Whoopie Pies

15 Mar

moonpies

Whoopie Pies, also affectionately known as Moon Pies, were definitely a childhood favorite. These chewy, chocolate cookies cushioning a pillow of marshmallow fluff were the coveted snack of my elementary school lunchroom days. Luckily, becoming friends with Shauna meant that I had a constant supply of my favorite goody.

I’m going into my archives for this recipe which comes from Shauna, who was the queen of Whoopie Pies. Her’s were by far the best and most desired by classmates. We would hide them under our desks during class so we wouldn’t get caught snacking by the teachers.

I’ve seen versions of this recipe where people use frosting or buttercream filling, but there’s nothing like chewy, sticky marshmallow fluff for a Whoopie Pie. I definitely give this recipe an A+.

WHOOPIE PIES

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 stick soft butter
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup milk
3 cups marshmallow fluff

Cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add egg and mix on low until combined. Alternate adding ⅓ of dry ingredients and ⅓ milk as to not overwhelm and clump mixture. Repeat on low speed until batter has barely come together. Spoon onto greased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool and sandwich with fluff.

St. Patrick’s Day Guinness Cupcakes

8 Mar

cupcakes_Oh, St. Patrick’s Day. A time filled with four-leaf clovers and myths of leprechauns. Instead of drinking green beer this year, I want to celebrate the holiday with a festive treat. Since I’m not the biggest fan of food coloring, I’m choosing the next best thing to mark the occasion: beer as flavoring. I’m using Guinness not only because it’s Irish, but it’s a heavy beer which makes a really moist, delicious cupcake.

I first tried this recipe when I was secretary of the honor society in college. There was a fundraiser for the school’s club activities and we needed to represent the holiday. Being in college, most clubs took this opportunity to do jello shots and make foods like truffle fries and lobster mac & cheese that would be delicious when drinking beer. Did I mention I went to a culinary school? We liked to get fancy.

Being a team of mostly bakers, we decided cupcakes were our best option. The president of the society, Annabelle, and I stayed up all night testing cupcakes. After many sugary bites and lots of laughs, the Guinness Cupcake was born. The next day we sold out within the hour and people were begging for more!

For this recipe, I like to make a simple syrup out of the Guinness and brush it onto the cupcake after they bake so that the flavor isn’t lost in the cupcake. Feel free to also add a little bit to the frosting as well. Green sprinkles are always welcome.

GUINNESS CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Guinness
1 stick butter
3 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/3 cup sour cream

Simmer Guinness, butter, and brown sugar in saucepan until butter and sugar melt. Add cocoa and whisk until smooth. Remove from burner and cool slightly. Mix flour, sugar, soda, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix egg and sour cream. Add cocoa mixture and mix slowly for about a minute. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Pour into lined cupcake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until toothpick can be inserted and come out clean.

FROSTING
4 oz. cream cheese, soft
1/2 stick butter, soft
1/2 lb confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp Guinness

Mix ingredients together by hand. Once blended, whip on a mixer until light and fluffy.

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

25 Feb

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I’m going to confess something: I have a really bad habit of buying really nice loaves of fresh-baked bread with all the good intentions of making delicious sandwiches and then totally forgetting about them. This past weekend, my guy Stephen was pretty bummed when he went searching for bread and found a dry, week-old slab that just wasn’t cutting it as sandwich material. It seemed like a total loss until I found some chocolate chips lying around and decided that making bread pudding was the perfect apology and fix for such a sad situation. I grabbed a serrated knife and got to work. A little while later, I had a much happier companion and no stale bread!

Not only is this recipe great for using up older bread (fresh bread is perfectly okay too!), the add-ins and even the type of bread can be different every time. For example, chocolate brioche with dried cranberries makes an amazing wintry treat, or you can use sourdough and add nuts. If you really want to go out on a limb, cut the sugar amount in half to make a savory bread pudding; sausage and fennel with a cheddar cheese topping is my favorite. The options are unlimited.

For this recipe, the temperature is set to 325 degrees, but I prefer to aim lower at 300. It’ll take a little longer, but it will ensure that your eggs don’t overcook and nothing burns. You will also have to use a water bath, but don’t worry; find a baking dish that the bread pudding will sit comfortably in, set it in the oven and pour water to fill the pan, only halfway up. When it’s time to take it out, use oven mitts to extract only the pan with the bread pudding in it. Leave the water bath in the oven until it cools and can be safely taken out without burning yourself. Also, the timing on this has a little wiggle room since the bread needs about 15 minutes to really soak up the custard mixture.

