Dark Chocolate Spinach Cupcakes

Hi everyone and happy Monday! I’m back with the festive (somewhat) healthy valentines treat I told you about on Friday. I teamed up with my friend Lauren from Lauren Lives Healthy to bring you a recipe with a favorite green of mine (Spinach!). I will be sharing with you guys a healthy Chocolate cupcake recipe that I found on Pinterest, and she has a delicious post workout green smoothie for you guys. So after you read on here, go check her blog out for some smoothie inspiration! Now on to the recipe.

Dark Chocolate Spinach Cupcakes with Vanilla Chai Buttercream

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces (2 tablespoons) semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs (room temp.)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup spinach

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cupcake pan with cupcake liners. set aside.
Melt the butter and semisweet baking chocolate together in the microwave. Microwave for 30 second increments, stirring between each time. Mine took 90 seconds to melt.

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In a medium sized bowl, toss the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda. baking powder, and salt together until thoroughly combined. set aside.

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In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Add the butter/ chocolate mixture and combine until smooth.

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Add half of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk. Repeat until everything is added. Then add the spinach. Make sure to stir only until just combined, do not over mix. Also the batter will be very thick, almost like pudding.

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Divide the batter between the 12 cupcake liners in the pan. Bake for 18 minutes, let cool.
Frost with Chai Butter Cream.

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Incase any of you are wondering I got the cute little sugar LOVE letters at Target in the valentines candy section for $2!

Chai Buttercream Ingredients

  • 4 sticks unsalted butter melted
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 5 cups powdered sugar

Directions

Beat butter salt, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Add the cardamom (optional), cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg and mix until well combined.
Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating after each cup added.
Beat until light and fluffy.
Pipe onto cupcakes.
I hope you all enjoyed this recipe, and my collaboration with Lauren, don’t forget to go check out her smoothie recipe! Let me know  if you end up making the cupcakes and how you like them in the comments section. I love to hear from you guys 🙂
Don’t forget to come back on Friday for Things I’m Loving Friday as well.
Live Blissfully!
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Things I’m Loving Friday #27

Hello everyone and happy Friday! I could not be more excited that Friday is here. This week has been so crazy with the snow days, and catching up on school work that I’m excited to have some time for fun this weekend. Chris and I are planning on getting together with his bother and his brothers fiancé tonight, and snowmobiling tomorrow before the next storm comes through. If any of you guys live in New Hampshire, or even New England for that matter get your shovels out yet again cause another huge storm is coming through Sunday- Tuesday of this week. Luckily Chris’ family has snowmobiles so all of this snow is fun for atleast a little while!

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I found this quote on pinterest, and it reminded me of one of the things I’m loving this week. Creative, happy, generous people! its sad to say they are hard to find, but it’s true. It feels so great when you meet someone whose happiness is contagious. Today I was trying to pull out of a parking space and my car got stuck in a snowbank! A nice women saw I was struggling to get my car out, pulled over and offered me her shovel and to help push me out. When I thanked her for being so generous she replied with a no care attitude like her time spent helping me wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for her, and that she would have stayed there all afternoon to help me if we hadn’t figured it out. She was so sweet!

Chris Home From School

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Chris graduated this past weekend, and is finally home! Its obviously the number one thing i’m loving this week. It feels so great to have him here to make me laugh, and spend time together. It’s so funny because the things that i’m super excited about like eating breakfast together in the morning, and being able to relax and watch tv together after work or class, couples do together everyday, but because Chris has been at school and only home on breaks we haven’t been able to do that. I’m loving him being home…oh and it doesn’t hurt that he helps me clean off my snow covered car every morning! I’m the luckiest!

Baking

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A few weeks ago I contacted Lauren from laurenliveshealthy.com and we decided to do a collaboration together! We decided to take a healthy ingredient and do a recipe with it. Mine involves baking, because I’m obsessed with baking things from scratch, and since it is Valentines week it will be something festive. I can’t wait for our little collaboration on Monday! Now everyone go check out Lauren’s blog, and make it back here on monday for the recipe.

