Saturday, November 19, 2011

Weekend Cooking Love

I live a rich life although I am far from wealthy and I've recently realized how much joy I get from participating in Weekend Cooking, the one meme I participate in all week.  Sometimes on busy weeks it is the ONLY post I make.  Like this week.  I've had many inspirations for posts but no spare time.

I love the community of Weekend Cooking~I love trying out their recipes, I love reading their cookbook recommendations, their inspirations and menu plans.  I've learned a lot about cooking and baking and I've had fun experimenting with recipes I might not have tried otherwise.  It's like going to church for me.  I can find God everywhere in my life but the community of people I have a church is support network for me.  I feel that way about weekend cooking and blogging in general because it makes my life richer.  I like being part of a community of readers and eaters.

We had a church Christmas bazaar today and I made 6 loaves of bread and 12 peppermint whoopie pies.  Yum.  I've made the bread many times but the whoopie pies was a new attempt.  I know, risky, right to try something new for an event but seriously I can't have 12 whoopie pies sitting around my house-I would eat them.  This way I got to share one with my family-yes, we split it three ways (Groovy Girl was at a sleep over and thus was excluded from the tasting).  I got the recipe from So Sweet! a cookbook from Sur La Table I discovered from a Bermuda Onion's Weekend Cooking post.  Of course.  I bought the cookbook as a Christmas present for Groovy Girl.  It's been tucked away for a few weeks and luckily she was at that sleepover so she didn't notice me using it last night.  This compact cookbook is adorable with delectable pies, doughnuts, cookies, and cupcakes.

Here's the recipe.

Chocolate Whoopie Pies
makes about 20 pies (It only made 12 for me; maybe I made the cookie part two big.)

Cake Ingredients
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 425* F and position an oven rack in the center.  Lay 1 nonstick silicone baking mat or a piece of parchment each baking sheet.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together and set aside.
3. Combine the buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.  (Or leave it in the measuring cup like I did)
4. Cream the butter with the shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed until completely mixed.  Scrape the sides of the bowl well with a rubber spatula.  Add the brown sugar and continue mixing on high speed for about 3 minutes until mixture is light brown and fluffy.  Add the egg and mix.  Scrape the sides of the bowl again.
5. Turn the mixer on low and begin adding the flour mixture and buttermilk in two alternating batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
6. Scoop the batter into tablespoon-sized balls using a spring-loaded cookie scoop or a spoon and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared pan.  Bake the cakes one sheet at a time for 8 minutes, until cakes are puffed.  Transfer to a cooking rack and let cool completely.

Peppermint Filling

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp.
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup marshmallow creme
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 T. peppermint schnapps
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies

1. Place the butter and vegetable shortening in a medium mixing bowl of a stand mixer, and beat on low speed with a paddle attachment.  Add the marshmallow cream and increase the speed to medium.  Beat for 3 minutes.
2. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating on medium speed for an additional 3 minutes.
3. Add the peppermint schnapps, beating on low speed for 1 minute.  Pipe the filling between two cakes as directed.
4. Place the crushed peppermint candies on a plate.  After assembling the pies, gently roll the edges along the crushed candies to coat.  Store as directed.

The array of whoopie pie flavors is spectacular.  Key lime, bananas foster, Kahlua and cream, black forest...Wow.  I would like to play with the filling to leave out the shortening which is a fake almost plastic flavor for me and I could taste it. I think if I added more butter and marshmallow cream it could even it out.

Thank you to Candace at Beth Fish Reads for linking together all our food-related posts.

In other cooking news I have an 11 pound locally raised turkey soaking in brine in my grandmother's extra large crock.  We are celebrating tomorrow as a family.  I've also spent the week trying to go gluten-free.  It makes me stop and read the labels even more than I used to and I'm becoming educated on gluten and wheat.  I'm gaining empathy for people who really have to avoid these two ingredients.