Saturday, July 4, 2015

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies---Recipe from Cookies and Cups

This cookie recipe comes to you courtesy of Cookies and Cups, a blog I just found on Pinterest when I searched for "cookies and bars" this morning. Shelly over at Cookies and Cups is a genius for coming up with this recipe. It really does taste like Texas sheet cake, only a little more dense. I decided to go a little rogue with this recipe and add nuts and sprinkles to the tops of some of them. I know Texas sheet cake sometimes has nuts in the icing, but I was afraid the nuts would all slide off if I mixed them with the icing. I also had these cute chocolate sprinkles needing to be used, so there you go. The plain ones taste just fine too, if you must know.
I love the texture of these cookies, and I think they may actually have the chocolate cookie texture I've been searching for for years. They are not chewy at all--they are dense, but tender, and ever-so-slighlty salty. The texture is a mixture of cake, fudge, and cookie. They are very sweet, by the way, thanks to the icing. So if you're not a person who likes your sweets to be super sweet, this may not be the recipe for you.
So there you go. Texas Sheet Cake Cookies. Thanks, Shelly at Cookies and Cups for a fun new recipe.

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies
    --adapted from Cookies and Cups

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour

Icing Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar


  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped toasted pecans (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate sprinkles


Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper and set aside.
Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl (about 55 seconds to 1.5 minutes at 70% power) and allow to cool so you can't feel the heat when you touch the bowl.
In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter with the 1/3 cup sugar. Then add the cooled melted chocolate and mix until combined. Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl and mix again to make sure there are no white streaks.
Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated and fluffy. Add the salt and baking powder and mix to incorporate. Add the flour and mix on low until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again briefly to incorporate any remaining flour.
Place 1-tablespoon scoops of dough onto parchment lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between balls of dough (I used my small Pampered Chef cookie scoop). With your fingertips, gently pat out any stray bumps or spikes in the dough balls.
Bake at 350 degrees for 7 to 8 minutes, or until cookies are just set and the center is not wet. Slide the parchment onto a cooling rack (if you have 2 cooling racks), allow cookies to cool for a few minutes, and then using a spatula, move the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. (You will also be icing the cooking on the cooling rack.)
After cookies have all baked and cooled, prepare the icing. In a small or medium saucepan on low heat, melt the butter. Add the cocoa powder, milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Whisk until icing is smooth.
Place cooling rack with the cookies over a baking sheet or a sheet of wax or parchment paper, in order to catch the drippings from the icing. Using a small cereal spoon, scoop about 2 tablespoons of the icing and pour it over a cookie. Use the back of the spoon to gently spread frosting over as much of the cookie as possible, allowing the exess to drip and ooze all over. Sprinkle with chopped pecans or chocolate sprinkles, if desired--but do it before the icing sets, or they won't stick.
Allow icing to set, about 30 minutes, and then serve.
Makes about 35 cookies







Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sticky Caramel Croissant Chrysanthemum (Sticky Mums)



After spying a super clever bread dough baked into a flower on Pinterest yesterday, I decided I had to make a sweet version--with croissant dough--and caramel. This is the result. I have to say that although this was a delicious success, having all of the yummy brown sugar and butter flaky goodness of my Croissant Caramel Sticky Buns, the middle ended up too underdone for my liking. Some people enjoy that nearly raw texture of their baked goods, but I do not. So next time I'll be using two slightly smaller pans, and I anticipate Sticky Mum perfection. 
Here's the recipe as I executed it today. When and if I actually make it again, I'll make some revisons. For now, I know I ate way too much of this today as my tummy is telling me so.

Sticky Caramel Croissant Chrysanthemum (Sticky Mums)
     --inspired by Country Mom (blog is in Russian)


Ingredients:


Dough
Filling

  • 3/4 cup lightly toasted pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened

Carmel Goo

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Instructions:
The Dough
1.  Whisk 3 cups flour together with the yeast, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.  Place the milk in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Add the flour mixture and kneed at low speed until a ball of dough forms.  Cut the 2 tablespoons butter into small pieces and add to the dough.  Continue to knead until the butter becomes fully incorporated and the dough becomes smooth, begins to form a ball, and clears the sides of the bowl.  Add up to ¼ cup more flour, one tablespoon at a time if the dough is too sticky.  Place dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one hour.
2. Place the 2 ½ sticks of butter and 1 tablespoon flour into the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment.  Beat until butter is uniformly smooth and creamy. 
3. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface.  Roll dough into 10 x 14-inch rectangle.  Spread butter evenly over the bottom 2/3 of the rectangle.  Fold unbuttered third onto the middle third.  Brush away excess flour with a clean pastry brush. Then fold that onto the bottom third.  Seal edges with side of your hand. (You have 3 layers.)
4.  Using a rolling pin, gently whack the dough, starting at the center of the dough and go outward.  Then gently roll the dough into about a 7 x 12-inch rectangle, and fold into thirds again.  Make sure that the butter doesn’t break through.  IF it does, sprinkle with flour. Wrap in wax paper and then place in an unsealed gallon size plastic bag. Refrigerate for about 30-45 minutes. (This makes 27 layers now.)
5.  Remove dough from refrigerator and remove from bag/wrap, and on a floured surface, gently whack and roll into a 10 x 14-inch rectangle.  As in step four, fold dough into thirds (81 layers now) and then fold in half one last time. (Now there are 162 layers.) Wrap and refrigerate again for 2 hours to overnight.

The Filling and Goo
While the dough is refrigerating for the last time, prepare the caramel goo and the filling.
For the goo: in a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. When butter is nearly melted, add the brown sugar and light corn syrup. Stir to incorporate ingredients. Stir almost continually while the goo heats. Once it is really bubbling around the edges of the pan, and bubbles start popping up in the middle, set your timer for one minute and stir and boil goo for one minute. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
For the filling, place the chopped pecans, brown sugar and butter in a medium sized bowl. Mix with your fingers until you have a uniform crumbly mixture. Set aside.
Forming the Crysanthemum
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Prepare a 10" spring form pan by cutting a parchment paper circle to fit in the bottom. Spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray and place the parchment snugly in the bottom of the pan. Set aside. (Note: I think my center came out too underdone and the outside too done, so next time I will use two 8" round cake pans for this recipe. I'll need to bake them for about 18-24 minutes, I think.)
On a lightly floured surface, roll out your croissant dough to about 1/8 inch thickness or and 18"x18" square. Using a sharp biscuit cutter that is about 2 3/4 to 3 inches in diameter, cut as many circles as you can in the sheet of dough. (I ended up with 36 circles and used 32 in my 10" spring form pan.) Place the dough scraps, covered, in the refigerator for later. * 
Working with one circle at a time, place about 1 teaspoon of the filling in the middle of the circle and sort of spread it out to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Fold the circle almost in half, so that the top edge is about 1/4 inch below the edge of the bottom edge (see pic below). Carefully fold the half circle in half again, sort of pinching the inside tips where they meet (see pic below), and place in the pan with the back to the side of the pan. Repeat with remaining circles. Don't pack them too tightly because they will rise and grow larger when baked--plus you need to have some space for the caramel goo.
For the very center of the flower, just put the filling in the center of a circle and make a little cup with the filled circle and place it in the very middle.
Cover and allow to rise in a cool place (not the fridge though) for about 40 minutes, or until dough is puffed and leaves an indentation when you poke it with your finger.
Right before putting it in the oven, place the caramel goo in a sturdy zip top container (I used a quart size), snip about 1/4 inch off one corner, and squeeze the goo into the nooks and crannies of the flower.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 27-30 minutes, or until the buns are well browned, but not singed.
Makes about 32-36 three-bite buns

*After baking your Chysanthemum, use the scraps of dough and any leftover filling and caramel to bake up little taste testers in non-stick muffin tins. Or you can just bake the scraps of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 10-12 minutes and enjoy the buttery croissant goodness.