Marquee Letters

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Late last week I went into Michaels (if you guys don’t already know I’m obsessed with Michaels and could spend hours in their finding inspiration for different crafts) and found these Marquee letters that had me standing in the isle sprawling the letters out to find which combinations I wanted to buy. As you guys may have seen on my Things I’m Loving Friday #18 I found a marquee board that I loved and wanted to recreate, but didn’t really have any space for it to go. These individual letters are smaller, and can be decorated individually with sparkles, paint, or tape. Also a plus they are 50% off ending tomorrow, and Michaels is running a 40% off an individual item coupon! I may need to buy these asap.
I hope you all enjoyed this Things I’m Loving Friday post, and will be back on Monday for my collaboration with Lauren 🙂
Live Blissfully!
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Weekend Recap

Hello everyone and happy hump day! sorry that I’ve been MIA lately, but I took a little time off from blogging because of this past weekends celebration. On Friday Chris’ parents and I drove up to Middlebury to start off the fun filled graduation weekend, which took us five hours to get there instead of the usual three because of the intense snow! I’m not sure how much more snow New England can handle. Once all of Chris’ family arrived we gathered at a local restaurant to catch up over dinner. His family is so fun! we stayed up late with Chris’ brother and his fiance, and cousin chatting and making jokes into the early hours of the morning. 9 am came pretty early when we had to be at the chapel on campus for the graduation ceremony.
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The ceremony lasted about an hour and a half where Chris was presented with his graduation cane, and continued when we drove over to the colleges ski mountain, and watched all the graduates ski down the mountain in celebration. On Saturday morning in Middlebury it was  5 degrees, and -20 on the top of the mountain! it made for some freezing cold conditions, and didn’t allow me to get many pictures of him skiing down the mountain. My phone actually came up with a warning telling me it was too cold to even use it!

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After Chris skied down the mountain we braved the cold, and decided to continue skiing for the afternoon with my mom who had driven up for the graduation dinner. After we skied we went back to Chris’ apartment and got ready for the family dinner Chris’ mom had put together.

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During dinner Chris and I chatted with his family members, and a few toasts were given which you guys should know by now made me tear up and I couldn’t stop! I’m such a sap! I cry at commercials so thank goodness I wore waterproof mascara to this dinner :). After dinner there was much celebrating to be had so we moved the party over to the hotel Chris’ family was staying at, and played many games of cards until everyone was exhausted. The next morning was difficult getting out of bed to begin cleaning out Chris’s apartment. It took us a few hours and then we had to drive three hours home!

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After we had endlessly scrubbed and vacuumed, we stuffed the car full (yes that is stuff filled to the top of the car), and made our way home to NH! It was kind of sad leaving Middlebury for the last time, but exciting as well. I was sad to think the last four years of making friends,  and watching Chris play golf and hockey (being the ultimate fan haha) was over, but I am so excited about the future!

I hope you all had a great weekend, and will be back on Friday for the things I’m loving this week!

Live Blissfully!
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Mouthwatering Monday

Happy Monday everyone! I don’t know about any of you but I could not get out of bed today. Here in New Hampshire we got a snow storm on Saturday and ever since then I have only been wanting to curl up (in my fleece sheets) and watch endless movies. It looks like this won’t be getting any easier either because theres talk of another huge snowstorm coming on Wednesday…Thats January in New England for you :). Given this weather I have been longing for delicious hot foods to keep me warm, so that is where the inspiration for this Mouthwatering Monday recipe came from. I even went to the extent of getting Panera take out because I was in need of some soup!

Mouthwatering Monday Recipe

Homemade Pancakes

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Ingredients
  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 6 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 tbs. cooking oil
  • dash of vanilla
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients (flour,baking powder, sugar, salt).
  2. in a separate smaller bowl, mix together eggs, milk, and oil.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until moistened.
  4. Bake on a little below Medium heat, until pancakes begin to bubble (or until golden brown) on both sides.
  5. Enjoy with (my little trick) warmed up syrup with a slab of butter, and fruit!
OH and on a side note Chris’ Graduation present is finally finished! I love the way it came out. I would post a picture on here but I’m a little afraid he may look and I don’t want to spoil the surprise. I will add it into my Thing’s I’m Loving Friday post this week.
Oh and also Happy Birthday to my Mom! she’s the big 42 today… such an old lady haha 😉 Love you Mom
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Live Blissfully!

