crush the cookies in a food processor and put them in a large mixing bowl - they should be finely crushed, not chunky (think of the consistency of graham cracker crumbs). Mix the cream cheese and the cookies and the vanilla by hand, pressing and folding until you have a ball of stiff dough. Pull off small pieces of the dough and form 1" balls. Place the balls on a cookie sheet or cake pan and refrigerate for an hour or so. When the balls are chilled, you can melt the candy discs in a bowl in the microwave. Heat on high for 30 seconds and stir with a spatula. Heat again and mix, in 30 second increments, until the candy is smooth and creamy. Be careful not to overheat it (the candy can burn if you're not careful). Using two forks, roll a dough ball in the candy then set it on a cookie sheet. Immediately sprinkle it with the decorations (the candy will harden fast on the chilled balls; if you wait, the sprinkles won't stick). Repeat for all of the dough. Refrigerate the truffles until the shells have fully hardened (15 minutes or so), then store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container. They can also be frozen. Yield: approximately 3 dozen truffles.
I've made these truffles with several variations: using Nutter Butters in the dough, and coating the truffles with peanut butter candy, topping them with miniature Reese's Pieces; using chocolate-creme-filled Oreos and coating the truffles with dark chocolate and chocolate jimmies (shown here - very decadent); using regular Oreos and milk chocolate coating; and using ginger snaps and the white candy (with a bit of candied ginger on top). Any crunchy cookie would work. I'm sure Mint Oreos or regular Oreos with mint extract added would be wonderful - I plan to try that for the holidays this year. Cinnamon graham crackers would be tasty in the filling, too. Use your imagination, and have fun!