Thursday, October 21, 2010

pumpkin whoopie pies

i first wanted to share this lovely picture of my dog at the spooky pooch parade in lakewood last saturday.  zooey really doesn't like clothes so for a compromise my mom and i bought her an extra large shirt that felt more like a blanket, because she loves blankets, and it worked!  she was ok with the shirt.  there were so many cute dogs (lots of greyhounds!) at the parade and i was surprised by how creative people were.  zooey and i also made a special stop in front of melt to wave to michael, cleveland's hottest bartender, who looked a little embarrassed ;)

anyways, i saw pumpkin whoopie pies on brown eyed baker a while back and knew i had to try them.  they looked so delicious and around this time of year i am always craving pumpkin.  i have never made whoopie pies before, but after making these i will definitely have to try more of them.  they were so good!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Filling
copied from brown eyed baker 
Yield: About 2 dozen assembled whoopie pies (will vary depending on how large you make them)

For the Whoopie Pies:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chilled pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
1 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Maple-Cream Cheese Filling:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 ounces (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the granulated sugar, the dark brown sugar, and the oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.
4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.
5. Use a small cookie scoop or a large spoon to drop a rounded, heaping tablespoon of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.
6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, making sure that the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. The cookies should be firm when touched. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack.
7. To make the filling, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth with no visible lumps, about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, then add the maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth.
8. To assemble the whoopie pies: Turn half of the cooled cookies upside down. Pipe or spoon the 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 whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

banana crumb muffins

the other day i noticed that the bananas on my kitchen counter were starting to get to the point where fruit flies were gathering around them and so in order to use them up as soon as possible, i made banana muffins.  i really don't like when fruit flies get out of control.  at a dinner in the spring my friend jessi and i had a problem with them because they kept drowning themselves in our sweet beer.  this sweet beer was a nice beer and i was rather disturbed to notice 3 fruit flies floating in my drink after i had been sipping on it for the last half hour.  i try really hard to keep the fruit flies away after that happened.  so anyways, these banana muffins are really easy.  i use this crumb topping on a lot of my muffins, i usually put a little cinnamon in but this time i opted not.  i was really surprised by how well these muffins were received, because they are just a simple banana muffin and i was actually worried i overcooked them a little.  guess not!  they were a hit.  here is the recipe:

Banana Muffins with Crumb Topping
copied from everyday home cook
Banana muffins:
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 large egg
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)  **
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar  **
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Crumb topping:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cold butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease bottoms only of a 12 cup muffin tin, or line with paper baking cups.  In a large bowl, beat together milk, oil, and egg.  Add banana and mix well.  Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, just until mixed.  Batter will be lumpy.  Divide evenly among muffin cups.  To make crumb topping, cut butter into flour and sugar until crumbly.  Top batter with crumb topping.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.  If baked in a greased pan, let cool 5 minutes in pan before removing to wire racks.
Makes 1 dozen.

**i used 3 bananas which was a little over 1 cup and that was fine.  i also never use as much sugar as a recipe calls for, especially when topping the muffin or cupcake with something else that is sugary.  it's just unnecessary.  i usually use about half as much and add some cinnamon for this recipe, or just 3/4 as much.  for being a baker, i really don't have a strong sweet tooth!  my favorite sweet is actually the lindt touch of salt chocolate bar.  if you haven't tried it you really should!

coming soon:  pumpkin whoopie pies!  i am also going to be donating some cupcakes at the end of november to a great lakewood event, called sip into the holidays.  here is the link for the event sip into the holidays.  the theme is mad men and i am so excited to make some cocktail cupcakes !!

Monday, October 4, 2010

michael's birthday cake

with michael's birthday fast approaching, i decided a couple weeks ago i needed to make him this special celebration cake i saw on smitten kitchen, called the pistachio petit-four cake.  i wish i had more step by step photos, but i was in such a rush to make this.  i baked the cakes saturday, using my new cake bake even strips (which are awesome btw) and did the flash freeze method.  on sunday morning, mind you the day of the party, i quickly made the marzipan and let it rest for an hour and then had a quick hour to assemble the cake.  for being done so rapidly, i am pretty pleased with the result.  next time, i'll remember to use a cake board and parchment paper to keep the bottom pretty.  michael was very pleased with his cake and everyone else seemed to love it too, so i guess the sloppy bottom didn't matter anyways!  i really loved the apricot preserves in the cake.  i wish i had made them myself, but hopefully next time.  i also have plans to make this cake into a cupcake in the not too distant future.  so stay tuned.  and if you feel like making this cake, just make sure to go check out smitten kitchen!  she has the best cake tips you could ask for.

last market of the season

this past saturday was the last market of the season.  i was really sad that this would be the last market, but i was excited about the awesome cupcakes i was making for it.  unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate with me and it was a pretty crummy day.  but i did have a lot of loyal supporters come and wish me luck and tell me how much they loved my baked goods, which is always great to hear.  i made vanilla cupcakes filled with mint cream and topped with raspberry mousse, sweet potato cupcakes with maple spice buttercream, dulce de leche chocolate cupcakes, and chocolate walnut and golden raisin cookies.  i sold mostly everything, but the leftovers i did have i brought to michael's oktoberfest birthday gathering sunday so it all worked out.  i apologize that i have no front picture of my booth but i was so cold and i was wrapped up so nicely in my blankets i really didn't want to move.  if you saw me saturday, i was very bundled.  i know it doesn't seem that cold when you walk to your car or ride your bike for 15 minutes somewhere but when you are sitting outside with the wind blowing on you for 4 hours, well it is really cold.  so instead of a nice front market picture, here are some other awesome photos of the market for you...

these were my lovely neighbors at the market these past few weeks.  they had the most beautiful sunflowers on saturday.  i had planned to buy some at the end but they had sold out!!  which is really great because we were all a little worried that with the weather they would end up having a bunch of sunflower leftovers.  it helped that people saw other people walking around holding them, and you just can't resist a pretty sunflower on a cold and rainy day.

my awesome sign, screamin it's american pride.

and there are all of my yummy treats!