Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

carrot cake whoopie pies

What is Easter without carrot cake?  At least, those were my thoughts for this dessert.  Yesterday was my son’s daycare easter party.  So, I thought these whoopie pies would be a fitting dessert to bring.  Bunnies like carrots after all. Ha!

carrot cake whoopie pies

These whoopie pies are moist, perfectly spiced and delicious.  And of course, you can’t forget about the cream cheese filling!  These are a simple bite-sized treat to make if you don’t feel like making an entire cake.  These make a wonderful treat, no matter what time of year!

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

Yield: about 14 sandwich cookies

For the cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup shredded carrots

For the filling

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, cold
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  Whisk to combine.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the brown sugar and butter.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the egg and the vanilla extract.  With the mixer on low speed, blend in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Stir in the oats and grated carrot just until evenly mixed in.

Scoop a small amount of dough out onto the prepared baking sheets spacing about 2 inches apart.  Place in the preheated oven and bake until the cookies are just set and lightly browned, about 14 minutes total.  Let cool on the baking sheets a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling; combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Add in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract and mix on low speed just until incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 4-5 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip.  To assemble, pair the cookies up by size.  Pipe a small round of frosting onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair, and sandwich together with the remaining cookie.

Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats, original cookie adapted from Martha Stewart, frosting adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Last week, my son’s daycare had their Valentine’s Day party. I always get excited for these parties because it gives me the perfect opportunity to make themed desserts. The first thing that came to mind were these whoopie pies. I have been wanting to make them for ages, but never had the opportunity. I mean really, valentine’s day just shouts red velvet! (Sorry it’s after the holiday!)

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

These were DE-licious. Just a hint of chocolate while still boasting the red color. And don’t even get me started on the cream cheese filling. Perfection! It’s my favorite. These are the perfect treat to make, well, any time of the year!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Yield: about 18 sandwich cookies

For the cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  •  red food coloring

For the frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the egg until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Blend in the vanilla extract.  Mix in the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Do not overbeat.  Blend in the food coloring.

Scoop the batter with a small cookie scoop onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until the tops are set, rotating the baking sheets halfway through.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets at least 10 minutes, until they can be easily transferred to a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely before frosting.

To make the cream cheese frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.

Transfer the frosting to a clean pastry bag fitted with a plain, round tip. (Alternatively, spread with a flat knife or spatula.) Pair the cookies up by shape and size. Frost one flat side of each pair. Then sandwich the cookies together and gently press down until the filling reaches the edges. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Source: Annie’s Eats, cookies originally adapted from Better Homes and Gardens 2008, and frosting adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Has everyone made their Valentine’s Day plans?  What do you all do?  Stay in? Go out?  Do something romantic?  As I’ve said before, my husband and I don’t really celebrate the day. We generally exchange cards, but that’s as far as it goes.  I’m not saying I wouldn’t mind going out to eat! But, with three kids and one of them exclusively breast feeding, it’s a lot of work to find a sitter and pump enough milk. And, I’d rather dote upon my husband on his birthday, the day before (today!) instead.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies2

My daughter’s kindergarten class has a Valentine’s Day party today. Of course I offered to make something sweet. These chocolate sugar cookies came to mind immediately.  Royal icing brings cookie decorating to the next level.  How cute are those hearts!  Why have chocolate sugar cookies not become a really popular thing? Or maybe they have, and I missed it. These cookies are incredibly simple, but still delicious. Chocolately, buttery yumminess. These cookies make a great treat for Valentine’s Day. Or any time of the year, really. You still have time to decorate with royal frosting if you make these today! If you need an awesome tutorial for royal icing decorating, check out Annie’s Eats.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies3

Chocolate Sugar Cookies4

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Yield: about 2 dozen cookies when using a larger cookie cutter

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt, set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the eggs and vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated and no streaks remain.  Form the dough into a disc, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1-2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness.  Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters and place cut outs on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes, just until set.  Let cool on the baking sheet about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Decorate as desired.

