Chocolate Chip Cookies

Years ago Matt and I discovered Toll House refrigerated cookie dough. We’d savor it over the course of a week, baking just four pre-made dough discs at a time and enjoying warm cookies fresh from the oven each night.

At some point we realized that we could duplicate (nay, improve upon!) this experience by making and freezing our own homemade cookie dough. No pre-made Toll House discs needed! Now I always keep a stock of frozen dough on hand and we treat ourselves to freshly baked cookies whenever we want.

These homemade cookies are in a totally different league than those old pre-made Toll House cookie dough discs. The bittersweet chocolate chips are melty and rich, the cookie is crisp and flavorful, and the coconut flakes are a pleasant surprise.

Since March I’ve probably made ten batches of these cookies. I struggled with finding some ingredients during the COVID-19 shutdown, so now I’ve accumulated a small stockpile of King Arthur flour, Crisco and Ghirardelli chocolate chips just in case. That may sound a little crazy, but try these cookies and you’ll immediately understand why I’ve become a cookie ingredient hoarder. ūüėĀ

‚Äʬ† Use King Arthur Brand All Purpose Flour for the recipe. I used other brands during Quarantine and the texture of the cookies wasn’t quite right… a little too soft and wet.
‚Äʬ† A kitchen scale makes measuring the dry ingredients super easy. I weigh out the sugars directly into my mixing bowl and the flour into its own small bowl. No measuring cups required! I use and recommend this scale.
‚Äʬ† I mix in the flour, chocolate chips and coconut by hand because adding flour to my KitchenAid mixer always seems to result in a mini flour explosion and mixing by hand is not difficult. But by all means, feel free to use your stand mixer for the final mixing steps if you prefer!
‚Äʬ† For more information on why I refrigerate the cookie dough for 48 hours before freezing it, read this Chilling Cookie Dough article from KAF.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from King Arthur Flour; makes approx. 20 cookies

142g (2/3 c) Brown Sugar
131g (2/3 c) Granulated Sugar
1 stick (1/2 c) Unsalted Butter (straight from the fridge is fine)
1/2 stick (1/2 c) Crisco Vegetable Shortening Stick
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Egg
241g (2 c) King Arthur All Purpose Flour
1 bag (10 oz) Ghirardelli Bittersweet Baking Chips (60% Cacao)
Handful of Shredded Coconut Flakes, Optional

Combine Brown Sugar through Cider Vinegar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until well combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Add the egg and mix for 30 seconds or until well combined.

Remove the mixing bowl from the stand mixer. Using a spatula, mix in the Flour by hand until well combined. Stir in the Chocolate Chips and Coconut, if using. Transfer the dough to a sealed storage container and refrigerate for 48 hours.

To make cookies immediately or straight from the fridge, form cookies into golf-ball-sized balls and bake in a preheated 350¬į oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 8 minutes before serving.

To freeze the cookie dough, leave the dough in the refrigerator for 48 hours, then form the dough into approximately 20 golf-ball-sized cookie balls. Freeze dough balls.

To make cookies directly from the freezer, bake frozen dough in a preheated 350¬į oven for 18 1/2 minutes. Allow to cool for 8 minutes before serving.

When the weather outside is frightful, make peppermint patties!

I woke up last Saturday morning and looked outside to find¬†every tree branch, pine needle, and berry encased in a layer of wet, glistening ice. The 5K I had planned to run had already been postponed until¬†Sunday, so Matt and I decided that we didn’t need to brave the slick roads and instead would spend the¬†entire day at home baking holiday goodies.

I kicked off the bake-a-thon at 10AM by making¬†blueberry-lemon scones for breakfast. ¬†Matt and I¬†then baked¬†a double batch of sugar cookies before launching into the day’s big¬†project: homemade peppermint patties. The goal was to make enough patties to share with our neighbors and friends, and 12 dozen chocolate-dipped treats later I think we succeeded!

Peppermint patties are surprisingly easy to make. Just combine¬†peppermint extract, softened butter, corn syrup, and lots of confectioners sugar. Form this¬†“dough” into balls and press the balls into¬†discs on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Coat with¬†melted chocolate and, voila! You now have¬†homemade peppermint patties!¬†If you’re feeling extra creative, add some green food coloring to the filling or sprinkle the freshly-coated patty with chocolate jimmies. (But a note of warning… don’t get so excited about your batch of green-filling-patties that you totally forget to put the peppermint extract in. I might have done that on my fourth and final batch. Sorry to any neighbor who bites into a green one and realizes that it just tastes like buttercream candy instead of peppermint!) ūüėĀ


Homemade Peppermint Patties
(From Butter With a Side of Bread; makes about 3 dozen patties) Continue reading

Homemade Moose Munch

237 Piper Claus

Merry Christmas! Matt and I¬†spent four of the last six evenings¬†with our families¬†enjoying¬†big, yummy dinners. Piper spent the week looking¬†out the window for the UPS truck… it’s almost like she knows where presents really come from. Smart pup!!