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Things I’m Loving Friday #26

Happy Friday! what is it about Friday’s that always get me so excited?? I think its because its an instant mood lifter because everyones just anticipating their fun weekend ahead! This weekend I will be spending it studying, because Wednesday of next week I will be taking the GRE’s, the test which determines my fate into graduate school ;). I may sneak in a little time to catch the new Blake Lively movie Age of Adeline, and most definitely some time to work on Chris’ Graduation present! Its taking me a lot longer than I expected, and his graduation is creeping up on me real quick…exactly one week! Everyone wish me luck with studying, and getting this present done in time! Now on to chat about the things i’m loving this week.

Pilates

This cracked me up when I saw it, and thought you would all get a laugh out of it as well! I’ve been working out pretty hard lately, and the one day when I did not want to go to the gym this cracked me up, and gave me the motivation to go! All you new years resolutioners out there KEEP IT UP! you can do it 🙂

Spinach Wraps

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This week when I was at the grocery store I was grabbing deli meat, and these wraps caught my eye! I’ve never been one to try spinach wraps because I thought they would taste kind of dry and cardboardish. These completely changed my mind, they’re soft and taste just like a normal white wrap. The downside is they only come 4 wraps to a bag, so I may need to find a cheaper version.

Girl Scout Cookies

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I mean come on look at that cookie! is there anything more delicious? I don’t think so! I have been a girl scout cookie fanatic for years, since the day my mom introduced me to a thin mint I was hooked! I may or may not have the girl scout cookie app on my phone so I can see where they are selling them at all times! NO JUDGEMENT! everyone has a sweet tooth and I just never hide me 🙂

Starbucks Cup

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I got this cup for Christmas from Chris’ mom, and have been using it ever since! The cool thing about it is that you can bring it into Starbucks with you and when you order your drink they will make it right into this cup, so you aren’t wasting the paper cups they give out! One of my “things I’m trying to do better in 2015” is be mindful! and recycling goes along with that…lets see how many times I can remember to bring this cup when I want a starbucks! (next to never) I’m kind of scatter brained at some times so this will be a hard thing for me.

Tulips

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When I was at the grocery store yesterday I walked by the flower section and could not resist these bright and beautiful tulips! I’m not really a pink loving person, but these were too cute to pass up. As you guys may have learned yesterday from my Instagram photo I was not having such a great day and these definitely did a great job of cheering me up.

AppleCare

So yesterday I was such a klutz and dropped my phone in the midst of taking an Instagram picture, and broke the whole entire screen! Coincidentally my phone dropped directly on a metal grate in the sidewalk, but luckily it did not fall through the holes! I don’t know what it is with me and iPhones I think they just hate me! When I had the iPhone 4 I dropped that twice and had to have the screen replaced, and then finally I made the smart move and bought the life proof case…what do you know one week later my whole entire screen broke inside the life proof case. Needless to say I was pretty annoyed about breaking my phone yesterday, but thankfully I purchased applecare, and that came in handy when I only had to pay $79 for them to send me a brand new phone! If anyone out there is hesitating on purchasing the Applecare please don’t! The people at Apple were so helpful, and sent me out a phone right away that will be here by tomorrow. Thank you Apple!

Page Views

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Ok I know this one might be silly, but I really am loving this this week. From time to time I check the page views of the blog, and normally they are around 200, which i’m happy with. I’m not a professional blogger, I really just do this for fun, and to write about the things that I love, but yesterday I checked, and my page views were up to 467! It makes me feel so great that people are actually reading, and viewing my blog, It makes it so much more fun when I know that people are coming back and viewing every Monday, and Friday. Thanks to everyone who made this something on my Things I’m Loving Friday list!
Live Blissfully!
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Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip

