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Let’s Make WHOOPIE!

16 Aug

Whoopie pies, that is! Haha….couldn’t resist the title! 

The stars started to align a few months ago for me to make these when I experimented with an oatmeal cookie recipe. I started from scratch and took a few guesses with the measurements. Well, after a few months of experimenting, I finally got my delicious, soft and chewy oatmeal cookies down! Man are oatmeal cookies good! They are some of our favorites!

They really are delicious on their own, but I wanted to shake things up. So I went a little crazy and filled these babies with cream cheese filling….thus creating the super awesome over the top whoopie pie.

These cookies have got it all! Soft, sweet, chewy and a slight tang from the filling! I love them cold and they taste even better than the store bought oatmeal cream pies (sorry little debbie!) I might even go as far as to say that they are healthier! And by healthy I mean no crazy unpronounceable preservatives. Ok, healthy is NOT a good word to describe these, but man are they tasty!

Just like making regular cookies, you make your dough and bake them pan by pan. You let them cool a little and then remove them from off the baking sheet. Then you cool them completely and fill them chock full of fluffy cream cheese filling. It’s really an easy recipe but takes a little waiting time. So, if you have the patience, then dive right in. If you don’t, you can make the cookies today, store them in an airtight container and finish them tomorrow. OR (can you see where this is going?) you can make the cookie dough today, bake them tomorrow and fill them the next day. But, I’ll tell you right now the cookies won’t make it to day 3 because they really are that good and you WILL eat them all. Happy Baking, friends!

Oatmeal Cream Whoopie Pies
yield: 48 cookies, 24 pies

for the cookies-
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
dash nutmeg (optional)
1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/4 cups rolled oats
(1 cup chocolate chips if you like!)

for the filling-
1-8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cream
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
dash salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray light colored baking sheet (*see recipe tips) with non stick cooking spray. Set aside.
In large bowl, cream margarine, shortening and sugars together until light and creamy. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Scrape sides of bowl and whip 1-2 minutes until light in color. Stir in remaining ingredients until well incorporated. Scoop small balls of dough onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes until cookies aren’t shiny anymore and they look slightly underdone. Cool 3-4 minutes on baking sheet and then remove to waxed paper (*see recipe tips) to cool completely.

For the filling, whip cream cheese with vanilla, cream and salt until smooth. Slowly whip powdered sugar into cream cheese until all combined and smooth. Scrap down the sides and whip again.

To assemble, take 1 oatmeal cookie and spread 1-2 tablespoons of filling across the bottom evenly. Top with another cookie. Repeat until all cookies are filled.

Recipe TIPS
-I use a lighter colored baking sheet because the bottoms don’t brown as quickly or become as hard as they would using a non stick sheet.
-I like to put my cookies on waxed paper because it somehow keeps the cookies really soft.
-If you are planning on assembling the cookies at a later date after they have been cooked, place them gently into an airtight container while the cookies are luke warm–this will keep them moist until you’re ready to use them!


Grandma’s Butter Horns

7 Jul

Oh my gravy do I have a wonderful recipe for you all today! My Grandma is the best baker EVER.  Pretty sure all grandma’s everywhere know how to whip out amazing dishes flawlessly. It comes with being a grandma, I suppose. I’m working on getting copies of all her recipes and slowly I’m getting them one by one. Anyways, this is one straight out of her recipe box and one of my all time favorites that she makes. I grew up eating these and I’m pretty sure she grew up eating these too. Old family recipe right here.

Here’s a little get to know you trivia about me and my family: every Sunday, my Grandparents were invited over to my family’s house for dinner if they brought dessert. And just about every Sunday they would come, dessert in toe. It would always be coconut cream pie, chocolate chip walnut cookies, sponge cake with the BEST chocolate icing, cinnamon rolls, zucchini bread, horseshoe shortbread cookies or these butter horns. (There were more then this–these were some of my favorites off the top of my head.) After dinner, we’d do the dishes and eat dessert while playing cards. And, just like clockwork, someone other then my Grandpa would win and he would start swearing up a storm. Those were the days. Then I moved to Idaho for school….then met Gordon and… know the rest of the story.

