Chocolate Pecan Pie

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I’ve obtained several cookbooks and baking books since I got married 6 and a half years ago. During the days of low carb dieting in my past, I would peruse longingly through the beautiful pictures in the Barefoot Contessa’s cookbook series or Taste of Home magazines. It was cathartic in a strange, carb-obsessed way. However, now the “dark ages” without carbs are only a distant memory (bread is the meaning of life), and my culinary literature collection continues to grow.

I love all the books on my shelves, but there is only one that I have of which I want to make every single recipe. That book? Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. Talk about sensory overload. Everything sounds, looks, and reads positively scrumptrulescent. It’s really quite overwhelming. Even better, since owning this precious classic, every recipe of Dorie’s that I have made has become an instant favorite of mine. She really knows her stuff.

The most recent recipe of hers that I have made is her chocolate pecan pie. I happened to have a leftover pie crust in my fridge a few weeks ago and the urge to bake hit me on a Sunday afternoon. This pie popped into my mind as I had been thinking of making it for awhile, and away I went. The end result was a nice spin on what I consider traditional pecan pie. The chocolate and cinnamon are a really delicious addition and this treat would be a great addition to any Thanksgiving menu (well, actually, not great for people with nut allergies so check on that first!).  It would be even better with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Printable Version

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 9-inch single pie crust
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (7 ounces) pecan halves or pieces
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used chocolate chips because I didn’t have baking chocolate)

Directions

1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a pie plate on a cookie sheet lined with parchment  paper and set aside.

2. Whisk together the corn syrup and brown sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Carefully whisk in the butter, followed by the eggs (one at a time) until well-combined. Next, add in the cinnamon, vanilla, and salt and stir to incorporate. Tap the bowl against the counter to remove air bubbles and then mix in the chocolate and pecans.

3. Carefully roll out the pie crust and gently mold into the pie plate. Pour the filling into the crust and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. While the pie is baking for the first 15 minutes, make a foils shield for the crust by cutting out the center of a 12 inch square of aluminum foil (directions here).

4. After the first 15 minutes of baking, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and place the foil shield on top of the pie crust to prevent over-browning. Bake the pie for an additional 2o minutes, or until the pie no longer jiggles when gently tapped. Remove the pie from the oven and cool on a baking rack until it reaches room temperature.

SourceBaking: From My Home to Yours by: Dorie Greenspan

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

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Last Friday night I was procrastinating and not cleaning our house before Robert’s parents arrived, so I decided to make some homemade Easter Peeps from a recipe I found on Pinterest. It was a gloriously fun time. I was singing my own made up songs (“Everybody Chunk Out Tonight,” sung to the tune of “Everybody Wang Chung Tonight,” is my current personal chart topper) and life was grand. Then I became a little impatient. Instead of letting the candy fluff cool, I decided to just keep things moving along and pipe it. It didn’t go well. My visions of beautiful, hand-crafted Peeps turned out looking like neon blobs of dog excrement in reality.

Nailed it. 

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So instead of putting peeps on the blog today, I made carrot cake whoopie pies. Fortunately, these cookies are a delightful spring treat. They’re chocked full of shredded carrots and a great spicy blend of cinnnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Because my Peeps were an utter failure, I am bringing these bad boys home for Easter instead. When one door closes, another opens.

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Happy Easter, everyone!

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Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

Printable Version

Yield: About 16 cookie sandwiches

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots

For the filling

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp milk or heavy cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Set aside 3 cookie sheets lined with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

2. Place the butter and sugars in a bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, spices, soda, powder, and salt in a separate medium bowl. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn it back on at low speed and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in the vanilla. Carefully add the dry ingredients, about 1/2 cup at a time,  and beat just until combined.  Lastly, add in the grated carrots and mix until just mixed.

3. Using a small 1.5 inch cookie scoop to place the batter evenly onto the cookie sheets, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart.  Use your fingers to lightly press down on the dough to ensure a smoother cookie. Bake for about 12-14 minutes, or until the cookies spring back when gently pressed. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to parchment paper to cool completely.

4. To make the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the milk and vanilla and beat well. Gradually add the powdered sugar until the frosting is well mixed.

5. Spread or pipe the frosting onto the flat side of one of the cookies. Place the flat side of another cookie on the icing and store in an air-tight container in the fridge or freezer.

Source: Cookies- Tracey’s Culinary Adventures; Filling- Old Thyme Cookbook

Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

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I adore Valentine’s Day. The colors, the excessive hearts, the candy. It’s all glorious. But I don’t just view this as a holiday for couples, I see it as a day to celebrate all of the people you love in your life (I know, I know- it sounds sickeningly cloying, but it’s really how I feel). I decided to celebrate by baking these cookies while listening to my eclectic Pandora radio stations. It was a good Saturday, folks.