Today we’re unwinding from the holidays with nothing to do except watch¬†a few episodes of Sons of Anarchy and the Eagles game.¬†Sounds like a good Saturday to me!! While the Eagles battle the Redskins on NBC I’m trying to catch up on some long overdue blog posts, starting with this one for¬†a holiday treat that’s perfect for sharing.

052 Caramel Corn

Every year Matt and I make some sort of home made treat for our families and neighbors.  Past holiday goodies include chocolate-dipped coconut cookies, candied nuts, and mint chocolate bark and this year we wanted to find a recipe for something similarly festive, delicious and easy to make in bulk.

After a little online research we settled on homemade “moose munch,” aka¬†caramel corn covered in dark and white chocolate. Matt and I first made caramel corn a few years ago so we were already familiar with the basic concept: pop the corn, boil¬†the caramel, toss with the popcorn and bake for an hour with regular stirring breaks. ¬†Easy enough!

Moose Munch (Chocolate-Drizzled Caramel Corn)
(Adapted from Brownie Bites)

18¬†cups popped popcorn (3 bags of light butter “healthy” microwaved popcorn)
2 cups mixed pecans and peanuts; roughly chop larger nuts if desired
3 cups Brown Sugar, firmly packed
2 1/4 cups Butter (4 1/2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups Light Corn Syrup
1 tablespoon Baking Soda
12 oz. Dark Chocolate Melting Wafers (we used Ghirardelli)
8 oz. White Chocolate Melting Wafers (again, Ghirardelli worked well!)

Preheat oven to 250¬įF. Spread the popped popcorn out on several rimmed baking sheets and/or casserole dishes. The more shallow¬†the layers the better, so try to use the maximum number of trays for your available oven space. Sprinkle the nuts throughout the popcorn.

In a large saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Melt the butter and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. ¬†(Warning: baking soda¬†causes the mixture to expand, so¬†make sure you’re using a large saucepan!)

Pour the warm caramel over the popcorn, distributing evenly between the multiple pans. Use tongs or a spatula to toss the popcorn well until it is evenly coated in caramel. Bake the popcorn for 60 minutes, pausing every 15 minutes to stir each tray.

When the caramel corn has finished cooking, spread the hot popcorn in a single layer on parchment paper. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before proceeding with the chocolate.

044 Caramel Corn

Melt the dark chocolate wafers in a double boiler. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cooled caramel corn with a spoon or fork. Wait 10-15 minutes for the dark chocolate to set, then repeat this process with the white chocolate wafers. Allow the finished moose munch to cool completely, then break into chunks and transfer to gift boxes, bags, or a cookie tin. Save a little for yourself and share the rest with your friends and family!

079 Caramel Corn

…and here’s one more gratuitous Piper pic to finish off the post. I took several¬†photos of her in front of the tree and now that Christmas is over I’m looking for any chance I can get to share them!! ūüėĄ

115 Christmas Piper

Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

Still don’t know what you’re going to bring to that holiday party this weekend?¬† Try these super simple and delicious bite-sized peanut butter brownie bites!¬† They’re made using a regular boxed brownie mix (because being homemade doesn’t mean that it has to be labor intensive) and then topped with melted peanut butter and chocolate chips.¬† Yum!!

Peanut Butter Brownie Bites r

Matt and I made these for a party last weekend and they were a hit.¬† We actually overheard someone exclaim “Ooh! These brownie things are REALLY good!” and, since no one really knew who brought what to the potluck Matt and I just exchanged a happy glance from across the room, acknowledging our boxed brownie mix success.¬† We will definitely make these again!

