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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Oreo Balls That Don't Need Refrigeration. Is there anything butter can't do?!

This isn't even a real recipe, but it is important enough that I wanted a post about it.

Oreo balls are amazing. They are one of the easiest and most popular things in my entire food prep repertoire. If you haven't tried making them, I can't recommend them enough. Wherever you bring them, people will love you. There's just one problem. They contain a block of cream cheese, which means they have to be refrigerated. While this isn't often a huge deal (they normally disappear too fast for this to be too much of an issue), it can present a problem if fridge space is short, or if they are going to be sitting out for a while (for a picnic, etc), or if you want to use them for something like event favors.

Oreo balls are already delicious and addicting, but I wanted to find a way to cut out the cream cheese without compromising the flavor, yielding an Oreo ball that would be just as delicious, but could be stored at room temp.  This St. Patrick's Day was the perfect opportunity since I was planning to make a batch of Shamrock balls (mint Oreo balls) anyway.

I wanted to do this for the sake of convenience, but also for the sake of my sanity. I won't let my milk sit out for more than a minute on the counter. Is anyone else like this?

 I can't bear the thought of milk, or any dairy product for that matter, going bad. I'm one of those people that searches through all the milk gallons for the one with the latest date. I'm one of those people that sniffs the milk every time I take it out, and if I detect even the slightest aroma, down the drain it goes. I have a deeply-rooted fear of dairy products sitting out too long. When I bring something dairy  that needs to be refrigerated to someone's house, I make sure it goes right into the fridge. And, when it sits out to be served, I helicopter around it nervously, waiting to put it back into the fridge.

Mind you, I'm a microbiologist. It's my job to think about bacterial growth. Heck, it's my job to work with bacteria period. And even though all my training tells me, in a rational inner voice, that bacteria aren't going to flourish in my milk that has only been out for two minutes, I just can't help myself. So having Oreo balls that can just sit out, and don't need to be fussed with, is welcome on so many levels.

Normally you crush Oreos with cream cheese and dip them. Without the cream cheese, you need something else to bind the crumbs together. Not icing from a tub, like you would use with cake balls, because the added sugar will make them too sweet.  Of course you could make your own icing and control the sugar. Or you can do what I did, and carry it one step further. After all, if you take out the sugar from icing, what are you left with? It is the easiest solution, and also, I think, the best: butter. The Wonder Fat.
This is crushed Oreos in a bag, by the way...
A stick of butter did the trick for my double-stuffed mint Oreos. Solid butter, not melted butter -- just slice it up into tablespoons and toss it into the crumbs with the mixer going. I even did this immediately after the butter was taken out of the fridge, I didn't bother to soften it. Just beat, and the crumbs will come together. Once they do, you can roll them and dip them like any other ball. And, finally, you can store them like any other ball, that is to say, at room temperature.

Now, I tested this out on mint Oreos, which are double-stuffed (as are all flavored Oreos). When you are using these kinds of Oreos, you generally use the whole cookies from 2/3 of the package, and scrape the filling out of the remaining 1/3, using only the cookie part.  For these, I used a little more filling, because I wasn't sure at first whether additional Oreo filling or butter would bind better (butter does, btw), and they were just a tad too loose, so I could have done without the extra filling.

Because I haven't had a chance to test the butter proportions yet on a package of regular Oreos, if you decide to make these, start out with 6 tbls of butter first, combine it, and make sure it isn't too loose before you add the final 2 tbls. You might even need an extra tbls or so, I don't know. But I know it'll work. And, it'll taste divine. Let's face it, taste-wise when has butter ever been added to the detriment of anything?! Exactly.


Anonymous said...

This looks so good! I'm going to try it.
Refrigeration Equipment

Meredith said...

Hi! I hope they worked out okay for you!

Anonymous said...

We just tried the butter version, and although it emulsified the crumbs enough to form balls and be coated after chilling, the flavor was not nearly as good as we feel the cream cheese version turns out. Tomorrow, I'm thinking of grinding up these coated balls with cream cheese. We shall see...

Anonymous said...

Butter is a dairy product.

Meredith said...

Hi Leanne,

Yes, I do agree, the cream cheese version is richer, and I have a posting of that recipe elsewhere on my blog. And if all I am making are oreo balls, I will use cream cheese myself.

But for high volume holidays like Christmas, where I am making and transporting a huge volume of desserts, the convenience of not having to worry about refrigeration is a relief to me. I had a bad experience one year with relatives who left the tin out on the counter with the rest of the cookies overnight, and then tried to eat them the next morning...yikes!

I should mention that these butter-version balls work better with double stuffed oreos as opposed to the regular oreos (unlike the cream cheese-version, which is the reverse).

Anon, yes, butter is definitely dairy, but unlike cream cheese, it can stand to be out at room temperature for a few days.