Thursday, November 24, 2011

thanksgiving two-thousdand-eleven















Happy Thanksgiving readers! 

This year marked the first thanksgiving my dear husband and I spent as a married couple.
We enjoyed copious amounts of food, wine, and delightful company. This wonderful day has me giddy for the holiday season, that as of today, has officially arrived. Hoping your day has been a wonderful one! 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

makin' whoopie : part deux


Hello there. It's been a while, hasn't it? During the interim this food blogger married the love of her life, then proceeded to spend two glorious weeks with said love on the island of Kauai. Planning and pulling off a wedding is no an easy feat. This, coming from a girl who relishes throwing lavish soirees. That wedding kicked my butt. Kauai healed it. And here I am. Back to cooking, writing, photographing and absolutely ready for the holidays! So, I present to you the pumpkin whoopie pie. 

This isn't my first time makin' whoopie. Two years ago during the holiday season I shared these decadent chocolate peppermint whoopie pies with you, surely a Christmas treat worthy of any cookie platter. Those chocolate cake, cookie combos marked my virgin whoopie baking experience. I was immediately smitten. Whoopie pies are basically perfection. Two incredibly moist lumps of cake filled with heaps of frosting. Plus, they're pretty darn cute, especially miniaturized (the only way I've ever made them). Tiny whoopies also make a fantastic gift, as they're a bit more exciting than your standard cookie, but nearly as simple. These whoopie pies were just that, a little 'just because' giftie for a few of my nearest. We'd made plans to slurp down some spicy hot Pho on a particularly chilly Friday evening and a I had nothing to do the day of, so on a whim I decided to whip them up a little something to take home and enjoy after dinner. A bit of tissue paper, a few craft paper bags, and some yarn made the package pretty. Whoopie pies inside made them delicious. Needless to say, the recipients were quite happy. After dinner, I don't think one person made it out of the restaurant lobby before tearing open their bags and enjoying at least one of the treats buried inside.


Seeing as it's not quite December, and we have yet to celebrate Thanksgiving here in the states, chocolate and peppermint were off the table. I wanted whoopie that screamed "fall!" "autumn!", and I think these gems do just that. Pumpkin spice whoopie pies filled to the brim with a maple vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. The cakes themselves not too pumpkin-y, not too spice cake-y, I'd say a perfect balance, piled high with plenty of sweet maple filling for good measure, how could these be anything but perfection? And I swear the cakes were even moister the next day, making them a great holiday choice. You'd be safe whipping these up a day ahead and keeping them stored in an airtight container. I promise you, these whimsical little treats will be sure to delight whomever you decide to share them with, that is, if you can resist the urge to hoard them all for yourself.

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies 
adapted from Bon Appetit 

Ingredients 
(Whoopie)

3 cups unbleached AP flour
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 Tablespoons butter (room temp)
3/4 golden brown sugar
3/4 granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs (room temp)
15 oz pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk

Ingredients 
(Filling)

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter (room temp)
8 oz cream cheese (room temp)
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon mapel-ine (maple extract) 
(or subtract a bit of powdered sugar and add a few tablespoons of pure maple syrup)
1/2 vanilla bean scraped 
1 to 2 Tablespoons half and half, cream or milk (to thin filling if needed)

Directions
(Whoopie)
Preheat oven to 350 F

1. Sift first seven ingredients together in a large bowl. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add butter and both sugars. On medium high, mix until well incorporated (2-3 minutes).
3. With the mixer still going, slowly add your vegetable oil.
4. Add eggs one at a time, mixing 30 seconds between each.
5. Add pumpkin and mix until incorporated (scraping down bowl as needed).
6. Reduce speed to medium-low and add the flour and milk in two additions, staring with flour, milk, then ending with flour.
6. Cover bowl and chill for one hour. 
7. With a melon baller scoop chilled dough out onto a prepared cookie sheet (you need a silpat or parchment, and if using parchment oil it too, these babies are that moist, they will stick).
8. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet, transfer to parchment lined counter (my wire racks dug into their moist cakey flesh).
9. Repeat until all of your whoopies are baked.
10. Cool completely, then fill with your filling. I use my melon baller, about half full, dump onto one whoopie top with another and viola! Whoopie!

Directions
(Filling)

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. 2-3 minutes.
2. Reduce the speed to slow (or all of your sugar will escape) and add powdered sugar. Mix until creamy. Another 2-3 minutes.
3. Add maple extract, vanilla bean scrapings and milk (if desired). Mix well.
4. Fill your cakes and make whoopie!


Monday, November 21, 2011

a most important day