Monthly Archives: November 2011

Some Things Should Always Stick Together – Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

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Old friends are kind of amazing. They’ll remember your birthday without looking at Facebook. They know your dog’s name from growing up and the result of every game of truth or dare you’ve ever played together. These are the kind of friends you can always laugh at yourself with – and especially laugh at each other with. And with the risk of sounding too cheesy, let me get on with my story.

I happen to have these kinds of friends – some of whom I’ve known since I was born, one whom I found on the playground playing with a calculator and befriended…and others whom I met in high school and are far too normal to be friends with us but are anyways. We all get busy, we forget to catch up and some of us even move away. But we try our best to stick together.

I decided to organize a reunion with my friends from junior high and high school, and it was long overdue. Since I was hosting, I wanted to impress my guests by debuting a new recipe or two. I decided pumpkin would be the easiest seasonal flavor, ( because when is it not?) and since I was sick of the usual cupcakes, whoopie pies it would be. I told my guests that dinner wouldn’t be served. Although, these are cookie sandwiches…so that’s sort of a meal, right?

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Crave.Indulge.Satisfy 

1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1.5 cups pumpkin puree, chilled (this will prevent batter from spreading when baking)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together until combined.
  3. Mix together oil, sugars, vanilla and egg in a large bowl. Then mix in the pumpkin puree.
  4. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop or a spoon, scoop balls of dough onto the pan. Make sure they are all evenly sized so you can sandwich the cookies together. Push the dough down a bit on the pan. Note: I’ve realized that most people aren’t that cool with eating two cookies AND a ton of frosting, so make these cookies very small so they aren’t too intimidating.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cookies are thoroughly cooked in the center. Allow them to cool before removing from the pan or frosting them.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz. whipped cream cheese
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 cups confectioners sugar (you can add more if it isn’t sweet enough for you)
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Cream together cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer. Then , slowly incorporate the powdered sugar. Finally, mix in the vanilla and cinnamon. When the cookies are cooled, spread the frosting on the bottom of each cookie, and sandwich the same-sized cookies together.

Check out that frosting to cookie ratio. The whoopie pies, along with the reunion, were a big success. Who doesn’t love red wine, baked brie and cream cheese frosting? It was quite the collection of food, old stories and a diary excerpt that had most of us laughing to tears. Another big laugh – this giant cupcake that looks like it belongs on CakeWrecks.com.

Yeah, GBN 2006. Let’s just say it tasted better than it looked.

Best Friend Blondies

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It doesn’t get any easier than blondies. Unless, of course, you make a trip to the bakery, there just isn’t anything you can whip up faster. Cookies require creaming butter and sugar, cakes require frosting and Funfetti – while amazing in its own right – can get messed up, too (I’ve seen it with my own eyes). My favorite part of these cookie bars is that you can customize them with the mix-in of your choice. Espresso, Oreos, M&Ms…whatever.

Enter the best friend blondie. My Facebook wife, Staci, was visiting last weekend and (obviously) I had to whip something together with little time. She loves peanut butter, so I opted for these Peanut Butter Cup Blondies. They looked ridiculously amazing and easy to make – and they were.

Best Friend Blondies
Adapted from Alida’s Kitchen

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
About 8 peanut butter cups, quartered and frozen**

**This number is approximate – add as many or as few as you want. You can also cut the minis in half. If you don’t have time to freeze the peanut butter cups, be sure to add them on top instead of folding them into the batter if you want it to look pretty.

 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, and spray and 9X9 pan.
  2. Melt butter on stovetop until slightly browned. Be careful not to burn it. Put it to the side to cool.
  3. Mix together flour, baking powder, sugars and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk eggs. Then, mix in peanut butter, butter, milk and vanilla. Peanut butter won’t be fully mixed in, but that’s okay.
  5. Mix wet mixture into dry slowly until well combined with no lumps.
  6. Carefully fold the peanut butter cups in. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Once they’re done, I’d recommend leaving them in the pan until you’re ready to serve or consume (them all yourself) to maintain freshness. Also, I’d recommend not eating a bowl of peanut butter foam and a gigantic piece of carrot cake before breaking out these bars. They just taste better without these dessert appetizers.
So did she like them? I would say so.
No, mom – there was never beer in any of those extremely large cups.