Fresh Spinach Artichoke Dip

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I found this recipe off Pinterest, on ThePinningMama.com I am so thankful for Pinterest because I have fallen in love with this womens’ website, and all the great recipes she has. My favorites are her copycat recipes like copycat Panera Tomato Basil soup, or her copycat Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies! DELICIOUS! I will for sure be using her website for Mouthwatering Monday’s to come!
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 Onion finely chopped
  • 12 oz Mozzarella Cheese Finely Grated
  • 6 oz Freshly grated Parmesean
  • 1 Can of Artichoke Heart, Drained and Diced
  • 10 oz Bag of Fresh Spinach Coarsely Chopped
  • 1 Bag of Pita Bread, or Tortilla Chips for serving
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 Degrees F.
2. In a large bowl mix the Mayo, Mustard, sour cream, and onion.
3. Add the cheeses, reserving about 1/8 of the cheese to cover the top, Mix.
4.Stir in the diced artichoke hearts.
5. Mix in the fresh spinach and stir well until the mixture is well combined and everything is evenly coated.
6. Scrape mixture (I would use a spatula) into large casserole dish and cover with remaining cheese.
7.Bake for 45-50 minutes, then if desired cook for additional 1-3 minutes on broil to brown the cheese.
8. Let sit for 15 minutes to set before serving.
9. ENJOY!

 

Live Blissfully!
xo,
Lauren


Things I’m Loving Friday #25

Good morning everyone! I hope you have had a great week, and are excited for the long weekend ahead. This week will consist of finishing up my graduate school application and visiting Chris at school. My Spring semester starts on Tuesday, so I will be getting all organized for that too! Now onto the things i’m loving this week!

friday sparkle

Hint Sparkling Water

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In a past things I’m loving Friday post I told you guys about the Hint water that I was loving. This week at the grocery store I found out that Hint came out with sparkling water too! I am a serious lover of sparkling water, and this water is on another level. It tastes like regular soda water, but then at the end you can taste a little sweetness. I dislike soda, or other artificially flavored waters because I think they’re too sweet. This one is the perfect amount of sweetness, and doesn’t make you feel bad like you’re drinking lots of sugar when you drink it. I’m in love. I’ve had the blackberry flavor, and the grapefruit and I love both. I can’t wait to try the other flavors.
Ski Day

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This past weekend Chris and I went skiing at his colleges ski mountain, and it was so much fun. I had never skied there before which is crazy considering he has been there for four years! And there have been many ski days during the winter for us to go! The mountain is little but perfect.
Kayla Itsines Workouts

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As you guys may have seen on Instagram I’ve just started doing Kayla Itsines workouts, and have fallen in love with them. They’re three days of circuit workouts, and two days of low intensity cardio. The workouts are hardcore, they seriously get my heart rate up and make me sweat. I have been borrowing the workout from a friend to test it out, and think I will be purchasing them this week.
Eating Healthy

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While doing this Kayla Itsines workout it has made me so much more conscious of the food that i’m eating, and I have been really trying to eat healthier, as well as be in control of my portions. I feel like I’m always eating more than I need, and stuffing myself until I’m too full. It makes me feel so much better when I eat the correct portions, and am conscious of what healthy foods I am eating.
Live Blissfully!
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No Bake Granola Bars

No Bake Granola Bar

 Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (or almond butter)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans)
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit (goji berries)
Directions
1. Microwave nut butter and honey until warm, approximately 30 seconds. Stir together.
2. Stir oatmeal into the nut butter and honey mixture.
3. Add coconut, dried fruit, and chopped pecans. Stir in the ground flax seed.
4.Press the mixture into a pan sprayed with cooking spray. Freeze for 45 minutes.
5. Cut into bars and enjoy! Store remaining bars in the refrigerator.