Look at all the fun scraps you can play with later...
Pecan, brown sugar and butter filling





Such a pretty sight
video
This video shows the point at which you start
your timer for one minute.
Caramel in a makshift pastry bag
I think the caramel bag helps get the caramel in the right places.
Right out of the oven the caramel is still bubbly on top.
Three bites of sweet buttery goodness
Filled yummy sweet pecans

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Fresh Margaritas

Margarita on the rocks in a canning jar
I'm not a big drinker. I'm such a small drinker, in fact, that I can count on one hand how many times I drink each year and still have some fingers to spare. I've never actually gotten drunk either, and neither has my friend Christie, who gave me this recipe. A month or so ago we decided maybe we should set aside some time to try getting drunk for the first time. Well, once our date came around, neither of us really felt like getting drunk. From what we've seen of others' drunkenness, it was going to render us sick and not very useful for the day or so following the drunkenness, so we decided to just make some margaritas and drink them responsibly, enjoy one another's company, and continue with our lives of sobriety. 
Can you tell why my husband would just love for me to drink a little more? Yeah, I'm wound pretty tightly, but it works for me, and 22 years into marriage, I think it's safe to say it's working just fine for him too. 
Now, even though I didn't get drunk on these margaritas, I did make myself a little sick last night because in addition to ingesting about 1/3 of this recipe of margaritas, I also had a few brownies (see previous post from yesterday), and some homemade tortilla chips. I felt awful when I went to bed last night, and I have to say that I'm glad I didn't really go for the drunk thing because I think I'd still be feeling awful today. No, thank you. And the next time I make these margaritas, you can bet I will NOT be eating any brownies with them. These are the ways I make myself sick. Someday I'll learn.
So, thanks, Cook's Illustrated, and friend Christie, for a fabulous margaritas recipe. Cheers!

Fresh Margaritas
      --adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Ingredients:
  • 4 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1/2 cup lime juice (from 3 medium limes)
  • 4 teaspoons lemon zest 
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (from 3 medium lemons)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 pinch table salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 1 cup 100% agave tequila
  • 1 cup Triple Sec
  • Cubed ice for serving

Instructions:
About 4 to 24 hours before serving, place lime and lemon zest and juices in a glass container with 1/4 sugar and salt. Cover and refrigerate.
When ready to mix up the margaritas, Strain the juice into a pitcher that will hold at least 1 quart (I opted for the Kerr canning jar and it worked beautifully--had a lid and everything). Add the additional 1 tablespoon sugar, orange juice, crushed ice, tequila, and Triple Sec. Stir or cover tightly and shake gently until ingredients are mixed.
Pour into serving glasses half-full of ice cubes.
Makes 4-6 servings



Lime and lemon zest
Zests, juices, sugar and a pinch of salt
After straining
Looks like this mixed margarita could easily travel in this thing.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Brownies with a Shiny Crust



Brownie with a Shiny Crust--and Walnuts

I've never been too concerned with my brownies having a shiny crust on them because I'm in the frosted brownie loving group.
 From time to time, I've heard people discuss how to get the shiny crust--something to do with dissolving the sugar in the butter or eggs--but it wasn't until I read the King Arthur Flour article "How to Make Brownies with Shiny Crust: the Surprising Secret Ingredient," that I really got curious about it. So today, since I "accidentally" purchased a 3-pound can of Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate, I decided to try out KAF's claim that chocolate chips are the secret to a shiny crust. What?! That's right: chocolate chips. I was skeptical even while I was prepping my ingredients, but then I went to my Gooey Brownies with Dove Chocolate Chunks recipe, which has Dove chocolate chunks baked into the top of the brownies, and what do you know? I noticed in my pics in that post that those brownies also have a shiny crust. Hmmm...very interesting.

You'll notice that I like to sprinkle the nuts on top of the brownie batter rather than mixing them in. This way, it's not only completely obvious to brownie eaters that they are getting a brownie with nuts, but the nuts also get a little toasty and crunchy up on top there. It just add a couple of other pleasnt dimensions to the brownie, in my opinion. It also allows me to make some brownies with and some brownies without nuts in the same batch. So many good reasons to do it this way.

