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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

So, let me explain. My camera hates me. At the beginning of August Jon and I went to Nashville. I took lots of photos, most importantly of Jon beside Gram Parson's suit at the Country Music Hall of Fame on his birthday and of a room full of vintage party dresses. Then I got home and my computer and camera refused to get along anymore. It'd really been an on and off relationship for some time. So everything I've baked since then has not been blogged about because I feel like if I don't have a picture it didn't really happen. But some things need to be shared.

I've been on a whoopie pie kick lately. I guess they are like the new cupcake. or macaron. or whatever. I've made a few varieties but this is the best one so far. I took them to school for a halloween dessert fest. There were lots of store bought things and some regular brownies and such. When I went to get my dish, everything else had leftovers and these were gone! Unlike some other whoopie pies I've tried these are very moist (ugh, I hate that word because everyone else hates that word but can't think of another to use) and have the perfect amount of pumpkin and spice. A must have for Halloween and the upcoming month of November.

*And if you really want a picture click on Tracy's link. They looked the same :)

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies


3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
3 cups canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Filling
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and nutmeg. In another bowl, whisk the sugars and oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined. Finally, gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine completely.

Use a small scoop (or a large spoon) to drop rounds of dough (about 1.5-2 tablespoons each) onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from the oven, then let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

To make the filling, beat the butter on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat to combine. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.

To assemble the whoopie pies: Turn half of the cookies over so the flat side is up. Put the cream cheese filling in a disposable pastry bag and cut a hole from the end. Pipe the filling onto the flat side of the turned cookies. Sandwich with the remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so the filling spreads to the edge. Cover the whoopie pies and transfer them to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bake Lust: Children's Lit

I'm using this to explain my lack of baking lately. Well, it's not my only excuse but it's the easiest to blame. Here are some really lovely cakes inspired by good children's lit. Of course I chose these cakes based on my favorite books:

Let's start with a basic intro into children's lit. Mostly early elementary but very good choices.

And also, the basic intro into children's lit:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle- I used to check this book out from the library every time my grandmother took me. Love, love, his illustrations. The cake above is maybe perhaps the best cake ever.

When I was in 3rd grade we read Farmer Boy as a class. My mom bought me the Laura Ingalls Wilder box set and I would do nothing but read book after book each weekend. Last year I read several of them to my 3rd graders and I was happy to see that even in these technological times, the kids still loved hearing about Laura and Mary's adventures, Pa's fiddle, and traveling in covered wagons. I also think about Little House on the Prairie everytime I hear the word calico.

And my all time, love, love. Love.
The Giving Tree.