I first eyed this marbling method with royal icing last year, and I’ve been waiting to try it ever since. I’ve had some practice with decorating sugar cookies (with my favorite sugar cookie and royal icing recipe), but I still have a lot to learn. What I have picked up so far is that it’s most important to plan ahead.  Most sugar cookie doughs require at least some chilling time and the royal icing is stable enough to be made a few days in advance. It’s also helpful to have all of the tools you need ready to go to make the process as efficient as possible.

Here’s what I like to use:

  • Disposable piping bags
  • Round piping tips
  • Good quality food coloring (I use Wilton or Americolor)
  • Plastic squeeze bottles (for flooding icing)
  • Toothpicks
  • Plastic containers with lids (for icing storage)
  • Baking racks

And here is how I decorated the cookies:

1. Outline the cookies

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2. Thin the icing with water and flood

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3. Pipe dots

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4. Drag a toothpick through the dots

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5. Allow cookies to dry completely and enjoy :)

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Source: Decorating method vis Annie’s Eats

Soft Sugar Cookies

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My mom has a Christmas scrapbook that she has been updating for the past 25+ Christmases. Every year she puts it out on my parents’ coffee table and I love to peruse through it. There are lots of pictures of my siblings and me, bleary-eyed and full of excitement at the anticipation of Santa’s arrival. When I see those snapshots frozen in time, I can still remember how we felt at those very moments. The holidays bring about such strong memories and the old soul in me loves to recount the stories.

When my sister and I got married, my mom gave us a similar scrapbook for each of us to fill out as we start our traditions with our own families. We only have a few pages filled out, and I am looking forward to seeing what will fill future pages of our scrapbook. I have a feeling these soft sugar cookies may be a recurring guest.

These cookies are a new to me, even though the recipe has been circulating around food blogs for several months. They are the type of cookie that becomes a family favorite and, in my opinion, the ideal treat to leave out for Santa. The cookies are perfectly soft without being too delicate and the vanilla flavor really shines through. I’ve made these cookies several times now and I know I will be making them in Christmas future.

Merry Christmas! May all your days be merry and bright.

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Soft Sugar Cookies

Yield: About 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

Ingredients:
For the cookies

  • 4½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the frosting

  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoon) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 7-8 tablespoon milk
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Sprinkles (optional)

Directions

1. Make the dough ahead of time: beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in the vanilla and mix until combined.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly add the flour to the butter mixture, just until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure the dough is evenly mixed. Chill the dough for a hour.

3. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Use a 2 inch ice cream scoop, roll into a ball, and flatten the ball slightly and place on the baking sheets. Space the cookies at least 2 inches apart. Bake about 10-12 minutes or just until set. Be careful not to overbake – they should barely browned on the bottom. Let cool on the baking sheet for several minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

4. To make the icing, place the sifted confectioner’s sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk in the melted butter, vanilla, and milk and mix until smooth. Add more milk as needed. Use desired food coloring to make the icing extra festive. Frost cooled cookies and decorate with sprinkles.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from Hostess with the Mostess

Gingerbread Graham Crackers & Gingerbread Houses

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I made a few adjustments to my favorite graham cracker recipe to make it more festive for the Christmas goodies I sent out this year. Instead of honey, I used molasses and I added in grounder ginger and cloves for a little extra spice. The result was a crispy and a little bit crunchy cookie that I will be definitely be making again.

These gingerbread graham crackers are great with coffee or they would be even more wonderful as the base for holiday-inspired s’mores- perhaps with peppermint marshmallows or Andes mints or a peppermint patty? Oh man… already brainstorming for next year! Another bonus- they’re sturdy enough to be sent in the mail and they also freeze well.

Now- onto the next topic…

Two of my favorite girlfriends and I got together to decorate gingerbread houses a few weekends ago; because, as you can see, we are wild and crazy twenty-somethings living life in the fast lane.  Jess invited Chelsea and me over to live it up and we had a fabulous afternoon listening to Christmas music and overdosing on sugary candy while we created our masterpieces.

Jess so graciously made the gingerbread framework for us. She’s an expert gingerbread builder… and a hard-core icing piper (if that’s a word?).

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The key to a good gingerbread house, and a good sugar coma, is a wide variety of candy.

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Chelsea and her home. Chelsea is supermodel beautiful, intelligent, thoughtful, my favorite carpool buddy/navigator and she recently acquired the ability to fix a kitchen sink. This girl’s a jack of all trades. I’m so lucky to have her in my life.