Brownies with a Shiny Crust

Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs @ room temp. 
  • ½ cup sugar 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • ½ cup butter, melted & cooled 
  • 1 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate
  • 2/3 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 18 Dove Dark Chocolate Promises, chopped into big chunks (or 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional) 
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. 
Prepare am 8x8" brownie pan by spraying lighlty with non-stick cooking spray and then lining with parchment paper. (This helps with removing brownies.)
Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl, in the microwave, on 50% power for about 50-70 seconds. (I like to cover my bowl with the butter wrapper to prevent butter spatter.) If it's not melted after that amount of time on 50% power then put it back in on high for 12-20 seconds. Add the half cup of sugar and stir to incorporate.
In a small bowl, whisk together the ground chocolate, flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a medium or large bowl, whisk the eggs until they just start to froth. Add the butter/sugar mixture and the vanilla and with a spoon, mix to incorporate. Add the dry ingredients and stir with a silicone/rubber spatula until dry ingredients are just incorporated. Mix in the Dove chocolate chunks. 
Spread batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with nuts, if desired. Gently press the nuts into the batter with the palm of your hand.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-29 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out relatively clean. (I might even let them go to about 32 minutes.) Allow to cool. Cut into squares. Makes 16-20 brownies.




Friday, June 5, 2015

Beef Won Tons

Beef Won Tons


Won tons are my mom's specialty (check out Mom's Won Tons), but for some reason I just don't like eating them because the pork inside just doesn't seem right to me. I know, I'm a weirdo. I can't explain it. Anyway, when I decided to make won tons for my school staff's end of the year party, I wanted to make sure that my non-pork eating friends and I were able to enjoy them too. My husband's Aunt Willa makes these fabulous egg rolls with a peppery ground beef, carrot, and cabbage filling, so I figured that would make a great filling for won tons too. And it DOES. Thanks, Aunt Willa, for sharing the recipe with me. So these are it. I like a lot of pepper in mine, so I don't actually know the exact amount I put in. The amount stated below is an estimate. This filling tastes meaty, salty, and slightly sweet, with just enough veggies to give it some flavor and make you feel like you're eating something that might be good for you. I don't think these actaully are good for your body, but I think they're great for your soul. They made several people happy the other night, including me. So there.


Beef Won Tons

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound ground beef (90/10)
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cabbage, shredded or thinly chopped
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 package (60 count) won ton wrappers
  • canola oil for frying
Instructions:
In a medium frying pan over medium heat, brown the ground beef. When nearly cooked through, add the carrots, onions, cabbage, pepper, sugar, salt, and soy sauce. Carefully stir to cook the veggies. When cabbage starts to wilt, turn the heat off and allow mixture to sit for about 15 minutes to cook a little more and cool slighlty.
Line a cooling rack with paper towels and set aside.
When mixture is cool enough to work with, place one won ton wrapper on a clean plate and wet two adjacent sides with water. Place about one scant tablespoon of filling in the middle of the square and carfully fold in half, creating a triangle shape. Seal the seams by pressing firmly with the sides of your hands/pinky fingers. Place a little dab of water on one of the longer pointy ends. Pick up the triangle with the central point facing downward and bring the two long points together at the top and cross them. Place the non-wet tip on top of the wet one and press to seal. (See Cinnamon Apple Won Tons post for pictures of this process.) Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers. Set assembled but uncooked won tons on a wax paper lined baking sheet to wait.
Place about three inches of canola oil in a pot you use for frying. Heat oil over a medium heat until the temperature reaches about 360 degrees Fahrenheit, or a little piece of won ton wrapper placed in the oil fries and bubbles immediately when it's put in the hot oil.
When oil is ready, carefully place several won tons in the hot oil, being careful not to plop them in and burn yourself with splashing oil. I cook about 5-6 at a time. Turn won tons over (if they will let you) to make sure they brown all over. When won tons reach a nice golden brown color, remove them to the paper towel lined cooling rack. Allow won tons to cool for 5-10 minutes before attempting to eat.
Makes about 50-60 won tons.


Beef, carrot, and cabbage filling
Won tons ready to fry

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Cheesy Deep Dish Pizza

Cheesy Deep Dish Pizza
Pepperoni and Roma Tomato 


This is about the third deep dish pizza recipe I've got here on this blog. The first is a simple recipe to be made in a large cast iron skillet. The second is a Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza, and this one is my most recent favorite. The recipe comes from a book titled Pasta & Pizza Presto. I think this dough recipe is the only recipe I've tried from this book, but it makes such a good crust, that I keep this book in my favorite recipe book collection on my kitchen counter.
I use this awesome pizzeria pan that my husband purchased for me one Christmas. It's a pan that was used in an actual pizza restaurant, so it came to me all dark and well-seasoned. That sounds sort of strange as I type it, but it's really a perfect deep dish pizza pan. It's 14 inches in diameter, so the resulting pizza is large enough to feed our whole family of four.
The crust of this pizza is thick and, well, crusty on the outside. It's soft, tender and chewy as well. It holds up to the pound of cheese on top, but I do like to eat mine with a knife and fork. I like putting a little bit of garlic salt on the bottom of the pan before putting in the dough just for an extra yummy layer of flavor, and for the bit of crust left at the end. So good. This is just a nice, simple, and delicious deep dish crust. I think you'll like it. 

Cheesy Deep Dish Pizza
       --adapted from Pasta & Pizza Presto

Deep Dish Pizza Dough Ingredients:

  • 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Pizza Sauce Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried basil (depending on the tomatoes you buy)
  • 2 medium garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (If they have basil already in them, only add 1/2 teaspoon dried basil)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Pizza:

  • 1 batch of Deep Dish Pizza Dough
  • 1 cup (approx.) Pizza Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • pizza toppings

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook* mix the flour, salt, and yeast. Turn the mixer on low and add the water and olive oil. Knead dough on medium low speed for about 4-5 minutes. Remove hook and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Reattatch dough hook to mixer and knead dough for about a minute. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and cover with inverted bowl and allow dough to rest under the bowl for about 10 minutes.
*If you do not have a stand mixer, you can mix with a wooden spoon and then knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 8-10 minutes.

While dough rises, prepare the sauce.
In a skillet over medium heat, melt the 2 tablespoons butter. Then add the grated onion, oregano and basil. Cook over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is evaporated and onions turn golden. Add minced garlic, stir, and allow to cook for about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, honey, and red pepper flakes. Stir and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 25-30 minutes, or until sauce is reduced to about 2 1/2 cups. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit.

Add 2 tablespoons of canola oil (or other oil) to the bottom of a 14 inch deep dish pizza pan. With your fingers, spread oil all around the edges and bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with about 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt. Set aside.

Push, pull, and/or roll the dough out into a 14-inch circle. Place in the bottom of the pan and make sure the dough pretty much goes up to the edges of the pan. Spread the pizza sauce across the entire surface of the dough. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese. Top with your favorite pizza toppings (I used about 1/3 pound pepperoni and 2 diced roma tomatoes).

Bake at 425 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, or until edges of crust are golden brown and the cheese is very melted and toppings are cooked and browned. 

Remove from the oven and run a metal spatula all around the edge of the pan to loosen any stuck parts. Carefully use the spatula to move the pizza out of the pan and onto a cutting surface. Cut with a pizza cutter into slices and enjoy.

Makes 8 servings



Such a nice, chewy, tender crust.
That's a piece of burned pepperoni on top there.




Saturday, May 23, 2015

Mini Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

Mini Carrot Cake Whoopie Pie with Cream Cheese Frosting
This is my first attempt at these. It's a dry run for one of the whoopie pies I plan to make for my friend's wedding next month. I need to tweak it a little, but basically, they taste just like I wanted them to: tender little carrot cakes sandwiching smooth and sweet cream cheese frosting. It's two bites of deliciousness.
I don't even think I need to say anything else about them, except that they're just what I was going for. Whew!

Mini Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cookie Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 cup finely grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 pound (about 3 3/4 cups) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. On the back of a sheet of parchment paper, trace 1 1/4 inch circles about 2 inches apart. Place parchment, drawing side down, on a baking sheet. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugars. Beat in the egg. Add flour, soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well. Add coconut, carrots, pineapple and nuts and mix just until incorporated. Transfer dough/batter to a large piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Squeeze about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon blobs of dough into each circle. I ended up squeezing enough so that the dough was within about 1/8 of the circle's edge.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 6-7 minutes, or until edges start to brown. Slide parchment onto a cooling rack and then remove cookies to the rack to cool completely. Be careful; the bottoms are a bit sticky.

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and beat again until smooth. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar. Mix on low to start off with, so the powdered sugar doesn't explode out of the bowl. Once the sugar is incorporated, beat until thick and creamy.

After cookies have cooled completely, sandwich about 1 teaspoon or so of cream cheese frosting between two cookies.

