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December 9, 2020

Book and Cookies - Review of The Hollow Places and Recipe for Oreo Truffles

by Alison DeLuca


If you've read my other reviews, you'll predict my Christmas reads will include ghosts. There is a reason that The Christmas Carol was always my favorite December read, and that reason was not Bob Cratchit. 
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I'm all about the ghosts.

Last year I read The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher. It was a decent book, funny and human with a fascinating plot device: a girl (Mouse) goes to clear out her grandmother's house at the request of her dad. There she encounters a terrifying mystery in the hoarder's hell left behind by the old woman. 

It was a good book, filled with excitement and humor. However, for me the ending fell flat.

So when I saw The Hollow Places (also by T. Kingfisher) I bought it right away. HP offers the same kind of plot device: After a contentious divorce, Carrot goes to live with her uncle in his crowded taxidermy museum and discovers a portal to endless worlds in a willow wood. With Simon, the barista from next door, Carrot crawls through a hole in the wall into a strange place filled with willow trees, a strange boatman, and... something else. 


cover of The Hollow Places showing a floating tree



As I said, I was slightly disappointed by The Twisted Ones. No such disappointment here - The Hollow Places crept under my skin and didn't let go. Kingfisher (who also writes as Ursula Vernon) serves up her exotic take on ghost stories with humor and humanity, making me care deeply about Carrot and Simon - who has one fascinating ability. Let's just say it involves his twin, who didn't survive the womb.

Buy The Hollow Places at Amazon

***

But it's the holidays in the middle of a very strange year, and we need a palate-cleanser with our scary story. 

Nothing succeeds better than sugar, more specifically chocolate.

In the past I've sweated over rolled cookies, making the mix and cutting and decorating to produce rows of stars and trees and snowmen. Then I discovered a three-ingredient cookie, the Oreo Truffle. Did I mention - no baking required? 

ZERO oven time.

Needless to say my rolled cookies went ignored, eventually to end in the bin, while my family chowed down the Oreo truffles I whipped up in 48 hours. That's right - two dozen truffles gone. 


picture of oreo truffles covered in chocolate
But can you blame them? (picture mine.)


Lesson learned! This year I'll avoid the rolled cookies and stick with those truffles. And here, just for you, is the recipe:

Oreo Truffles

1 regular pack of Oreo cookies
1 8-oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
1 package of chocolate melts or chocolate chips

Crush the cookies in a food processor. You can also put them in a plastic bag and bash away with a rolling pin, which is cathartic.

Reserve a few tablespoons of crumbs for decoration, if desired. 

Stir the crumbs into the cream cheese with a large spoon. The mixture should be somewhat stiff but workable. If you have a problem stirring, set aside until the cream cheese softens a bit more. 

Line a cookie tray with parchment or wax paper. Spoon up the mixture into balls with a cookie scoop and place on the tray. Depending on the size of the truffles, you should get at least two dozen. 

Freeze the truffles for at least an hour. Meanwhile, prep your chocolate - put your melts (* you can also use chocolate. Ghirardelli semi-sweet and milk chocolate 1/2 and 1/2 is a great mixture, but of course melts are easier to use. If you do go with chocolate, you can add a tablespoon of Crisco to make dunking easier.)

Microwave the melts for 30 seconds, stirring after each interval. Using a spoon, dunk the frozen truffles into the chocolate, placing them back on the parchment. Refrigerate to set.

You can play with flavors. There are many kinds of Oreos, and lots of different melts. White melts in an icing bag, microwaved and piped over the truffles, make a really nice decoration. 

You can sprinkle the reserved crumbs on top before the chocolate hardens if desired. 

Yields 2 dozen, depending on size. 

Happy holidays!



Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.


Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey. You can find her at http://bit.ly/ADeLucaAC 



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