Source: Annie’s Eats, via Martha Stewart

Raspberry Cobbler with Dark Chocolate Biscuits

raspberry cobbler with dark chocolate biscuits

With Valentine’s Day coming next weekend, we can’t forget about a few dessert ideas!  My husband and I tend not to celebrate the day. It’s the day after his birthday, which I like to celebrate more.  But, that doesn’t mean I can’t bake a few Valentine themed desserts! Hearts make everything cuter, don’t you think?

raspberry cobbler with dark chocolate biscuits

Chocolate and raspberries are one of my favorite combinations. Well, that and chocolate with orange. Something about that fruity taste with chocolate makes me super happy. This cobbler is no exception. The “biscuits” are super chocolatey, with the slightly sweet raspberries. Topped with vanilla ice cream and we are in business! This is the perfect treat to whip up for that loved one in your life. Or, maybe just for yourself!

raspberry cobbler with dark chocolate biscuits

Raspberry Cobbler with Dark Chocolate Biscuits

Yield: 6 servings

For the filling:

  • 24 oz. frozen raspberries
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoons vanilla extract

For the biscuits:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 oz. coarsely chopped semi-sweet chocolate

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.  Lightly grease a 2 to 2.5 quart baking dish. In the dish, combine the raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla.  Fold together gently with a spatula until evenly mixed.  Transfer to the oven and bake 10 minutes without the topping.

Meanwhile, make the biscuits.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, and salt.  Whisk to blend.  Toss the butter pieces in with the dry ingredients until coated.  Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture is crumbly and the largest butter pieces are the size of small peas.  Stir in the buttermilk and mix gently with a fork until a dough begins to form.  Knead together gently, just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.  Gently fold in the chopped chocolate.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat down into an even layer about 1 inch thick.  Use a cookie cutter to cut out heart-shaped biscuits, re-rolling dough scraps if needed.

Add the biscuits to the warmed fruit and return the baking dish to the oven.  Bake about 15-20 minutes more, until the fruit mixture is bubbling and the biscuits are just set and baked through.  Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Source: Barely adapted from Annie’s Eats

Peppermint Ice Cream

Peppermint Ice Cream

Phew, the holidays are over. It’s amazing how every year it is such a mad rush from October to January. Especially when you have kids. And we aren’t big social people, so we don’t host any parties. Even with not hosting parties, things are still crazy. We always have plenty of parties through school or day care. And of course getting together with family. As much as I love all the chaos, I do look forward to slow January. There are always plenty of cold-weather activities to keep us occupied!

Peppermint Ice Cream

What are everyone’s New Year plans? Do you throw a big party and watch the ball drop? Do you go out on the town with friends or family? My goal is to go to bed as early as possible- ha! I guess that’s what happens when you are a mother of three small children, baby included. Sleep is my best friend. When I can get it, I take advantage of it! I always enjoy reflecting on past New Year’s. So many great times celebrated in different parts of the world! Ah, to be young and carefree.

Anyway.

On to this fabulous ice cream. When I was a kid, peppermint stick ice cream was my absolute favorite. I got it every time I went to an ice cream shop. Every. Single. Time. As I got older, my preferences and tastes changed. Cookie dough moved up into my number one spot and peppermint stick was forgotten over time. I hadn’t thought about it for years until I recently made chocolate peppermint ice cream. Then I got thinking, why not make it with left over candy canes from the tree with vanilla ice cream? Light bulb! (Yes, I just made a Despicable Me reference.)

This ice cream is perfection. It is rich and creamy vanilla with crushed candy canes swirled in. The candy canes melt into the ice cream, making it a beautiful pink and distributing the flavor. I wish I had more candy canes because I would make another batch! This is a great way to use up those candy canes hanging out on your tree. If your tree is still up, that is. This is a wonderful, refreshing dessert that any peppermint lover would enjoy.

Peppermint Ice Cream

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half
  • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes

Directions

To make the ice cream, whisk together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of the milk in a small bowl to create a slurry

In a large bowl or plastic container, mix the cream cheese and salt together until smooth.

In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup and peppermint extract. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the pot. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Let boil for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Place the saucepan back over the heat and bring to a boil again over medium-high heat. Stir constantly with a heatproof spatula until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

Whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth. Cover and place in the refrigerator until completely cool, several hours or overnight. Alternatively, place over a bowl full of ice cubes until thoroughly chilled before churning.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Scoop into a freezer-safe container. Fold in the crushed candy canes. Store in the freezer

Source: Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Sugar Sparkled Gingersnaps

Surgar Sparkled Gingersnaps

Gingersnaps are something that I didn’t particularly like as a kid. Actually, even as an adult. That is, until I started making them myself. Every kind I had had before were dry, hard and way too crunchy for my taste. I like a soft cookie that is chewy. I have always enjoyed the flavor of gingersnaps, but that was far as it went. So, a few years back, I started trying different recipes at home. I never really came across the “one”. That is, until I tried these cookies. I bookmarked this recipe about a year ago, but never got around to trying them. I made these about two months ago, and it was love at first bite. The search is now over. This is it folks. The best gingersnap cookie. That may be a bit presumptuous, but I don’t care. These cookies are soft, chewy and perfect. The ginger flavor really pulls through, but it isn’t over powering. Just right.

Surgar Sparkled Gingersnaps

I knew that I just HAD to share this recipe with you all. But, when I went to make them two weeks ago, I couldn’t find coarse sugar anywhere. I mean ANYWHERE. I looked in all my regular stores, and then some. It’s like it just disappeared. They had blue, pink, green, purple; you name it. But no white. What the heck!? So, finally, I took action and decided to look online. Ding ding; King Arthur Flour! I always get their catalogs with recipes and baking equipment that I definitely droll over. So, I ordered two containers. I wasn’t messing around this time. I got it in two days with regular shipping, and on a Sunday. Amazing! So, yesterday, first thing I did was make up a batch of these. Just in time for Christmas!

Surgar Sparkled Gingersnaps

Speaking of Christmas, I can’t believe it’s tomorrow! Is everyone ready? I guess I am. Even though it’s suppose to rain all Christmas day, Yuck!

Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful day full of love and cheer!

Sugar Sparkled Gingersnaps

Yield: About 2 dozen cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2-1 cup coarse/sparkling sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the oil, sugar, molasses and the egg together until well blended. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated and a dough forms.

Place the coarse sugar in a small bowl. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out the dough. Roll each cookie dough ball in the sugar until coated in an even layer.

Place the coated balls on the prepared baking sheets about 2 to 3 inches apart.  Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through baking, just until the tops of the cookies are set and beginning to crack, about 15-17 minutes total. They will still be very soft. Make sure not to overbake because they will become hard. Let cool on the baking sheets a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats, originally adapted from Williams Sonoma

*Opinions are completely my own. King Arthur Flour has no idea who I am.

Peppermint Pattie Brownies

Peppermint Pattie Brownies

Friday was one of those kick in the butt days. It seemed like everything was twice as hard as it should be. First off, the car had air leaking that didn’t have to do with temperature fluctuations. So I had to run it up to the mechanic. Of course, the tire had a hole on the sidewall where it can’t be patched. And they don’t carry the tires that are on my car, or any that are the same size. Those darn foreign cars! Of course this was the weekend we were taking the kids to see The Nutcracker, which is an hour and forty five minutes away. Needless to say we had to drive the truck there.

Friday was also my son’s daycare holiday party. Another thing that we were late for. I hate that feeling of madly rushing around trying to get everything ready before heading out the door. I always try to have everything organized ahead of time so there isn’t that frantic, stressful rush. Friday just wasn’t my day. My daughter took forever to get dressed because she didn’t like what she was wearing. She’s only five. Wait, what!? Yeah, being a parent is definitely not always stopping to smell the roses!

But, in the end, the kids had a total blast at the holiday party and they loved The Nutcracker. There is always a positive to rule out the negative when you have children involved! They are always pleased by the simplest of things. If only that stayed with us when we became adults!

IMG_6312

Now that you’ve had a little insight into my imperfect life, I can tell you about these brownies! I made these for my son’s holiday party. Of course I had to make something peppermint-y. It was only fitting! These are something I actually made this summer for the first time, but never got a photo. The brownies are super moist and chocolatey. They are then slathered with a creamy peppermint pattie layer. Similar to a peppermint pattie you would find at a store, but better. To top if off, a chocolate ganache is drizzled over the top. Delicious! These are the perfect combination of chocolate and peppermint. If you’re into that sort of thing.

I totally am.

I love to eat these straight from the refrigerator. I think they are best chilled. These will also last several days in the refrigerator. I doubled the batch to make enough for everyone at the party, with only adding a few minute onto the baking time. These would make a wonderful treat, any time of the year!

Peppermint Pattie Brownies

For the brownies

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips

For the peppermint pattie layer

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

For the ganache

  • 3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons heavy cream

Directions

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8×8 baking pan with butter or nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter with the sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Whisk in each egg one at a time, whisking until well combined. Whisk in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spread the batter in the 8×8 baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes until set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and let cool.

While the brownies are cooling, add the confectioners’ sugar, butter, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and peppermint extracts to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until smooth and creamy. Pour over the cooled brownies and spread in an even layer with a spoon or spatula. Place in the refrigerator until set, about 30 minutes.

To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream in the microwave until hot and pour it over the chopped chocolate. Stir for a few minutes until totally combined, smooth and creamy. Drizzle over the top of the peppermint layer or cut brownies first and spoon over top. Serve immediately, or store covered in the refrigerator.

Source: How Sweet It Is