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups of cubed bread (I like using challah for this recipe because it’s a rich bread)
3 eggs
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of milk
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup chocolate chips

Combine all wet ingredients and spices and whisk together well until it is a smooth mixture. Put bread in 6-8 inch pan and pour egg mixture over bread. Sprinkle chocolate chips and put in a 300 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm!

Raspberry Linzer Cookies Recipe

22 Feb

raspberry-linzer-cookie_sized

When I was invited to my friend Jayson’s dinner party, I went in search of the perfect cookie recipe to bring for dessert. I had just moved into my new place and only had one baking sheet, my KitchenAid mixer and a rolling pin unpacked.

I remembered a cookie that my college friends and I used to make when we were obsessed with British culture and insisted on having High Tea on the weekends. The Linzer Cookie. The crumbly, sandy cookie combined with the sweet jam was always a winner. We fought over them to the last crumb. They go perfectly with Earl Grey tea, and make wonderful take-home presents as well.

I love the playfulness of this cookie, because you can try using different cookie cutters to match the theme of your party. I like doing a classic heart cut-out top (pictured above) but you can also do fun shapes like teacups, crowns or mustaches. Never underestimate the power of a good cookie cutter!

Some tips I’d suggest: The prep time for this recipe is relatively quick since the jam can be store bought, but make sure the cookies are totally cooled down before adding jam, otherwise the jam will melt and make a huge mess! Also, make the dough a day ahead so it can rest in the refrigerator before you roll it. This gives it time to relax and prevents your shapes from warping when they bake.

So turn on the latest Downton Abbey episode and get baking.

Raspberry Linzer Cookies

2/3 cup toasted almonds
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 12-oz jar seedless raspberry jam

Directions:

Pulse toasted nuts and ½ of the brown sugar in a food processor until smooth.
Whisk together remaining dry ingredients in a bowl. In a mixing bowl, combine butter and remaining ½ of sugar until light and fluffy. Add nut mixture and mix until fully incorporated. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Reduce mixer to low speed and add dry ingredients in two segments, mixing until just barely combined. Wrap and chill dough overnight. Roll out to about ⅛ of an inch and cut as desired. Bake at 350* for about 12 minutes, or until edges are barely golden. When cooled, pipe jam so that there is a margin between it and the edge of the cookie. Gently press on cookie tops, dust with powdered sugar and dig in!

Valentine’s Day Dessert – Chocolate Pavlova

13 Feb

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With Valentine’s Day comes the planning, sending (or receiving) flowers, buying candies, picking out overly-sentimental greeting cards, and of course assembling a killer outfit. It’s enough to make even the most sane person go a little crazy. But even after all of that is figured out, you still have a tiny problem: what can you possibly serve for dessert?

The solution is a chocolate pavlova. A delicious and quick treat, it’s bound to impress your date, your friends, and your taste buds. It’s simple, but will have even the most finicky foodie falling in love. This baked meringue boasts a hard shell with a chewy center that’s surprising and satisfying. I like to finish mine with a deliciously light orange mascapone cream and a sprinkling of candied pistachios.

Chocolate Pavlova with Orange Cream

Pavlova

8 1/2oz egg whites
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp vinegar
1tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cocoa
2oz 55% chocolate

Orange Cream

2 cups mascapone
1 orange juice & zest
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup cream

Pavlova

Sift all dry ingredients (except cream of tartar) and set aside. Put whites in medium bowl/ mixer and set to medium speed. When lightly frothy, add cream of tartar. Slowly stream in sugar and whip until soft peaks form in the meringue. Stream in wet ingredients, mix until combined and remove from mixer. Gently fold in sifted dry ingredients. Spoon dollops (you can vary the size to your liking) on a siltpat or a sheetpan with parchment. Bake for about 7-9 minutes or until hard shell forms.

Cream

Lightly whip all ingredients together until cream is smooth & can hold it’s shape.

Garnish as desired and enjoy!

#Meatless Monday: White Bean Ragout

11 Feb

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I picked up a copy of Bon Appétit magazine in an airport many many months ago and hadn’t paid much attention to it since.  This past week I remembered a recipe I had seen in that magazine and spent the better part of the afternoon digging around my apartment trying to find the magazine so I could make this dish I suddenly had my heart set on.  Being a packrat paid off and I eventually found the magazine and the recipe.

A mixture of chopped onion and bell pepper slowly cooked in olive oil creates a soffritto-like mixture that makes the base of this amazing dish.  Seriously.  This dish will BLOW YOUR MIND.  It’s so good, so full of flavor and so very easy.  In the Bon Appétit article they served this over hunks of garlic toast.  I served mine over this funky pasta from the local organic grocery store along with garlic toast to bulk it up.  This dish is definitely worth making again and again AND worth saving all the leftovers for days two and three.  It’s one of the best dishes I’ve ever made and it just happens to be vegan!