Store, lightly covered, in the refrigerator, until ready to serve. Refrigerate leftovers as well.

Makes about 50 mini whoopie pies (I think)











Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mini Vanilla Bean Whoopie Pies

(Mini) Vanilla Bean Whoopie Pie
I wanted to make a vanilla whoopie pie that tastes just like a vanilla cupcake, and I think I did it. The cookies are about the size of a Nilla Wafer cookie, but they're soft, like a cupcake. These are super sweet due to the buttercream frosting in the middle, but that's what I was going for. If you want something less sweet, you might want to consider filling these with Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting. I think that would taste fabulous. The main reason I did buttercream in these is because they're for a friend's wedding, and the groom requested white cupcakes with buttercream. So there you go. I'm hoping these work, but I figure I'm safe because it was the groom's request, not the bride's. Plus she's such an awesome person, he'll just be happy to be marrying her that day. Right?
At any rate, this is a solid vanilla cake tasting whoopie pie. Very sweet. Very vanilla. Very tasty.
The recipe directly below is a half recipe because I was just testing it out, and I think it makes a reasonable amount if you plan to take these to a potluck or something. I will post the full size recipe at the end of this post.

Vanilla Bean Whoopie Pies (half recipe)
     --adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

Cookies
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup milk
Frosting
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, room temperature
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
Instructions:
Draw 1 1/4 inch circles, 2 inches apart, on the bottom of a piece of parchment paper and place on a baking sheet. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix the flours in a small bowl and set aside. Cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add baking powder, salt, vanilla bean paste, and almond and lemon extracts. Add the egg white and beat until incorporated. Then add the yolk and beat until incorporated. Add about 1/3 of the flour and mix until incorporated. Add 1/2 the milk and mix until incorporated. Repeat with remaining flour and milk. 
Place batter in a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Squeeze the batter onto the parchment paper, filling each circle (see photo below). 
Bake at 400 degrees for about 4-5 minutes--just until puffed and set. Remove from oven and slide parchment paper with the cookies onto a wire cooling rack and allow to sit a few minutes to cool slightly. Use a spatula to move the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.
While the last cookies bake, start making the frosting. Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the butter and shortening. Add 1 cup of the sugar and carefully mix until combined. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk. Mix on high until creamy. Add additional powdered sugar (2 tablespoons at a time) or milk (a few drops at a time) to reach the desired consistency. Place in a piping bag, fitted with a round tip--or star tip, if that's what you prefer. 
Turn over half of the cookies so you can put the frosting in the middle. Squeeze about a tablespoon of frosting onto each turned over cookie and the top with the remaining cookies.
Makes about 28 mini whoopie pies.



You can barely see the penciled circles
on the back side of the parchment paper.


The cookie/cakes have no brown on top,
but a little bit on the bottom.





Vanilla Bean Whoopie Pies (full recipe)
     --adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

Cookies
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 11 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 cup milk
Frosting
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
Instructions:
Draw 1 1/4 inch circles, 2 inches apart, on the bottom of a piece of parchment paper and place on a baking sheet. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix the flours in a small bowl and set aside. Cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add baking powder, salt, vanilla bean paste, and almond and lemon extracts. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each until incorporated. Add about 1/3 of the flour and mix until incorporated. Add 1/2 the milk and mix until incorporated. Repeat with remaining flour and milk. 
Place batter in a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Squeeze the batter onto the parchment paper, filling each circle (see photo below). 
Bake at 400 degrees for about 4-5 minutes--just until puffed and set. Remove from oven and slide parchment paper with the cookies onto a wire cooling rack and allow to sit a few minutes to cool slightly. Use a spatula to move the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.
While the last cookies bake, start making the frosting. Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the butter and shortening. Add 2 cups of the sugar and carefully mix until combined. Add the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the milk. Mix on high until creamy. Add additional powdered sugar (2-3 tablespoons at a time) or milk (1/2 teaspoon at a time) to reach the desired consistency. Place in a piping bag, fitted with a round tip--or star tip, if that's what you prefer. 
Turn over half of the cookies so you can put the frosting in the middle. Squeeze about a tablespoon of frosting onto each turned over cookie and the top with the remaining cookies.
Makes about 56 mini whoopie pies.



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