Chocolate Peppermint Truffles

It's our yearly winter tradition to make chocolate truffles. We've experimented with different flavors over the years, but our hands-down favorite is peppermint!

Peppermint Chocolate Truffles

1 8-oz.(eight ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar,
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1 1/2 tsp. pure peppermint extract (or extract of your choice, such as vanilla, orange, almond)
Crushed peppermints for rolling, optional

1. Beat cream cheese until smooth in a large bowl. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until well blended.
2. Stir in melted chocolate until no streaks remain. Mix in peppermint extract. Refrigerate for about 1 hour. Shape into 1-inch balls and roll in crushed peppermints. Store in parchment-lined candy tins in a cool place. Makes about 60 truffles.

The Granola Recipe

Ashlei requested the recipe for the granola, so here it is for her and anyone else who might like to mix up a batch for themselves. :-)

Vanilla Almond Spice Granola

4 cups uncooked oatmeal
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup honey
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins

Mix oatmeal and cinnamon. Add honey and vanilla and mix until oatmeal is evenly coated. Stir in almonds and sunflower seeds. Spread in a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350ºF for about 10 minutes; stir, and then back another 5-10 minutes. You want the oats to get a nice toasty color but not get burnt (though I've burned it before and it doesn't taste THAT bad :-). Remove the granola from the oven and let cool. Stir in the raisins and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. (We usually eat it up fast enough to just keep it on the shelf, but it will probably last longer if you refrigerate it).

Cinnamon Rolls

We made these wonderful cinnamon rolls with some friends yesterday... they were to die for!

If you are not drooling, you may want to go to the doctor... there might be something wrong with you. :-)

EDIT: I've received a request for the recipe, so here it is! We made all the separate elements (dough, filling and glaze) the night before and then put them together in the morning.

To-Die-For Cinnamon Rolls

2 pkg. Yeast
1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
2/3 cup sugar + 1 teaspoon of sugar
1 cup warm milk
2/3 cup melted butter
2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
7 cups flour

1 cup melted butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons cinnamon
1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped

Cream Cheese Glaze:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoon butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoon milk
4 cups confectioners' sugar

For Filling:
Mix all ingredients together. If making ahead of time, refrigerate until needed and then melt before using.
For Glaze:
Mix all ingredients except sugar. Stir in sugar until smooth. If making ahead, refrigerate until needed and let soften before using (you can microwave it gently if you want).
For Dough
Place warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in a bowl. Let sit so it will get foamy.
In a mixer, mix milk, 2/3 cup sugar, melted butter, and salt. And eggs; stir well. Add yeast mixture. Then add ½ of the flour and mix till smooth. Stir in enough flour to create smooth but slightly sticky dough. Knead. *If you are making this the night before, place in a bowl at this point, cover and refrigerate. Punch the dough down if it rises to the top of the bowl. The next morning continue as follows.* Put dough onto a lightly floured counter and roll dough into a large rectangle. Filling on top and spread evenly. Roll jelly roll style, lengthwise, and cut in to 15 pieces (we got 16 out of this).
Place rolls in two 9x13 pans. Let rise 45 minutes (omit the rising if you followed the instructions for making the night before). Bake for 25 minutes, more or less, until golden brown. Spread with glaze. Enjoy!

Original recipe from Cross Country Bakers.