Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vanilla with Chocolate Buttercream Whoopie Pie

I am a sucker for all things fluffy and cream filled. This is why when I saw this book at The Paper Source (I was returning something and ended up buying more...sigh). I had to have it and I had to have it right then. No, I did not want to amazon it or print out a Borders coupon or a Barnes and Noble coupon. I had to buy it right then. I blame it on this gene mutation I have that prevents me from resisting instant gratification.
I took the book home and flipped through it again and again before deciding which recipe to try out first. Instead of the conventional whoopie pie which calls for chocolate cake/cookie and a marshmallow cream filling, I opted for its yang, instead.
They turned out great! No "oooops" this time. They are just the right size and possess just the right amount of sugar to satisfy that sweet tooth fix that is so necessary at the end of a hard-working day.
More to come from this book. It's a keeper.

Vanilla with Chocolate Butttercream Whoopie Pie adapted from Whoopie Pies

Vanilla Whoopie
makes 48 two-inch cakes (24 whoopies)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tbsp. vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

3. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening, and both sugars until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and the buttermilk and beat until combined.

4. In a measuring cup, combine the milk, baking soda, and vinegar. Add the milk mixture to the batter along with the flour mixture and beat on low until just combined. Add the vanilla and beat on medium for about 2 minutes until completely combined.

5. Using a spoon, drop about 1 tbsp. of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes each, or until the cakes begin to brown. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Buttercream adapted from Whoopie Pies

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tbsp. heavy (whipping) cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt

1. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the confectioners' sugar, cocoa, and butter, starting on low and increasing to medium speed, until the mixture is crumbly, about 1 minute. Add the heavy cream, vanilla, and salt and beat on high until smooth, about 3 minutes.


1. To the flat side of 24 cakes, pipe or spread the filling generously.

2. Place the flat side of the "naked" cakes on top of the chocolate filling, completing the whoopie!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Almond Biscotti

Hello friends. It's nice to be back. Instead of going through the ins and outs of why I was gone for so long (backing up my hard drive, planning my future, the days are too short, yadiyadiyah), let's just dive right in and enjoy some biscotti with a cup of tea!
A friend of mine once told me that there's nothing like a homemade biscotti. Until now, I have only had those store bought, cellophane covered ones. Naturally, I thought they were supposed to be dry as a bone, cardboard-like,and supposed to hurt the roof of your mouth when you bite into them. I've got news for you! They aren't supposed to taste like that. Nope, not homemade ones.
Homemade ones have so much flavor and are satisfyingly dense, but not to the point where they will cause you pain. I suggest making a double batch not only because it is time intensive, but because they will disappear way before they are completely cool. Enjoy these with your morning coffee, as a mid-morning snack, as an afternoon snack, a midnight snack, or a light dessert. Be aware, though; if you're not careful, it can quickly become a heavy dessert =).

Almond Biscotti adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Note: I omitted the orange liquer. Mainly because I haven't cooked with any kind of liquer before and I wasn't sure I was ready for such an investment. I just used the juice from the orange where I got my zest instead.

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup whole almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped or sliced almonds
1 large egg white for the wash

1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Mix sugar, melted butter, 3 eggs, vanilla extract, orange liquer and zest in large bowl. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir with wooden spoon until well blended. Mix in almonds.

2. Divide dough in half. Using floured hands, shape each dough half into 13 1/2-inch-long, 2 1/2-inch-wide log. Transfer both logs to prepared baking sheet, spacing apart. Whisk egg white in small bowl until foamy; brush over top and sides of each dough log.

3. Bake logs until golden brown (logs will spread), about 30 minutes. Cool logs completely on sheet on rack, about 25 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.

4. Transfer logs to work surface; discard parchment paper. Using serrated knife, cut logs on diagonal into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Arrange slices, cut side down, on same baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Turn biscotti over; bake until just beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool.