Whoopie! Oops! Thank Goodness!

We had plans to go to friends for dinner over the weekend and they asked me to bring a dessert.  I rarely make the same dessert twice.  Why, when there’s so many to
try?  I happened to buy a Whoopie Pie cookbook (Love Foods, UK, Paragon Books).
Yes, I have too many cookbooks, but this one was screaming at me with a $3.99 price tag as I stood in line at my local bookstore.  I decided to make two seasonal options – gingerbread and pumpkin.
I made the pumpkin cookies the night before we were going to eat them.  However I waited until the day of the dinner to fill.  My plan was to fill them as I made the gingerbread batch the next day about an hour before we were expected at our friends’.  Well, after quite a bit of time in the oven I realized the oven wasn’t actually on.  Yes, I did turn it on.  I tried what I thought as rebooting – turning on and off, but nothing.  I even got out the manual, with no help there either.  “Whoopie!”
Became “Oops!”  I called my friends and warned them I’d be bringing my cookie sheets to finish the whoopies at her house.

My friend’s oven saved dessert.  Both the pumpkin and gingerbread were a hit with all ages.  Although I thought the gingerbread wasn’t spicy enough and preferred the pumpkin.  Looking at the book, I realized mine are not as filled as the book photos.  I guess that’s why I have so much filling left.  It just seemed like so much.  My
healthy cooking philosophy and habits can sometimes get in the way of decadent
foods.  (I used low fat cream cheese for the filling too)  Also to get them to look perfect and smooth like the photos, you’d need a whoopie pie pan – which I
don’t have or want.  I was fine with a more rustic look, made from a small ice cream scoop.

So I need to call an oven technician.  Luckily I am not hosting Thanksgiving.  Thank
goodness.  That’s every host’s biggest nightmare.  I wonder what an oven house
call before Thanksgiving costs?  I’ll wait to call after Thursday.

Hopefully you have an oven and can make them.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Makes 12

2 cups all purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

1/2  teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup light brown sugar

½ cup sunflower oil

1 large egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup canned pumpkin puree

Cinnamon and Maple Filling

1 cup full fat cream cheese

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 2 baking sheets with
parchment paper.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

Place sugar and oil in large bowl and beat with electric mixer for 1 minute.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Then beat in pumpkin.  Stir in flour mixture and beat until
incorporated.

Spoon or pipe 24 mounds of batter onto prepared pans, spaced well apart.

Bake each sheet separately in oven for 8 – 10 minutes or until risen and firm to
touch.  Cool on baking tray for 5 minutes then remove with palette knife to transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

For the filling place the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat until well
blended.  Beat in the syrup, cinnamon and confectioner’s sugar until smooth.

To assemble, pipe or spread the filling over the flat side of half the cakes.  Top with remaining cakes.

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Make the Bread, Buy the Butter – Book Review

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What you Should and Shouldn’t Cook From Scratch by Jennifer Reese is a clever book in that is weighs making something from scratch vs. buying premade.  Jennifer was out of work and decided to try to make things (including raising chicken for eggs and goats for cheese) she might otherwise purchase to see if it really is better and cheaper to make from scrath.

 

All her kitchen experiments are told with recipes and break down’s for making vs. buying each item or dish.  Price is weighed heavily.  However she also weighs in difficulty or mess for making, which is fun and honest.  And what kinds of unhealthy ingredients you will find in premade.  She also figures in animal welfare and sustainability.

 

Of course cost doesn’t figure in your time, however many recipes can be made in the time it would take you to go to a store and buy it (guacamole anyone?).  And if you already have the ingredients (like I did with her Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins) and a bit of time, why not take pride in making it yourself?

Review:

Pros – good recipes for many everyday food items/ingredients. Fun stories about the lengths the author went to make items from scratch.  Like that each chapter takes on a theme and context for the experiment/recipe – breads, restaurant foods, dinner, cheese, Thanksgiving, etc.

Cons – some things she suggests may not always be easier to make and store (homemade vanilla and mayonaise anyone?) and a few are time consuming.  Some of the foods weren’t too appealing to me.  I wouldn’t make or buy canadian bacon, beef jerky or maraschino cherries.

 

Speaking of book reviews, I made the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for my kids’ book fair this week.  They were a hit and appreciated by students, volunteers and teachers alike.  I was glad I made them from scratch, at home.  I made a few different recipes.  About 72 baked goods in all.  If I had bought these at a bakery or grocery store such as Whole Foods, at an average of $2 a piece, I would have spent $144.  Making them I probably spent less than $20 on ingredients.  I was surprised, and happy to see this book on the book fair cookbook table, next to mine.

 

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Green Market Baking Cookbook Review with Honey Sweetened Whipped Cream

I received a lovely cookbook entitled Green Market Baking Book: 100 Delicious Recipes for Natural Sweet and Savory Treats and can’t stop looking at the illustrations.  While some may miss real photos or mouth watering desserts I like that this is different with beautiful illustrations of fruits, vegetables and herbs that are part of the recipes.  This book by Laura C. Martin highlights local, seasonal and healthful ingredients as an alternative to refined sugars and artificial sweeteners that are in most baking cookbooks.

I would buy this book for one single stand-out recipe – Honey Strawberry Shortcakes with Honey Sweetened Whipped Cream (photo below).  Actually just the whipped cream would suffice.  Yes, it is so simple, but is so fresh and can dress up anything from a shortcake or anglefood cake to a simple bowl of fresh berries.

Review

Pros: lovely illustrations, good introduction chapter about substitutions, ingredients and stocking a baking pantry. Variety of both sweet and savory recipes.

Cons: pictures of actual creations (didn’t bother me, but might others), organization by season (not my favorite new trend, and not really for a baking book).

Honey Sweetened Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup mild flavored honey, such as orange blossom or wildflower

Make sure bowl and attachments of mixer are very cold. Pour the cream into the bowl and whip until soft peaks form.

Turn off the mixer and remove bowl.  Carefully pour honey into cream and hand whisk into the cream.  Return the bowl to the mixer and finish whipping the cream to desired consistency.

Note: If you pour honey into the mixing bowl while mixer is running the whisk blade will fling strings of honey around the bowl without getting it into the cream.

 

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