Overhead Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

Peanut Butter Brownie Bites
(makes 30 bites; recipe adapted slightly from Family Friendly Frugality)

You will need…
1 boxed Brownie Mix (we used Betty Crocker Supreme Triple Chunk!)
Brownie Mix Ingredients (in our case, 1/4 c Water, 1/3 c Vegetable Oil, & 1 Egg)
3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
Mini Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chips

Preheat oven to 325¬įF and lightly grease a 24-ct mini-muffin pan.¬† Mix up the brownie batter according to the mix’s instructions, then spoon batter into the muffin pan until each cup is about 3/4 full.¬† Bake for approximately 14 minutes, just until the centers of the brownie bites have set.¬† A toothpick inserted into the center of a bite should come out slightly coated in batter.¬† Remove from the oven and allow the bites to cool for 15 minutes.¬† Carefully extract the brownie bites from the muffin pan and repeat the above process to finish baking the rest of your batter.

Line up your cooled brownie bites on a large tray or cutting board and gently press the center of each bite down to create a well.  Microwave the peanut butter for 30-60 seconds until melted, then spoon a small amount in the center of each bite.  Top with chocolate and peanut butter chips and, if desired, an extra drizzle of peanut butter.  Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Brownie Bites l

Apple Crisp

It’s October, which means that mornings are starting out clear and cool, evenings are getting darker sooner, leaves are changing colors, and we finally closed the windows in our bedroom (but don’t worry, the heat won’t be on for another few weeks!).¬† You know what else happens in October??¬† APPLE CRISP SEASON!!!¬† Yes, it’s officially the best time of year to enjoy warm, cinnamon-y baked apples with a sugary, spice-filled topping and a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream on top.¬† YUM!!

Apple Crisp

Matt’s dad visits up state New York every fall and inevitably returns with dozens of freshly picked McIntosh apples.¬† When we were at Matt’s parents’ house last weekend we loaded up a big grocery bag full of apples and then set about finding an apple crisp recipe worthy of the season.

Like many of my favorite recipes, the recipe below is from our trusty cookbook, The New Best Recipe.¬† I can’t stress enough how fantastic this cookbook is.¬† It has detailed, easy to understand instructions, long intros about how and why the authors chose certain ingredients or cooking methods, and tons of illustrations.¬† Not that you really need an illustration for apple crisp, but that feature has definitely come in handy for some of the more complicated recipes that we’ve attempted.

Apple Crisp

With this back story in mind, it should come as no surprise that this recipe for apple crisp turned out perfectly.¬† The McIntosh apples melted into a flavorful, applesauce-like filling and the firmer Granny Smiths held their shape and gave the crisp a good texture.¬† There’s just the right amount of tart lemon to offset the sweetness of the apples and the topping was absolutely delectable.¬† In fact it’s making my mouth water right now just looking at the photos!!! ūüôā

Apple Crisp (serves 5-6, from The New Best Recipe)

For the topping…
6 tablespoons Flour
1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Salt
5 tablespoons cold, unsalted Butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup coarsely chopped Almonds, Pecans, or Walnuts (I used sliced almonds)

For the filling…
3 McIntosh Apples, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon Grated Zest and 1 1/2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar

Vanilla Ice Cream

Start by making your topping.¬† Combine the flour, sugars, spices and salt in the bowl of a food processor.¬† Blend for a few seconds to mix.¬† Add in the pieces of butter and pulse the food processor 10 times for 4 seconds each.¬† Don’t overmix the topping.¬† Accordingly to the original recipe, your topping will first look like dry sand, then like coarse cornmeal.¬† Add in the nuts and pulse again 4-5 times for 1 second each.¬† Refrigerate the topping for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the filling.

To make the filling, combine the apples, zest, lemon juice and sugar in a large bowl and mix well to coat the apples.¬† Use a spatula to transfer the apple mixture to a 9-inch deep dish pie plate (make sure to scrap the sides of the bowl to get all of the sugar and lemon flavor!). ūüôā

Sprinkle the chilled topping evenly over the apple mixture.¬† Bake the crisp in a preheated 375¬į oven for 40 minutes, then increase the heat to 400¬į and bake for another 5 minutes until the topping is golden brown.¬† Remove the crisp from the oven and allow it to cool slightly for 10-15 minutes or as long as you can wait… it will smell GREAT at this point!¬† Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

1171 Apple Crisp

Peach and Blueberry Crumble

Back in June Matt and I were on a fruity dessert kick. We made apple and blackberry crumble for my mom and stepfather, strawberry-rhubarb crisp for the entire crew at the hunting camp, and, my favorite, peach and blueberry crumble for Matt‚Äôs parents. I would have shared these delicious desserts on the blog as soon as we made them, but I‚Äôm pretty sure our family members would have killed me if I asked them to sit around waiting for their dessert while I arranged the scoops of ice cream ‚Äújust so‚ÄĚ and took photos for 10 minutes.