I can’t wait to try these with some of my favorites like Craisins, almonds, and dark chocolate bits! or peanuts, pretzels, and dark chocolate bits! There are so many combinations that can be made thats why I love this recipe, it really turns into many different recipes.
xo,

Lauren


Things I’m Loving Friday #24

Its the first Things I’m Loving Friday post of 2015! I hope your new year is off to an amazing start. Hopefully you are in full recovery from New Years Eve festivities, and are ready and motivated to take on any 2015 goals and resolutions! Heres to a fulfilling and happy 2015!
Now lets get into the things that i’ve been loving this week. I would love any comments or feedback on what you guys have been loving this week, it makes me so happy to hear about your lives and read some nice comments.

new year 2015

New Years Eve Celebration

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new years friends

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This is the first year that Chris and I have celebrated New Years Eve out at a bar instead of at one of our friends house parties. This year we wanted to get together a large group of our friends, but had no where to do a fun festive house party so we decided on going out. It was crazy how many people were out, we waiting in line for probably 45 minutes to even get into the bar we wanted to go to.(in 20 degree weather). Needless to say it was so much fun, but I think we will be sticking to house parties from now on…its just so expensive every drink is so pricey and there’s a cover charge just to get in the front door. Besides waiting in the long line, and it being pretty expensive it was super fun seeing old friends, and meeting new ones as well.

Delicious Homemade Breakfast

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I’m a huge breakfast fan! If I could eat it for every meal of the day I would! I love everything from egg sandwiches to waffles, to omelets oh and don’t forget the bacon! So naturally when Chris and I and our friends went out the night before I had to make a delicious breakfast of french toast eggs and bacon the next morning 🙂 There seriously is nothing better than real maple syrup. If you guys follow me on Instagram you would have already seen this mouthwatering picture.
Fujifilm Instax Camera

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I was looking through my Instagram feed the other day and came across one of the people I follow using this camera. It is a camera that instantly prints out polaroid pictures after you take the photo. I have become obsessed with the look of polaroids and need the camera ASAP! Luckily its only $79 on Amazon! This camera reminds me of those long rectangular cameras from the early 2000’s that would instantly print you out a picture in strip form. IDK if any of you remember them but I just found it the IZONE!! I took so many pictures with this thing haha!

New Winter Hat

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This picture isn’t all that great of my new hat, but its the only one I have wearing it! My mom and I went Christmas shopping around Thanksgiving and I fell in love with the super cute hat. I Found it at Aerie and couldn’t take it off. Its grey woven cotton, with a huge purple ball on the end, and its super floppy. It keeps me so warm and is definitely cute on so thats a plus!
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the things I’m loving this week, and will let me know about some things you are loving in the comment section!

Live Blissfully!

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Snowman Oreo Truffles

Snowman Oreo Truffles

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Ingredients

  • 1 package of Oreo cookies (finely crushed)
  • 1 8 oz block of cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 12 oz packages of white chocolate chips
  • 2 small containers of mini individual oreo cookies
  • decorations: decorative icing (colors orange, blue, and black)

Directions

First I started by crushing the Oreos. A food processor would be ideal to crush them, but I didn’t have one so I resorted to a makeshift plastic bag, with plastic wrap. I laid one down on the counter, put the oreos on top of it, and then sealed them in with another piece on top.

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After the Oreo’s were crushed, I put them in a large bowl, with the softened cream cheese, and mixed them until well blended.
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After this I stuck the blended oreo cream cheese mixture in the freezer for 20 minutes to harden before molding into 1 inch balls. This was a step that was not in the original recipe, but the cream cheese oreo mixture was too soft, to roll into balls right after mixing it, and it kept sticking to my hands, so I hardened it for a while.

 

 After the dough was hardened I rolled the balls in 1 inch balls, and placed them on a cookie sheet, covered with parchment paper.

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This dough made 40 Oreo balls, that I then froze for another 20 minutes. After that I warmed the white chocolate chips for a minute and a half, and dunked the oreo balls in the white chocolate.

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This is the final product of all the Oreo balls covered in white chocolate, I then put them in the Freezer for one hour.

chocolate covered oreos

Last but not least decorate your snowmen! To get the mini Oreo to stick to the top, as a hat, I put a dot of white chocolate on top, and then placed the mini oreo on top of that and let it harden. An easier way would have been to place the mini oreo on top, right after you rolled the Oreo ball in the white chocolate.

Enjoy your Oreo Truffles!

 

Live Blissfully!
xo,

Lauren


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