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Jessica: she’s outgoing,  gorgeous, fun-loving, adventurous, a hardworking go-getter, and my Broadway musical mentor. As you can see, she’s also a fabulous hostess and baker/chef. A wonderful friend, indeed.

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How sweet it is to be friends with these women. They truly enrich my life and I am so very thankful for them.

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Gingerbread Graham Crackers

Printable version

 

Yield: About 2 dozen graham crackers

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups whole wheat graham flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • cinnamon sugar (1 teaspoon cinnamon/3 tablespoons sugar), for sprinkling (if desired)

Directions

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy- about 2 minutes. Slowly add in the molasses and mix until combined.

2. Whisk together the flours, soda, salt, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead together into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days.

3. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. Make the cinnamon sugar in a small bowl.

4. Unwrap the dough and roll it out on a lightly-floured until about 1/8 inch thick. Use your prefered cookie cutter shape to cut out the cookies. Place them on the baking sheets, about 1 inch apart, and poke with a fork. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake another 5-6 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for 3 months.

Source: Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, originally from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones

Chocolate Chunk Espresso Cookies

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You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why: Christmas cookie baking is in full swing. Woohoo! I spent a good amount of this last weekend in a kitchen whirlwind and these chocolate chunk espresso cookies were one of the first items that popped out of the oven.

While they aren’t a traditional Christmas cookie, they are definitely something to celebrate. The flavor of chocolate (as the Barefoot Contessa will tell us) is amplified with two flavors: vanilla and coffee; and these cookies have both. The coffee flavor comes from espresso powder, which can usually be found in the coffee section of most grocery stores (I used Megdalia D’oro).

These bad boys are rich, dense, and go fabulously with a chilled glass of milk. Leave them under the tree on Christmas eve and Santa will surely lick the plate clean.

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Chocolate Chunk Espresso Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, plus one large egg yolk
  • 7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces white chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a small bowl mix together the espresso powder and vanilla. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the egg and egg yolk, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix in the vanilla/espresso mix and beat until well-combined.

4. Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt) in a medium-sized bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until just combined. Gradually fold in the chocolate pieces.

5. Drop the dough in even spoonfuls (I used a 1.5 inch ice cream scoop) onto the cookie sheets and flatten slightly with your hand. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cookies are just set. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack before transferring to parchment paper to cool completely.

6. Store in an airtight container for 1 week or freeze for 3 months.

Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart

Thanksgiving Recap

This past Thanksgiving weekend, Robert and I invited our immediate families to our house for a celebratory feast. I was much more organized and less frazzled this year and we had a glorious time. I’ve discovered one of the best things about holidays is the anticipation. The shopping and food preparation, the getting spare rooms ready and the house cleaned, the getting out of work early- it all adds to the excitement. We had a total of twelve people for the meal and everything went off without much fuss. The only snafu manifested in the mashed potatoes as I made them Wednesday night and they somehow turned sour by the next morning. There was no need to stress, though, because my superhero mother-in-law swooped in to save the day (along with Robert and my dad, who valiantly peeled potatoes).

Although I wanted to scale things back this year, it didn’t happen (as my sister so lovingly pointed out). Oh well- I guess sometimes the best way to show thankfulness is by consuming extreme amounts of carbs.

Our menu included:

Dinner

Dessert

And here are a few snapshots from the weekend…

Early morning bird prepping. You know, manly stuff

Someday I’m hoping to have a real dining room :)

Superstar in-laws

And, I just couldn’t go without including lots of Jack pictures…

And just like that, Thanksgiving is over and we are running full speed ahead into the Christmas season. I hope you had a chance to reflect on the good things in your life!

Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Root Vegetables & Cooking with Jess

How is that for a long title?

This past weekend, Jess and Greg came over for dinner and what seems like forever since Jess and I last got together for a “Cooking with Jess” segment. What can I say, we are busy folks. But, then again, who isn’t this time of year?

As always, Jess and I had a lovely time together and the food was equally wonderful. It’s not always easy to get together and sometimes it feels like there just isn’t enough time in the day, but I’m always glad when we make it happen.

The menu consisted of mostly fall-inspired foods (with the exception of Jess’s tasty strawberry daiquiri shortcakes for dessert). In addition to the scrumptious dessert, we had classic pot roast, pumpkin soup, and wheat berry salad with roasted root vegetables. I had been eyeying the wheat berry salad recipe as a possible Thanksgiving side dish for a few weeks; and, after gentle coaxing from my Aunt Khaki, decided to include it on our holiday menu.

I could think of no better occasion to give the recipe a test run than cooking with my like-minded culinary friend, Jess.

