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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

Directions:
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!

Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes

4 Jun

Talk about a summery and delicious treat! These double chocolate strawberry shortcakes were just the right amount of sweet, creamy and soft heavenly goodness. I love different textures in my food, so the light and fluffy cream with the juicy cold strawberries on top of the soft and chewy chocolate biscuit was perfect for me. Not over the top sweet either-how I like my desserts….except when I’m pregnant.
When it comes to chocolate, my husband wants it to be super sweet no matter what the context. These chocolate beds weren’t very sweet at all, so my husband thought that by themselves they were a little strange but the whipped cream and strawberries on top made a nice treat. It was a definite delicious change from the same old strawberry shortcakes!
If you are looking for a plain strawberry shortcake recipe, make my cinnamon buttermilk biscuits without the cinnamon. Top it just like these ones and thats it! Plain strawberry shortcakes! Equally delicious and just as easy to make.
Also, if you’re making these for a party or summer cook out, you can make everything in advance. You’d have to store the prepared and cooled biscuits in an air tight container and the strawberries in the fridge. Here’s a great tip too: if you pre whip your cream, it can sometimes deflate, leaving you with a big fat mess. You still can whip it in advance, just sprinkle in some corn starch! About 1 tablespoon for every cup of cream. Store it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve! I’ve done this so many times and it works like a charm. Oh! And a quick side note about the strawberries- I like mine plain, but if you stir in a little sugar then you end up getting a strawberry syrup along with your fruit. So, if you like the syrup with your strawberry shortcakes, then add a little sugar.

Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes
yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup cold butter
1 oz. semi sweet chocolate, cut into chunks
2/3 cup cold whole milk

1 cup heavy cream
4-6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)

1 pint strawberries, washed and sliced
a few sprinkles of sugar (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with non stick cooking spray and set aside. In large bowl, stir all dry ingredients together. Using a pastry cutter or fork, break up butter until coarse texture forms and there are little chunks of butter throughout. Stir in chocolate chunks and milk. Drop by the spoonful onto prepared pan. (I used a cookie scoop and made mini ones, but this should make 8 regular). Bake 8-10 minutes for mini ones and 10-14 minutes for the larger ones. Cool completely before topping with strawberries and cream.
For the cream, whip heavy cream, sugar, vanilla and cornstarch together until firm peaks form. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Cut chocolate biscuits in half horizontally and fill with cream and sliced strawberries. Top with more cream and strawberries and serve! YUM.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

27 May

Its been raining here a lot and there seems to be NO END in sight. It will occasionally stop from time to time but then it just picks right back up again. I don’t know why I feel the need to make soup when the weather gets bad, but there you have it. Maybe its something my Mom did OR maybe its engrained in my DNA or something! That would be cool. Either way, I made a huge pot of delicious soup and you lucky people get the recipe!

It takes around 1 hour to get all the ingredients prepped and cooked. The hardest part is chopping and waiting. And, to keep the calories low, I used fat free half and half, but who am I to tell you to use the fat free stuff. If you need a little pick me up, then use the good stuff OR the even better stuff: cream! You’ll have to take a few things up with your hiney, but its well worth the confrontation.
Also, this recipe calls for a specific kind of wild rice: Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice Original Flavor (6 oz. box that is skinny and orange) It is very important that you use that kind because it comes with a special spice packet that flavors the soup. Well, I don’t want to force you to buy this, but in my opinion you need it to get the same result that I did. It was only $2 or so. That plus chicken stock, carrots, celery and onions doesn’t end up being all that expensive. Splurging on a little rice never hurt anyone! Plus this particular rice in this soup is amazing! After taking his first bite, my husband said “wow….this is delicious!” So, there you have it folks! Get cooking!
Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
yield: 6
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
4 ribs celery, chopped
4 large carrots, peeled and cubed
6 cups good quality chicken broth
3/4 lbs. chicken breasts, cubed
1-6 oz. box Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice
1 1/2 cups half and half (I used fat free)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
plenty of salt and pepper
Directions:
In large pot, heat butter and olive oil. Sautee onions, celery and carrots on medium low heat for 10 minutes to soften. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Pour in chicken broth and cubed raw chicken. Raise temperature to medium high heat to poach chicken in cooking liquid. Once chicken has cooked and become opaque, pour in rice and seasoning packet that came with the rice. Cover and reduce heat to simmer lightly for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. In small bowl, whisk cold half and half with flour until smooth. Pour into soup pot and reduce heat completely to low. Cook 10 minutes or until rice is softened completely and soup has thickened slightly. Taste and season accordingly. Serve hot.

Mother’s Day Recipe : Lemon Cream filled Crepes with Strawberries

8 May
Lemon Crepes with Strawberries, Jam and Mascarpone


Happy early Mother’s Day for all of my faithful followers and other friends that read my blog! I appreciate you guys so much and will show it in giveaways! I’m trying to get some together soon for you guys because I love ya! Really, I do!

So, onto a great recipe…..man oh man is this an awesome recipe for any day of the week, but making it for a Mother’s Day Breakfast in bed would be killer! You would knock it out of the park and get major brownie points for this one! You can’t tell from the picture, but for this breakfast you just make regular crepes and then fill them with this 5 minute lemon cream that is really simple to make. AND THEN, to win them over and impress their socks off, top them off with fresh strawberries! So delicious!

Lemon and strawberries make a great flavor combination but wrapping them all up in a crepe just brings it over the top.
By the way, you have my permission to eat the entire bowl of lemon cream on its own–its that good! YUM.

So, a quick update about us–finally Gordon comes home tonight from his ten day business trip! Hooray! And, we move into our new apartment tomorrow morning! It seems like it has been a long time coming, so we are just thrilled. I’ll have to give you more updates as the weekend progresses or something!
Lemon Cream filled Crepes with Strawberries
yield: 6 large servings
The crepe recipe is found HERE.
Lemon Cream Filling:
1 1/2 packages cream cheese, softened (12 ounces)
1 cup cold whipping cream
1 lemon zested
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lb. fresh strawberries, washed and sliced
Directions:
In a stand mixer, whip cream cheese to soften. With mixer on low, stream in cream. Increase speed and whip 20-30 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl and whip again. Stir in rest of ingredients and whip 2-3 minutes until thick and thoroughly combined. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Fill crepes with fresh strawberries and lemon cream.