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

Strawberries and Cream Angel Food Cake Roll

Image

One last recipe before easter tomorrow! I wanted to share with you this wonderful, spring-like, light dessert. Angel food cake is one of my favorite cakes. It is so light and I love to top it with fruit and whipped cream. So, when I saw this recipe with the whipped cream and fruit rolled into the cake, I couldn’t resist making it.

Image

This was actually the first time I have made a rolled cake. Not quite as intimidating as I thought it would be. Mine wasn’t exactly as neat as I was hoping for, but that didn’t affect the taste at all! The cake is incredibly light and fluffy, then filled with sweetened whipped cream and fresh strawberries, it is divine. It would be so worth having for an easter brunch or dinner tomorrow! This would also be a great dessert for the summer. And for the left over whipped cream, save some because I will be sharing a recipe very soon that will involve using it! Trust me, you don’t want to miss it!

Image

 

Strawberries and Cream Angel Food Cake Roll

For the cake

  • 9 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar

For the filling

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 6 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups diced fresh strawberries
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting top of cake (optional)

Directions

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, line a 15×10-inch baking pan with waxed paper; lightly coat paper with cooking spray and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Add the vanilla extract and cream of tartar to the egg whites, and then beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 3-4 minutes. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, on high until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved, 4-5 minutes. Then, gently fold in the flour with a rubber spatula, 1/4 cup at a time.

Carefully spread the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth with an offset spatula so it is evenly spread on the pan. Bake for 17-23 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched and is a light golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Dust a clean kitchen towel with 1 tablespoon powdered sugar. Turn the cake out onto the kitchen towel. Gently peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream on medium speed until it begins to thicken. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract; increase the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the strawberries. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Unroll cooled cake; spread filling to within ½-inch of edges (you will have some filling leftover). Roll up again. Place seam side down on a serving plate; sprinkle with additional powdered sugar, if desired. Serve with any leftover strawberries and cream filling. Store leftovers, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator.

 

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, originally adapted from Taste of Home Recipes

 

Easter Pudding Cups

Image

Yesterday, my kid’s daycare had their annual Easter party. So, of course I had to make something sweet for it! I have been eyeing over this recipe on pinterest for some time, just waiting for the opportune moment to make it! I thought it would be perfect for kids and adults alike.

Image

How cute is that little felt egg? My daughter made it at preschool!

The chocolate pudding is transformed into something incredibly creamy and mousse like, then topped with crushed oreos. To finish off the garden look, fresh strawberries are coated in white chocolate colored in orange to resemble a carrot poking out of the ground. I mean really, how can you get any cuter than that!? Perfect to whip up for any upcoming easter parties. And it is also perfect for your kids to help out with! They’ll love crushing the oreos.

Easter Pudding Cups

Yield: 13-16 servings, depending on what size cups you use

  • 2 packages (3.9 oz) instant chocolate pudding
  • 3 cups cold milk
  • 8 oz. cool whip, thawed
  • 1 package double stuffed Oreos
  • 6 oz. white chocolate
  • 14-16  medium-sized fresh strawberries
  • orange food coloring

Directions

Have ready a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet or plate.

Break up the white chocolate into large pieces and place in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave for about 1 minute. Stir and place back in the microwave for 30 second increments, stirring each time until the chocolate is completely melted. Stir in a few drops of orange food coloring until completely mixed in. Carefully dip each strawberry into the melted chocolate, making sure the stems are still exposed. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue until all the strawberries are used (you might have a little white chocolate left over). Set aside until the chocolate is hardened, either on the counter or in the refrigerator.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the two packets of chocolate pudding and milk. Whisk until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside to let set for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the oreos in a large ziplock bag. Crush with a rolling pin or meat tender hammer until broken up, but some big chunks still remain. Set aside.

Once the pudding has set, fold in the thawed cool whip until no streaks remain. Fold in 3/4 cup of the crushed oreos into the pudding mixture.

Spoon pudding into cups (I used Solo 9 oz. clear plastic cups), filling about 1/3-1/2 full. Sprinkle the crushed oreos over the pudding. Gently nestle a strawberry into each cup, so the tops are still exposed. (You may have a few strawberries left over that you can enjoy yourself!)

Refrigerate the pudding cups for at least two hours before serving. (These are best the day they are made because the oreos may get soggy.) Enjoy!

Source: Recipe heavily adapted from Kid Zui

Bunny Bait

Image

Here is another little easter treat for you all! I had never even heard of bunny bait until a friend of mine brought it to our kid’s daycare/preschool party last year. (This is the same friend who introduced me to the fabulous pizza dip– she has good taste!) I put a little on my plate to try it out, then I had to keep going up to the food table to get more. It is so addicting! I even brought a little home for my husband, who missed out on the party. He immediately wanted more! I have definitely made this for movie nights with the sibs and just to have as a treat in the house. It is amazing. Something about the sweet and salty mixture is unreal.