Wheat berries, also known as Farro (as Khaki so lovingly educated me), are pine nut-sized Italian whole grains that are- in my opinion-a delicious hybrid between rice and pasta. It was somewhat tricky for me to find Farro as my usual grocery store didn’t carry it. I ended up getting it at Giant Eagle in the international section after nearly giving up hope. It tastes great cold or warm and it is even better in this salad with roasted sweet potatoes, parsnips, onions, pine nuts, and goat cheese. Although it’s not exactly traditional, I am looking forward to adding this to the table next Thursday.

Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Root Vegetables

Yield 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups wheat berries (farro)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup  dried cranberries or cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2-3 ounces goat cheese, chopped

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and lightly grease with spray oil. Set aside.

2. Place 2 quarts water in a medium pot. Add in about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Add in the bay leaves and wheat berries. Cook until chewy and tender, about 40 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, place the chopped vegetables on the foil-lined baking sheet. Toss lightly with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

4. When the wheat berries are done cooking, drain well and place in a large bowl. Add in the olive oil,cranberries, pine nuts, goat cheese, and roasted vegetables. Stir gently to combine (the goat cheese will melt into delicious creaminess). Serve hot or cold.

Source: Adapted from David Lebovitz

Homemade Pie Dough

It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is just over a month away. We’re having a meal at our house again this year and I’ve been thinking of scaling things back a bit because I always feel like I consumed a block of lead after the marathon day of eating; and it would be nice to not be in a total food coma for the entire extended weekend. It probably isn’t necessary to have 6 different desserts after eating a huge meal, but the jury’s still out on that.

One thing’s for sure and that is that I will be making some sort of pie- whether it be pecan, apple, or pumpkin. You can’t have Thanksgiving without pie. I believe it is in the Constitution. Every great pie comes with a great crust. I used to be intimidated of making my own crust until I found this recipe from Martha Stewart and discovered how simple it really is. All you need is butter, flour, sugar, salt, and ice water. Her recipe uses a food processor, but it can be done with a pastry cutter or an electric mixer if you don’t own a food processor (although, I highly recommend them!). This pie is perfect for both sweet and savory pies and is delightfully buttery and flaky.

If you feel like getting a jump start before Turkey day arrives, this dough can be frozen for up to a month.

Pie Dough (Pate Brisee)

Yield: 1 double-crust or 2 single crusts for 9 inch pans

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter chilled and cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Directions

1. Pulse the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Pulse until combined.

2. Cut the butter into cubes and place in the food processor.

3. Pulse until the mixture resembles oatmeal flakes.

4. With the machine running, slowly add the ice water until the dough just comes together (don’t mix for more than 30 seconds).

5. Divide the dough onto two separate pieces of plastic. Wrap into flattened discs. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour before using or freeze for up to 1 month.

Source: Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Awww yeah- it’s the week before Valentine’s day and pink and red hearts are flooding my thoughts and dreams. While I don’t consider myself a girlie girl who likes chick flicks  and princessey (I’ve decided to make that a word) stuff, I absolutely adore Valentine’s Day. Mostly because I love chocolate. And baking. And, of course, my wonderful husband Robert. :)

To kick off the Valentine’s day celebrations, I made these red velvet whoopie pies. Two cakey red cookies are filled with a rich cream cheese frosting for a fun twist on a special dessert.

Whether or not you are celebrating this Valentine’s day with a special someone, it’s always nice to have a little heart-shaped treat to help remind us of the people in our lives that we love, be it our moms, dads, siblings, friends, partners, or even pets. Love is in the air. :)

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Printable Version

Yield: About 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

For the cookies:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 oz red food coloring, more or less depending on how red you want the batter to be (I used Americolor food coloring)

For the frosting:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa power, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy- about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, add in the egg, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add in the vanilla and mix until combined.

4. Gradually add in the flour mixture and the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined.

5. Add in the food coloring and stir until mixed evenly. Do not overmix!

6. Transfer the batter to a piping bag with a large round pastry tip (I used Wilton #12 tip).

7. Pipe hearts onto the baking sheets, keeping them about 2 inches apart. Smooth down the top of the batter with a greased knife.

8. Bake for 7-9 minutes, remove from the oven, transfer to baking racks,  and allow to cool completely.

9. To make the frosting, whip together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and mix until combined. Gradually add in the powdered sugar until smooth. Transfer to a piping bag.

10. Pipe frosting onto the flat-sided cookie of each pair, leaving the edges clear.  Sandwich the cookies together so the flat sides are facing each other and press gently to help the filling reach the edges.  Refrigerate or freeze in an airtight container.

Source: Annie’s Eats