So, about these butter horns….my first few attempts weren’t so successful, meaning they were good but just didn’t quite taste like hers. So, after some trial and error, I got it down! All that hard work (and extra 3 pounds I gained) was well worth it and you are going to be thanking me later. I promise. These are melt in your mouth little pieces of heaven and the whole batch makes 48 cookies! It does take a few steps to make these, but SO worth it. And don’t be scared–the steps are easy! Butter Horns are filled with cinnamon, sugar and ground walnuts and are tender, moist, tasty little gems that will find a place in your heart (and quite possibly on your behind). I absolutely LOVE these, partly because they’re good and partly because they will forever be linked to home and my grandparents, whom I absolutely love to death. A little bit of a sentimental post, but this recipe is sure to please!

Grandma’s Butter Horns
yield: 48 small cookies

for the dough-
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 lb. cold butter (1 cup or 2 sticks)
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup sour cream
1/8 teaspoon salt

for the filling-
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup walnuts
3/4 cup granulated sugar

powdered sugar for dusting

In large bowl, combine flour, salt, and butter until coarse crumbs form. Stir in sour cream and egg yolk until dough comes together–you may want to use your hands. Form into a fat disc shape, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate 2-3 hours.

To form cookies, remove dough from fridge and let it warm up for 5-10 minutes while you make the filling. In food processor, combine sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. Pulse the mixture until the nuts have practically become almost as small as the sugar granules. Something similar to this:

Next, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Flour your board liberally and roll out one piece of dough into a circle that is 12-14 inches across and 1/8 inch thick. You want the circle to be pretty even, but it doesn’t doesn’t have to be perfect. Sprinkle on 1/4th of the sugar walnut mixture over entire circle. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 12 even triangular pieces (just like you’re cutting a pie). And, I have no clue why I didn’t take any photos of this. Sorry. Roll up each triangle tightly, starting at the wide end to form crescent shapes. Place onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Continue this process with remaining dough and filling.

Bake Butter Horns at 300 degrees for 25-30 minutes. I cooked mine for 32 minutes. When you take them out of the oven, they shouldn’t be shiny and the dough should be pretty much dry to the touch. At 25 minutes, I could still see a little butter in the dough that was making the dough moist still, so after a few minutes more in the oven, that went away and they looked cooked. As a reminder, if you are using a non-stick darker cookie sheet, these are going to cook faster. You want the bottoms of the cookies to be light brown, not dark brown! So be careful.

After 5 minutes on the baking sheet, remove to a cooking rack. 

Dust all the Butter Horns with powdered sugar and enjoy!

I decided to give some away and pack them in these cute little glassine bags! Adorable!

My Favorite Shortbread

4 May

This recipe is an old family favorite. I remember making these for my elementary school teachers around Christmas time. There are 6 kids in my family and when we all were in school, my Mom would always opt for this shortbread or her microwave chocolate fudge to make. After I made this a few times, I then understood that she made this shortbread because its quick and easy, takes very few ingredients and looks fancy.
The thing about this shortbread is that you form the dough into long skinny logs, bake them and then fill them with melted chocolate or jam. Then you drizzle some icing over the top and voila! A fancy dessert! Usually we use strawberry or raspberry jam, but I didn’t have any, so I used apricot pineapple! Really, any flavor would work well. Let me know if you venture out and try something new!
Just as a side note, me and the little one are doing a walk through of the apartment we totally have fallen in love with. Gordon is still on his business trip, sadly. He’ll be home by the end of the week! Wahoo! Maybe I’ll make more shortbread to celebrate….
Shortbread Logs
yield: 16-24
1 cup butter, softened (DO NOT use margarine)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
melted chocolate, jam, anything you want to fill the shortbread with
1/2 cup powdered sugar
a few splashes milk
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In large bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla and flour until combined-it will be crumbly but will stay together when formed into shapes. Divide dough into 4 equal balls. Form each ball into a log the length of the cookie sheet with a depression in the centre. They will be long and skinny, about 1 inch wide. Bake 12-15 minutes. When warm, fill with desired fillings. Mix powdered sugar and milk together to create a runny icing. Using a spoon, drizzle icing over filled shortbread logs. Cut on the diagonal into pieces once cooled.

