Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Take Me Out

I love baseball season; I always have.  I guess you could say it’s my sport.  It’s the one game that I actually know what’s going on, and can somewhat carry on a conversation about.  I first came up with this idea when in college and was part of the “Diamond Dolls”.  I have made these cookie sandwiches at Christmas and used sprinkles on top before, but it hit me during baseball season that these were the perfect shape and color and with just a little something special they can easily become bona fide baseballs!
These are some of the easiest no bake, cutest baseball cookies you will ever come across.  Maybe I’m biased?  They take a few extra minutes because you have to wait for each step to dry or melt completely, but they are so worth it!  I made these last night for Stephen’s summer ball baseball team.  I hope they enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them!
Your ingredients are simple:
·         Ritz crackers
·         Peanut butter
·         Almond Bark
·         Food color pen

First, pull out your almond bark.  What is almond bark you ask?  It’s vanilla or chocolate flavored candy coating. You can read about it here.  For this example, you will need vanilla flavored.  It’s delicious.  Don’t be afraid of this stuff.  If you don’t know where almond bark is, it’s in the baking aisle right next to the chocolates. Tip: It melts very easily, so don’t leave it in your car during 90 degree weather. Just saying.
Pull it out of the fridge, if you did leave said almond bark in the car and it melted, to bring to room temperature.  If not, it should already be at room temp.  Get to breaking it up. I did this with a large knife and shaved off pieces. This may be the hardest step, but it’s not really hard just time consuming. Count this as your daily arm workout.
Now we must create a double boiler if you are like me and don’t own one, but I bet you do have two varying sized pots!  This technique is not suggested or correct or anything you will ever see, but it has never let me down. I add some water to one pot and turn on low, and insert the other pot right in it.

Technically the water is not supposed to touch the second pot, but again, it works for me. Just be careful not to let the water boil and stir constantly.  I hear that it’s extremely easy to do this step in the microwave, but I am a creature of habit and the first works for me, so why change?  While your almond bark melts (you can take the smaller pot out of first periodically if you need to do something else) build your cracker sandwiches. 

I used two complete sleeves and one full block, and it was just enough.  Once the almond bark was completely melted I removed from larger pot and set it on a dish towel. Then, placed one sandwich in, flipped to coat and removed.

This step needs to happen fast because the peanut butter will melt out. I used a spatula in the left hand and tongs in the right. Flip with the left; insert and take out with the right. You get the picture.  You’ll figure out your own technique, and it’ll go very quickly. Once all your sandwiches have been dipped, let dry completely. 
At this stage, pull out your Betty Crocker Food Decorator pens. They work the best. It’s like food coloring in marker form.  They’re great! You will need red for this.  Now place little X’s in a backward parenthesis shape, and voila! You instantly have delicious, beautiful baseballs!

Let’s play ball, and Go White Sox! Kirby