So, with the best blogging intentions in mind, last night Matt and I made a batch of peach and blueberry crumble for ourselves just so I could take all the photos I wanted (the things we do for the blog!).¬† ūüôā We used fresh peaches that had been ripening on the counter all week (they smelled SO GOOD!!) and this mouth-watering dessert came together in about 30 minutes plus baking time.

Peach and Blueberry Crumble 1

One note about peeling the peaches ‚Äď in the original recipe Ina Garten suggests immersing the peaches in boiling water and then putting them in cold water to make the skins easier to peel off. We did this the first time we made this recipe (while Matt‚Äôs parents looked on) and the boiling water ‚Äútrick‚ÄĚ didn‚Äôt seem to have any effect on our peach skins at all (it just made a mess of my kitchen!). So, this time Matt just peeled the peaches normally and the recipe worked out just fine.

1133 Peach Crumble

Peach and Blueberry Crumble (from Ina Garten / The Food Network)

Filling Ingredients:
6 to 8 Ripe Peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced into wedges
2 tablespoons Lemon Zest
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 cup Blueberries

Topping Ingredients:
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 lb. (1 stick) Cold Unsalted Butter, diced

Vanilla Ice Cream

Preheat oven to 350¬įF.¬†¬† Combine the peaches, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and flour in a large bowl and mix gently until the dry ingredients are completely dissolved. Fold in the blueberries. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes, then spoon into ramekins. (We used 2 ramekins and spooned the rest into a larger baking dish.)

Combine the topping ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed for 30-90 seconds until the topping is crumbly. If desired, use your fingers to press the mixture to your preferred level of crumbly-ness (I liked the even texture that came straight out of my mixer.) Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filled ramekins.

Place the ramekins on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 15-20 minutes before serving with a big scoop of ice cream on top. Enjoy!

Magic Mint Chocolate Bark

Peppermint Bark was one of the first recipes that Matt and I ever made together.¬† I remember the experience clearly… we were home from college on winter break in my mom’s kitchen and we slaved away over a double-boiler for what seemed like hours until our dark chocolate and white chocolate mixtures reached the perfect level of melted-ness.¬† Then we layered the chocolates (making sure to give the dark chocolate time to set before adding the white) and topped our masterpiece with crushed candy canes.¬† The resulting bark was decadent and well worth our time, but it was not easy to make!

Fast forward to present day…¬† It’s now quite common for Matt and me to spend an hour or two in the kitchen making dinner on a weeknight so that peppermint bark no longer seems like such a daunting task.¬† Nevertheless, we still jump at the chance to make easy recipes every now and then.¬† That’s where this Magic Mint Chocolate Bark comes in.¬† This delicious, fancy-looking bark literally took about 6 minutes to make and no double boilers required!

Magic Mint Chocolate Bark

I first saw this recipe when Anne from posted it a few weeks ago.¬† I immediately decided that we had to make this mint chocolate bark ASAP.¬† Check out Anne’s post on this chocolately treat… she used crushed pretzels in her bark and it looks delicious!

Magic Mint Chocolate Bark

** Magic Mint Chocolate Bark **

(recipe from the back of the Nestle Toll House Dark Chocolate and Mint Morsel bag)

You will need…
Two 10 oz. bags Nestle Toll House Dark Chocolate and Mint Morsels
1 handful Roasted, Salted Almonds, roughly chopped

Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and pour all of the chocolate and mint morsels onto it.¬† Spread the morsels so they are all touching and arranged in a single layer.¬† Place the pan in a preheated 325¬įF oven for 2-3 minutes or until the morsels look wet and shiny.¬† Remove the pan from the oven and immediately swirl the chips together using the end of a butter knife.

Distribute the almonds evenly over the swirled chocolate.¬† To help the almonds sink into the bark, raise the pan about 3″ above the counter and drop it back onto the counter.¬† Repeat this process a few more times.¬† Refrigerate the bark for an hour or until completely cooled.¬† Break into pieces and store in an airtight container in the fridge.¬† Enjoy!

Magic Mint Chocolate Bark

Caramel Corn with Honey-Roasted Peanuts

Last weekend our neighborhood had its annual Fall bonfire party.¬† The food was potluck-style so we initially decided to celebrate the season by making Thai Pumpkin Soup.¬† Then the weather took a crazy turn and it ended up being 85 degrees and humid (very unusual for October in Pennsylvania!) and we quickly realized that no one was going to be in the mood to eat soup.¬† So, at the last minute we changed course and made a nice summery Mediterranean Quinoa Salad instead.¬† We didn’t want to be too healthy though, so we supplemented our potluck offering with some delicious homemade caramel corn!

