Ellen Clifford
August 02, 2014 1:31 pm

Kids’ cookbooks are friggin‘ delightful these days. The kids are getting pretty sophisticated and can handle real recipes that are more than just assemblage. And by “assemblage” I mean Step one: Spread peanut butter on bread. Step two: eat. These days the kids’ recipes are real, just slightly less involved than, say, Step One: Forage wild mushrooms.

So what’s the difference between a kids book like Custom Confections, by Jen Besel, and a regular ol’ cookbook? For starters, the recipes don’t involve treacherous things like lighting up the stove. For second-ers, it is written in a soothing way, full of reminders like “Don’t Worry” and “Any food is more fun when it’s on a stick!” Truth, right there. For third-ers, the recipes include things we wish we weren’t “too old” to eat. The subtitle to Custom Confections by Jen Besel is “Delicious Desserts You Can Create and Enjoy.” As opposed to being treats you take to show off to your friends at a potluck that never get eaten because of gluten or whatever.

The recipes in Custom Confections, the follow-up to Dessert Designer, range from super-simple things like pretzels dipped in chocolate, to fancy cakes decorated with sugared flowers. Yes, it is a kids’ book sophisticated enough to include sugaring flowers and even a simplified fondant. Fondant is major leagues cooking, but somehow this book is making me believe that I too can create these things because if kids can, then, well. . .

All the recipes in Custom Confections are pretty and photo-worthy, and they should be. In the book’s list of things you’ll need as a baker, “edible sugar” is included. Kitchen necessity if ever I heard one. I keep mine stocked and ready to go, in case of delicious emergencies.

The truth of it all? The doggone honest to crayons truth is this: the only thing I really desire in life is an excuse to eat cookie dough. So of all the delights in this book, the recipe I am sharing is the one for cookie dough truffles.

Cookie Dough Truffles adapted from Custom Confections by Jen Besel

For the insides:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, just slightly softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-4 Tbsp. milk (I used almond milk. The original recipe says 3-4 Tbsp. but I needed less than 3)
  • 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli bittersweet although the recipe calls for mini chips)

For the outside:

  • candy coating (look for it in the baking aisle), melted (I actually just melted down yet more chocolate chips)
  • whatever you want to decorate with: nuts, more chocolate, sprinkles, maybe even glitter?

Mix together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Thoroughly mix in the vanilla and flour. Add the milk, teaspoon-by-teaspoon until a dough you can shape forms. Fold in chocolate chips. If it seems too soft to roll into balls at this point, put the dough in the fridge for a bit to firm up. Roll it into balls, about an inch, and put on a baking sheet lined with parchment. I imagine foil would be fine too. I put the truffles into the freezer for about 15 minutes at this point.

Melt the coating or more chocolate chips. My method of melting was to microwave at 50% power for a minute or so. Plop your truffles into the coating, roll to coat, then use a fork to lift them out and put them back on the baking sheet. Add any other topping you like at this point to decorate. You can store these in the fridge or the freezer.

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