Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pumpkin Whoopie Pie

Just in time for Thanksgiving

I had been planning on making these for quite sometime. I originally wanted to make then in the beginning of October. When that did not happen I figured I would make them for Halloween. When Halloween passed and I had not make then I decided I would make them for Thanksgiving, and alas I actually made them.

Whoppie Pie is definitely a regional dessert so I had never tried it growing up. I am not sure when I first heard of it, but it sounded like something I would like. For those of you that are unaware of what exactly Whoopie Pie is, it is essentially two cake like cookies sandwiched with some time of frosting. I think the most traditional flavor is Chocolate Cookies with Vanilla Cream centers. If you have seen Oreo Cakesters, I believe they are Oreo's version of Whoopie Pie. So when I saw recipes popping up for Pumpkin Whoopie Pie I knew it was time for me to try them out. I throughly enjoyed these cookies/cakes/pies (not sure what to call them) and will likely be making them again next year for Thanksgiving. I will have to see how well they go over with the crowd. If you like pumpkin pie, cake, bread, or muffins you will definitely like these.

As most of you know by now, normally post once a week, generally on weekends. I wanted to make sure I got this recipe posted before Thanksgiving. I am not sure if I will be posting this weekend since I am posting this recipe now. If I am lucky I will get some more recipes from my boyfriend's mom while we are visiting this week. I hope everybody has a Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pie with Cream Cheese Filling
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Pumpkin Whoopie Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 TBSP cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground fresh nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup canola oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare to baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugars and oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.
Drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the pan while you make the filling. They will look more like mini cakes then cookies.

Cream Cheese Filling

3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth with no visible lumps. Add the cream cheese an beat until combined.
Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Be careful not to overbeat the filling, or it will lose structure.

To assemble:
Turn half the cooled cookies upside down. Drop spoonfuls of filling (about a tablespoon) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoppie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving. Makes about 2.5 dozen.

Monday, November 24, 2008

White Chocolate Chip Apricot Scones

A whole new kind of scone.

I was never a scone person. In fact I never really understood why anybody would enjoy a scone when they could have a muffin or some other type of tasty breakfast pastry. As far as I knew, scones were hard and dry and only enjoyed when dipped in coffee or tea. Then I ate one of these White Chocolate Chip Apricot Scones prepared by my boyfriend's mother. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, she is the absolute best baker. I am counting down the minutes until I get to enjoy her Thanksgiving Feast. Anyway, back to the scones. These scones are nowhere near dry or hard. They are soft, moist, and almost biscuit like. You can really use any dried fruit as a mix-in and can use any type of chip or even leave them out. I think I may try walnut and dried cranberry scones next time. Next time you want to make a muffin give these a try instead and you will not be disappointed.

White Chocolate Chip Apricot Scones
from Teresa Miller

2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons orange zest or lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped dried apricot (or any other dried fruit)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups whipping cream (heavy cream)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, orange zest, salt, dried fruit, and vanilla chips (by hand). Pour in whipping cream. Mix or knead by hand, just until combined (about 45 second). Mix will be sticky. Flour surface. Pat dough to an eight inch round. Note: Score first with a knife into 4ths , then 8ths. Then cut and put on a greased large cookie sheet. Bake 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool five minutes, then frost.

1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons orange juice or lemon juice

Mix together until a thin icing consistency to pour over warm scones.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Holiday Almond Spritz Cookies

I can not eat just one...

I actually made these for a Halloween Party which just goes to show how behind I am on posting. In fact today I questioned if I wanted to even wanted to post this. I decided I would go ahead and post them because you can really make these cookies for any occasion or holiday. All you have to do is alter the shape of the cookie using any desired cookie press disk and pick the sprinkles or colored chocolate to match. I used almond extract in these cookies, but you could use vanilla, orange, coconut, lemon, etc. I am a huge fan of almond flavoring so that is almost always what I use when I make these. You can see from the photo above I made one batch using an oval cookie disk. I sandwiched two cookies together using melted chocolate and rolled the edges in sprinkles. In the photo at the end of the post I used a pumpkin shaped disk and drizzled the cooled cookies with orange and green colored candy melts.

Holiday themed Almond Spritz Cookies
modified from Williams-Somona

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beat together the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and almond extract on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low and add flour a little at a time, beating until well blended.

Fill a cookie press with dough according to its instructions and fit it with the desired-shape disk. Press the dough out onto an ungreased cookie sheet, spacing the cookies 1 inch apart.

Bake until the cookies are firm to touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days. Makes 36 cookies (half as many if you sandwich them together the way I did).

If desired, sprinkle the cookies prior to baking with colored sugar or sprinkles. Other decorating options include baking the cookies as directed above, letting them cool, and drizzling them with colored chocolate.

Friday, November 7, 2008

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Chocolate Cookies


So I have busy lately...really busy. I have been working crazy hours and really barely have the energy to get this post up tonight. I really wanted to keep my promise to myself to post once a week so I apologize for the lack of content.

If you read my earlier post for my Pecan Pie Cupcakes you will remember that I received a free shipment from Oh! Nuts, an online retailer of nuts, candies, dried fruits, and a multitude of other offerings. When I found out I was going to receive a shipment of macadamia nuts I knew I wanted to make these cookies. They were the perfect combination of chocolate and nuts with the smooth flavor of the white chocolate chips.

White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Chocolate Cookies
adapted from Nestle Tollhouse
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package instant vanilla pudding
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) white chocolate chips
2 cups chopped macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and instant pudding in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by well-rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 8 to 11 minutes or until centers are set. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

The best of both cookies.

I used to make chocolate chip cookies all the time. In fact I would bake them weekly during college football season. So the other night my boyfriend mentioned I had not made chocolate chip cookies in a while. I wanted to make them, but I had already posted my recipe this past summer. I wanted something similar, but not quite the same. I opened the cabinet and found an unopened jar of Jif. When it comes to eating peanut butter on an everyday basis we only eat all- natural peanut butter. The Jif is purely there for baking; it was a sign. I found a recipe on Allrecipes and went with it. This recipe made 32 cookies. I brought 29 of them to work on a Monday morning. Tuesday morning there were only 2 cookies left. I guess you can say people like them.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Allrecipes

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

In a large bowl, cream together the peanut butter, butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until well blended. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla one at a time. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into creamed mixture. Mix in chocolate chips. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are lightly browned.