721 Caramel Corn

This was our first time making caramel corn and I was amazed by how simple it was.¬† Granted, it was a bit labor intensive (we had to stir the popcorn every 15 minutes for an hour and a half) but there were no fancy candy thermometers or gadgets required.¬† Just a wok, some popcorn kernels, butter, sugar, corn syrup and honey roasted peanuts… easy!

We referred to our go-to Asian cookbook, Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, for instructions on how to pop the popcorn in our wok (it’s a great way to season a wok!) and I used this recipe¬† Leite’s Culnaria for the caramel recipe and baking instructions.¬† We threw in some store-bought honey-roasted peanuts to kick the recipe up a notch and I would say that our homemade caramel corn turned out pretty perfect.¬† I think Matt would agree… he couldn’t stop eating it even as I was trying to take this photo!¬† ūüôā

738 Matt steals some caramel corn

Caramel Corn with Honey-Roasted Peanuts (adapted slightly from Leite’s Culinaria)

You will need…
1 cup uncooked Popcorn Kernels, divided
Peanut Oil
1 1/2 sticks Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/3 cup Light Corn Syrup
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 cup Honey Roasted Peanuts

Pop the popcorn kernels.¬† To do this in a wok, heat approx. 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in your wok over medium heat.¬† Put 3-4 kernels in the wok and cover.¬† (For easier clean up, wrap the inside of your wok lid with aluminum foil!)¬† When the test kernels in the wok pop, add in approx. 1/3-1/2 cup of kernels and re-cover.¬† (If test kernels don’t pop, slowly increase the heat until they do, then add in the other kernels.)¬† Shake the wok over the burner to keep it moving as the kernels heat up.¬† In a few minutes the kernels will start to pop.¬† Keep shaking until popping slows down, then carefully tilt the cover open and transfer the popped corn to a large baking dish.

Repeat this process with the remaining kernels until all of your popcorn is popped.¬† You may need to use multiple baking dishes to hold your popcorn… you’ll be stirring it later so it’s better to leave some extra space!¬† Add the honey-roasted peanuts to the popcorn and place in a 200¬įF oven to keep warm.

How to pop popcorn in a wok

Prepare your caramel by heating the butter and sugar over medium heat.¬† Add in the corn syrup and salt and bring to a boil.¬† Allow the mixture to boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.¬† After 5 minutes, remove the mixture from heat and carefully stir in the baking soda.¬† Remove the popcorn from the oven and pour the caramel mixture evenly over the popcorn.¬† Mix well with tongs (don’t worry if every kernel isn’t coated at this point, though) and return the popcorn to the 200¬į oven.

Bake the popcorn for 1 1/2 hours at 200¬įF, stirring and tossing thoroughly every 15 minutes.¬† Allow the popcorn to cool before eating (if you have the willpower to wait!).¬† Enjoy it immediately or store it in an airtight container for as long as it lasts (which won’t be long… it’s delicious!).

Stirring the caramel corn

Above: Caramel Corn during a stirring break.  Below: The finished product!

Caramel Corn

No-Bake Coconut Cream Pie

Hello!¬† I‚Äôve been pretty bad about posting lately but I have a good excuse‚Ķ Matt and I are getting married in 11 days!¬† That means that I‚Äôve been busy making wedding things (place cards, welcome bags, menus, programs, burlap table runners…the list goes on) and doing pre-wedding activities like wine-tasting at our venue, Grace Winery, taking first-dance dance lessons (we‚Äôre doing the rumba!), writing our ceremony and going to dress fittings.¬† Whew!

But, enough about the wedding‚Ķ this post is about PIE!¬† Easy, no-bake coconut cream pie, to be exact.¬† ūüôā¬† This is our second foray into the world of no-bake pies (see our Peanut Butter Cream Pie for the first) and it further solidified our love of these super-simple desserts.¬† We used store bought pie crusts, pudding mix, and cool whip and the whole recipe only took about 20 minutes of ‚Äúactive‚ÄĚ time.¬† Perfect!