White Bean Ragout from Bon Appétit

*Note:  If you have the article or go to the article please note, I roughly halved my recipe.  I also think this is a recipe you can kiiind of eyeball the quantities and it will be A-OK!

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb of cooked pasta of your choice (I used this funky stuff called rombi but fusilli or penne  would totally work)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (I used yellow onions)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, 3 finely grated and 1 halved
  • 1/4 cup olive oil plus more
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 15 ounce can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

Directions

Boil your pasta.  Pulse onions and pepper in food processor (or finely chop by hand) until finely chopped but not totally pureed.  Mix together in a bowl and set aside.  Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and pepper mixture, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 30 minutes (until vegetables are soft and cooked through).  Add finely grated garlic and tomato paste and stir until mixture turns deep red, about 3 minutes.

At this point the recipe says to take your soffritto mixture and divide it, setting one half aside and storing one half in the freezer for later use.  I didn’t do this.  I used ALL that sofrito and my dish turned out flavorful and awesome.  But if you want to conserve some of the mixture then go for it.  The whole point of this mixture is that with a few simple ingredients cooked down slowly the flavors are intensified so a little goes a long way.  I just happen to like flavor to the max in my dishes so I used it all.

At this point you need the mixture in the skillet and it’s time to add in the beans.  Cook soffritto and beans over medium heat, stirring often until cooked through, should take a minute or two.  Stir in one cup of broth and cup of white wine and bring to a boil.  Let simmer, stir and scrape up all the tasty bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Add tomatoes and remaining cup of broth.  Simmer until tomatoes are tender, about 5 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with parsley and serve over pasta.  Or serve it over garlic toast.  Or serve it with both!  So many options!

#Meatless Monday: Root Vegetable Soup

4 Feb

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This could also be called Kitchen Sink Soup because I tossed just about everything in there but the sink.  There is nothing more heartwarming, and no better way to use up vegetables that are just nearly past their prime than a big pot of soup.  Homemade soup is also a super inexpensive way to make a large quantity of food for leftovers or the rest of your lunches for the week.  Pair this with some crusty bread or homemade biscuits and you will be good to go on those cold winter nights!  Also, this soup can be easily reinterpreted.  Add different vegetables that you like or take out the ones I used that don’t tickle your fancy.  You absolutely cannot go wrong.

Root Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

  • 32 oz vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 turnips, chopped
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 medium, yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 handfuls kale, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Sauté onion, turnips and carrots in olive oil with a pinch or two of salt and a few turns of fresh ground pepper until just soft and slightly browned.  Add the garlic and sauté for two more minutes.  Transfer into a stock pot and add vegetable stock, water, tomatoes, chickpeas and lentils.  Bring to a boil and then turn down heat and let simmer until lentils are cooked (about 30 minutes).  Toss in kale and let wilt slightly.  Salt and pepper to taste and serve.

#Meatless Monday: Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce

28 Jan

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I am a huge fan of honest food blogs.  Honestly, the dishes I prepare don’t always taste awesome, and sometimes I forget an ingredient two. Sometimes my cakes don’t slide perfectly out of my greased and floured pan.  And, I honestly don’t believe that I am the only home cook who experiences these problems.  So, when I read a food blog and I find all of their recipes turned out perfect and amazing and deserving of the home cook equivalent of a Michelin star then I am a little incredulous.  Of course I want to know about all of the great dishes, but I want to hear the honest accounts of the over-salted gratin or the pie crust that would just not cooperate.

This brings me to why I love Amelia Morris and her very honest food blog, Bon Appétempt.  Her recipes are always interesting and include her very honest and detailed account of the preparation of the dish.  Mostly everything she posts looks amazing, but she doesn’t hesitate to include the nitty-gritty details about dishes gone awry.  I love to read about dishes gone awry!  How else would I know to avoid using a cheese grater on the potatoes if I’m attempting homemade gnocchi?  Without honest accounts of our failed cooking attempts, we are doomed to repeat our kitchen disasters.  But this recipe isn’t a disaster at all.  For an incredibly rich tasting dish, it only has a few tablespoons of butter (and, ok, a pretty hefty amount of feta).  This was also my first time preparing an eggplant!  I can imagine the polenta base of this dish tasting wonderful paired with any number of vegetarian sauces, but the eggplant sauce was really simple and delicious.

Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce from Bon Appétempt

Ingredients
Eggplant Sauce
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chopped, peeled tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 6 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp chopped oregano (I didn’t have fresh oregano so I used about 1/2 tbsp of dried oregano instead)
Polenta
  • 6 ears of corn, shucked
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 7 oz feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
Directions

Heat up the oil in a large saucepan and fry the eggplant on medium heat until nicely brown.  Drain off as much oil as you can and discard it.  Add the tomato paste to the pan and stir with the eggplant.  Cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook for 1 minute.  Add the chopped tomatoes, water, salt, sugar and oregano and cook for a further 5 minutes to get a deep-flavored sauce.  Set aside; warm it up when needed.

Remove the leaves and silk from each ear of corn. Using a sharp knife, carefully stand each ear of corn upright in a bowl and shuck off the kernels.  You want to have 1 1/4 lbs of kernels (6 ears of corn was perfect).  Place the kernels in a medium saucepan and cover them with the water.  Cook for 12 minutes on a low simmer.  Use a slotted spoon to lift the kernels from the water and into a food processor; reserve the cooking liquid.  Process them for  quite a few minutes, to break as much of the kernel case as possible.  Add some of the cooking liquid if the mixture becomes too dry to process. Return the corn paste to the pan with the cooking liquid and cook, while stirring, on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to a mashed potato consistency.  Stir in the butter, the feta, salt and some pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Taste and add more salt if needed.  Serve the polenta in bowls topped with the warm eggplant sauce (and, if you’re like me, some additional feta crumbles).

Cookbook Create is Hiring Spring Interns!

18 Jan

Are you interested in food blogging or graphic design at a fun, growing start up?

We’d love to find an amazing editorial intern specializing in recipe writing, and a fabulous graphic design intern who is interested in getting hands-on experience and developing showpieces for his/her portfolio.

Recipe Blogging Intern:

It’s important that you want to learn new skills and a love of food is a given! Experience with WordPress and other blogging platforms is a huge bonus. We’d like you to have a fun attitude & strong communication skills both written and verbal.

Responsibilities:

  • Create weekly blog post with enticing pictures
  • Contribute new and engaging topics to the editorial calendar
  • Promoting content via social media

Interested?  Please email your resume, 3 writing samples, and a photo sample of your food to anna@cookbookcreate.com with “Recipe Blogging Internship” in the subject line.

This internship is a minimum 16 hours per week unpaid, however we’ll pay for you to attend a couple evening classes of your choosing at General Assembly or SkillShare.

 

Graphic Design Intern: 

Photoshop & InDesign knowledge is a must.  Print design, web design, WordPress proficiencies are also a  huge bonus. A fun attitude and love for food is essential!

Responsibilities & Requirements:

  • Design cookbook templates
  • Design Word Press blogs and edit pictures and layouts
  • Design marketing materials
  • Strong communication skills both written and verbal

Interested? Please email your resume and relevant web links to anna@cookbookcreate.com with “Graphic Design Internship” in the subject line.

 

 

 

#Meatless Monday: Ina Garten’s Warm French Lentils

14 Jan

Katie- LentilsI have been consuming a lot of lentils lately.  They’re a regular on the menu for family meal at the bakery where I work.  I prepare them at on an almost weekly basis now.  I even introduced them to my Thanksgiving menu this year.  But, my typical lentil preparation can’t hold a candle to the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe.  I would venture to call this dish extraordinary.  Very simple and inexpensive ingredients yield an extreme amount of flavor.

There was a moment while I was making this dish where my trust in Mrs. Garten faltered.  The dijon dressing you prepare for the lentils has a very strong, salty flavor that made me second guess her quantities to the point of remaking the sauce.  Don’t question Ina.  She knows exactly what she is doing, and once you combine the dressing with the warm lentils everything combines together beautifully.

Ina Garten’s Warm French Lentils

Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp plus 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 leek, washed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup French lentils
  • 1 whole onion, peeled and stuck with 6 whole cloves (I didn’t have cloves and skipped this step.  My dish still turned out wonderfully)
  • 1 white turnip, cut in half
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
Directions

Heat the 2 tbsp of olive oil in a saute pan, add the leek and carrots and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute and set aside.  Place the lentils, 4 cups of water, the onion and the turnip in pot and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, add the leek and carrots, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the leeks are just tender.  Remove and discard the onion and turnip and drain the lentils.  Place in a bowl and add butter.  Whisk together the 1/4 cup of olive oil, mustard, vinegar, salt (I did reduce the quantity of salt to 1/2 tbsp for my dish) and pepper.  Add to the lentils, stir well and serve!

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