No Bake Cookies

27 Apr

So, we’re still on the apartment hunt. Its a little stressful (which probably explains why I’ve just been posting desserts lately) and time consuming. And guess what! After my race which was 9 days ago, I realized that I forgot my running shoes in Utah! They are in the mail now but I haven’t been able to run at all these last few days! How smart am I?! Don’t worry though, I’ve been eating plenty of desserts to give me motivation to run once I get those shoes. Grumble grumble. I am so unimpressed with myself.
I digress.
Anyways, these are the perfect dessert when you’re short on time. You just need a stove top to boil these suckers and voila–10 minutes to a whole huge batch of awesome delectable cookies. The flavor of these is to die for- chocolate and peanut butter, my friends! A deadly combination, in my opinion. And the oats add a great texture as well. YUM.
My husband grew up eating these and they probably are his all time favorites. I usually make regular sized petite cookies and then one huge cookie just for him. I’m such a good wife, aren’t I? I suppose it makes him feel good because he could say “yeah, I only ate one!” HAHA. He doesn’t tell anyone that the cookie was the size of his face. Wow. Anyways, you all really should make these because they are 1. delicious 2. easy 3. fast 4. delicious. Yup! Super good any way you look at it!
No Bake Cookies
yield: at least 30
1/2 cup butter or margerine
1/2 cup milk
2 cups sugar
3 cups oats
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In large pot, bring butter, milk and sugar to boil. Stir while boiling 1 minute. Remove from heat. Quickly stir in remaining ingredients until combined. Immediately scoop into cookies and place on waxed paper or aluminum foil. Allow 5-10 minutes to set and cool.
Recipe TIPS:
-Its a good idea to have all the ingredients you stir into the boiled mixture pre measured, so the process is quick and the cookie ‘batter’ comes together properly.

Chewy Chocolate Fudge Cookies with Peppermint Glaze

2 Apr

What a crazy whirlwind of a week I have had! Last Sunday, my sister and I decided to travel home to Canada to visit our family [specifically my Grandpa–he’s ill 😦 ] We bought our plane tickets that Sunday and left on Wednesday! Thats 3 days! Crazy! Anyways, long story short, my little one and I have been in Canada for the past week visiting, partying, and trying to get over these pesky colds we’ve had. So, we got home yesterday! I am SO SO sorry for not updating my blog! Between traveling, visiting with family, and trying to keep everyone healthy, I haven’t really had loads of time. Plus I forgot my cord that uploads my pictures from my camera to the computer. Smart.

BUT, I’m back now, so I’m going to share with you a recipe that I entered last year into a Healthy Holiday Cookie contest that made it into the finals. Its really tasty and isn’t necessarily a holiday only cookie. I’d eat these any time of year….except for now…..because I’m getting over the stomach flu (did I mention I got the stomach flu on this trip, too?! Yeah, that part wasn’t too fun)
Anyways, these are moist and delectable. Chocolate and peppermint are one of my favorite combinations, too! So good! Not to mention healthy, too! I promise to be up and running like usual come Monday! Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Chewy Chocolate Fudge Cookies with Peppermint Glaze
yield: 36 small cookies
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup grated zucchini, excess water squeezed out

Whip butter, oil and sugars together until fluffy, 2 minutes. Mix in egg, vanilla and grated zucchini. Carefully mix in all dry ingredients until incorporated. Scoop onto greased cookie sheet and bake 7-9 minutes at 350. Delicious warm, or cooled.

For the Icing:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tablespoons milk, depending how runny you want the icing
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Mix all ingredients together in small bowl until smooth in consistency.

Decorate with red sprinkles.
Recipe TIPS:
-If you don’t care so much about these being healthy, then you can substitute 1 whole egg for the egg whites and you can use all white (all-purpose) flour instead of whole wheat flour.

Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough Bites

26 Feb
*Disclaimer: We take no responsibility for any extra weight you may gain from consuming these awfully fabulous sweets. Thank you*

Why did I make these this morning at 10 am and then proceed to eat them all throughout the course of the day? Because they are decadent, delicious, and too good NOT to eat….and because I have problems and no will power, but thats a different story.
Now before you all start freaking out about me eating all that raw egg that will make me die of Salmonella poisoning, no fear! There is absolutely no egg in this recipe. As a matter of fact, there’s no milk, cream or any other substance that could be potentially hazardous to my (or your) health!!….except for all that butter…..and sugar…..and chocolate.
But you can take that up with your hiney. (I had my confrontation at the gym today)
Anyways, I must be on a sugar high because I can only think of desserts and sweet treats to make. So pardon me. But, if you are addicted to sugar (like me!) you will be very pleased with these perfect bites of peace love and happiness. I got this idea from a combination of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and those candies that are called chocolate chip cookie dough bites….or something like that. Its basically just like making chocolate chip cookies except omitting the eggs and the leavenings. Oh, and covering them in chocolate.
Most of the time when I do make chocolate chip cookies, I bake half the dough and I eat/freeze half the dough because I get so sick of baking it all! Well, this way, you’re getting rid of at least half the steps thus decreasing your working time. But honestly, who doesn’t want to just eat the dough anyways? (My father in law makes chocolate chip cookies just to eat the dough. I’m pretty sure there have been times where the oven was never turned on……just sayin’) Well now, you can have no fear of illness after eating these! (Hooray for no eggs!) They are so tasty and so quick to make. The dough literally took me 3 minutes to whip up. If you’re wanting to go over the top, roll out bite sized pieces and dip them in melted chocolate. But, that is totally optional because they truly are great on their own….SEE!:
Perfectly good plain!
Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough Bites
Yield: 45 small
1/2 cup butter, slightly melted and really soft
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (or regular chocolate chips, chopped smaller)
semi sweet chocolate melting wafers
Whip butter with sugars and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Mix in all dry ingredients including chocolate chips until completely combined. Dough should be moist and slightly crumbly. Roll into desired sizes and shapes. Place on baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Store in refrigerator until ready to coat in chocolate. (If you want to keep them plain, refrigerate them 30 minutes or so until they are hard and can retain their shape and transfer them to a ziploc bag.)
Melt chocolate wafers in microwave or over double boiler. Drop dough balls one by one into melted chocolate. Drizzle chocolate over dough to coat and using a spoon, remove chocolate covered balls, attempting to remove any excess chocolate in the process. Place on waxed paper and chill in the refrigerator until firm. Store in an airtight container on the counter or in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Blueberry Streusel Bars with Lemon Cream Filling

28 Jan

I wish I could take credit for these, but I totally found this recipe in an issue of Fine Cooking magazine from July ’08. Please please please try these because they are so delicious and so easy to make! I just couldn’t NOT share the recipe. Enjoy!

Blueberry Streusel Bars with Lemon Cream Filling
Yield: 24 bars
8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened–plus more for the pan
13 1/2 oz. (3 cups) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)
1 1/3 cups packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg, separated
14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 1/2 cups room temperature blueberries (about 13 oz.) washed and drained
Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9 x 13 inch baking pan with foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang on the ends. Lightly butter sides and bottom of the foil.
In large bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Using your fingers, blend the butter completely into the flour mixture. Transfer 2 cups of crumb mixture to another bowl and reserve for topping. Blend the egg white into the remaining crumbs and then press the mixture into the bottom of the pan to form a level crust. Bake crust until it starts to form a dry top, 10 to 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the condensed milk, lemon juice, lemon zest and egg yolk. Let this mixture stand 5 minutes; it will begin to thicken.
Sprinkle blueberries evenly over the hot crust and then drop spoonfuls of the lemon mixture over the blueberries. Spread gently with a spatula to distribute a little more evenly, but take care not to crush the berries. Its fine if the lemon mixture isn’t perfectly even. Bake just until the lemon mixture begins to form a shiny skin, 7 to 8 minutes.
Sprinkle reserved topping over the lemon blueberry layer, pressing streusel between your fingers into small clumps as you sprinkle. Bake until filling is bubbling at the edges and the topping is brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let bars cool in the pan on a rack until just warm, about an hour. Carefully lift them out of the pan using the foil overhang and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Remove foil and cut into 24 bars when cool. May be stored at room temperature for a few hours, but otherwise should be kept in the refrigerator.