Coconut Cream Pie

Easy No-Bake Coconut Cream Pie (from; doubled to make 2 pies)

You will need…
4 ‚Äď 3.4 oz. packages of JELL-O Vanilla Instant Pudding
4 cups Cold 1% Milk
1 ‚Äď 16 oz. container Cool Whip Topping, divided
2 cups Sweetened Coconut Flakes, divided
2 store bought Graham Cracker Pie Crusts

Beat pudding mixes and milk together in a large bowl of a stand mixer for 2 minutes.¬† Mix in about half of the cool whip (approx. 2 cups) and 1 ¬Ĺ cups of the coconut.¬† Pour the mixture into the two pie crusts and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until the pudding is set.¬† Store the remaining Cool Whip in the refrigerator (not the freezer) so that it will be spreadable later.

While the pudding sets, spread the remaining coconut out onto a baking sheet and toast in a preheated 350¬įF oven for 10-15 minutes.¬† Check on the coconut frequently and stir it to keep from burning on the edges.¬† The coconut is done when it turns golden brown.

Take the two pies and the Cool Whip out of the fridge and top each pie with the remaining Cool Whip.  Sprinkle the toasted coconut over top and enjoy!

Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie Slice

Whoopie Pies!

We’re home from Las Vegas so it’s time for more holiday recipe catch-up.¬† Next up on the list: homemade whoopie pies!

Whoopie Pies

We spent the last hours of 2012 at a New Year’s Eve Extravaganza and Celebrity-Themed Potluck hosted by Kristen from Swig O Sunshine.¬† The rules of the potluck were simple: bring a dish with a celebrity-named twist.¬† Matt and I were determined to come up with a fun contribution and, after weeks of bouncing around ideas we chose Whoopi Goldberg Pies with Leonardo diCappucino Filling.¬† (We previously wanted to make Twice-Baked Channing Taters but the logistics of keeping cheesy ‘taters warm until midnight ultimately pushed us in the dessert direction instead!)¬† Other cleverly-named treats at the party included Guacy Balboa guacamole, Honey Brie-Brie baked brie, Brad Pittzelle cookies (with and without Jennifer¬†Anise-ton!), Bernie Mac and Cheese, and several Kevin Bacon-themed goodies.

This was our first attempt at making whoopie pies but, thanks to the classic recipes in this whoopie-filled cookbook they turned out great!¬† We followed the recipe exactly (right down to using vegetable shortening instead of butter in the filling) and then we added the necessary diCappucino flair with some powered instant cappucino.¬† The instant cappucino didn’t have a super strong flavor so if we were going to make the coffee-flavored filling again we might try instant espresso instead for a little more kick.

I made this sign to go along with our 'whoopi' pies at the potluck dinner.

I used cartoon faces and photoshop to make a sign that illustrated the celebrities that inspired this dessert at the potluck dinner.

Whoopi Goldberg Pies with Leonardo diCappucino Filling (from Whoopie Pies)

Ingredients for the Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pie…
1 2/3 cups All-Purpose Flour
2/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons Vegetable Shortening
1 cup packed Dark Brown Sugar (we used Dark Muscovado Sugar)
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup Milk

Ingredients for the Classic Marshmallow Filling…
1 1/2 cup Marshmallow Fluff
1 1/4 cup Vegetable Shortening
1 cup Confectioner’s Sugar
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract (to turn this into “diCappuncino” filling, substitute in 1 tablespoon Instant Espresso that’s been dissolved into 1 tablespoon warm water instead of the vanilla)

To make the pies, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  In a stand mixer, combine the butter, shortening, and brown sugar on low speed, then increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.

Slowly add the flour mixture and the milk and and mix on low to thoroughly combine.¬† Scrap a spatula down the sides of the bowl to loosen any dry ingredients and then beat until completely combined.¬† Use a spoon to drop batter in 1 or 2 tablespoon increments 2 or 3 inches apart onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.¬† (We used 2-tbsp scoops which resulted in about 26 3.5″ pie halves; go smaller for more but just be consistent since they’ll need to fit together later!)¬† Bake the pies on the center rack of a preheated 375¬į oven for about 10 minutes for 1 tbsp pies or 12-13 minutes for 2 tbsp pies.¬† Remove from oven and allow to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to racks to cool.

Whoopie Pies ready for filling

To make the filling, beat together the marshmallow fluff and vegetable shortening for approximately 3 minutes.¬† Start on low speed and increase to medium until the mixture is smooth and fluffy.¬† Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla (or espresso!) and mix until incorporated.¬† Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes until the mixture is fluffy.

Once the pies are completely cooled arrange them in pairs with one flat side facing up as shown in the above photo.  Place a generous amount of filling to the flat side of the pie by either spooning the filling on or using a pastry bag for a more polished look.  Top the filled pies with the other pie halves and enjoy!

Whoopie Pies 2