Image

Bunny bait seems to be a big hit on pinterest this year. So, I looked around at different recipes to get the idea of the basic recipe. This is a cinch! I prefer to pop my own popcorn, because that is always what we have on hand. But, you are more than welcome to use a butter-less microwave bag! This is an easy recipe to throw together for upcoming easter parties or for little treats for your kids! Regardless, it will be a crowd pleaser!

Bunny Bait

Yield: approximately 20-30 handfuls 

  • 2 cups rice or corn chex
  • 2 cups pretzel sticks
  • 3 ounces unpopped popcorn (or similar in size butter-less microwaveable popcorn)
  • 8 ounces white chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 1 bag easter M&M’s
  • rainbow sprinkles

Directions

Have ready a large baking sheet.

Pop the popcorn kernels (or microwave bag) and place in a large bowl. Mix in the chex and pretzel sticks. Melt the white chocolate in a medium bowl in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Pour the melted chocolate over the popcorn mixture and stir until evenly coated.

Spread the mixture evenly over the baking sheet. While the melted chocolate is still soft, sprinkle the rainbow sprinkles over the mixture and the bag of m&m’s. Let sit until the chocolate has hardened.

Serve immediately, or store in an airtight bag at room temperature for 4-5 days.

Island Bakes Original

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

 

Spring is upon us and Easter is coming! It makes me so happy. It’s amazing how the end of a very, very long winter can feel so amazing. 40 degrees feels awesome! This wonderful, warm sun makes me want to sing the song “Hello Sunshine” by Super Furry Animals. Anyone else know that song? (I am pretty sure I originally heard that song from the O.C.- Sad, I know.)

Since Easter is just next weekend, I thought I better get to sharing a few recipes that you may want to make for the holiday! We don’t usually do a whole lot for the holiday. My husband’s grandmother always has a big Easter breakfast at her house that we go to. That is basically the extent of our day. Although, this year I think the kids might be up for some egg dying. I haven’t done it in years!

Hot Cross Buns

These hot cross buns are the perfect addiction to any Easter breakfast or brunch! They are slightly sweet and incredibly tasty. I have only ever had them once before. My brother-in-law brought them for a easter brunch at my parent’s house a few years back. I was immediately hooked. But, for some reason, I haven’t tried to make them until this year! They are pretty simple and so worth it. How can you turn down a moist, sweet bread? I know I can’t!

Hot Cross Buns

Yield: about 18-20 buns

For the buns

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 package (2 1/4 Teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon (heaping) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (scant) baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup raisins

For the glaze

  • 1 egg white
  •  splash of milk

For the icing

  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4-6 Tablespoons milk

Directions

For the buns:

Combine 2 cups of milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and 1/2 cup sugar in a  medium saucepan. Stir, over medium-high heat and cook until very warm but not boiling. Turn off the heat and allow to cool until mixture is still warm, but not hot–about 30 minutes.

Sprinkle yeast over the milk mixture. Add 4 cups of flour and stir to combine. The mixture will be very sticky. Cover with a damp  towel and set aside for 1 hour.

Add 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the yeast mixture. Stir until combined.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

Lightly flour a surface. Lightly punch down the dough and scrape out onto the floured surface.

Flatten out the dough slightly with your hands. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of the sugar and spice mixture over the dough. Then, sprinkle about a third of the raisins over the dough. Fold the dough in half, and pat to flatten again. Sprinkle a couple more tablespoons of the sugar and spice mixture evenly over the dough and top with a third of the raisins. Repeat this process one more time. (Don’t worry if you don’t use all the sugar and spice mixture.)

Have ready greased or parchment/silpat lined baking sheets.

Pinch off golf ball-size bunches of dough. With floured hands, roll it into a ball, then turn the edges under themselves slightly. Place on the prepared baking sheets. Cover with the damp dish cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for at least 30 minutes. (I let mine rise for about 1 hour.)

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg white with a splash of milk to create the glaze. Lightly brush onto each roll after it is done rising.

Place the buns in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

Let cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the icing by whisking the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons milk together in a small bowl. Whisk in one more tablespoon of milk in at a time until desired consistency is reached. Place in a small plastic bag with a corner cut out or in a piping bag. Pipe crosses onto each cooled bun. (I got a little over excited and didn’t wait for mine to cool completely, which resulted in runny crosses, but they were still delicious!) Let the icing harden before serving. (You can speed this process up by placing them in the refrigerator if you are short on time.)

Serve immediately or store covered in the fridge for 3-4 days, allowing to come to room temperature before serving.

 

Source: Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Sugar Cookies- Happy Easter!

Image

A few days ago, it was my daughter’s daycare Easter party. So, of course, I had to make something properly themed. I had limited ingredients in the house and didn’t want to run to the store. Luckily, I had everything in the kitchen needed to make these! I couldn’t resist these adorable bunny cookies! This recipe is very simple to throw together. I make these cookies for all occasions.

Sugar Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the beaten egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough.

Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about one hour (or overnight), or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat

Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch thick. (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.) Cut out shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to chill the dough, which prevents the cookies from spreading while baking.

Bake cookies for about 8-10 minutes, or until they are just beginning to brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before decorating. (Mine are frosted with royal icing, but any kind will do.) Store in an airtight container for 4-5 days.

Source: Joy of Baking