Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Dessert Round-up: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Here in New England, we don't mess around with our desserts.  Sure there is the cupcake craze, and now macarons and pies are slowly becoming more of the fad sweets, but nothing makes a pure-blooded Yankee more happy than a classic whoopie pie!

The holidays are the perfect time to enjoy this traditional treat in a more seasonal flavor; pumpkin whoopies with cream cheese filling.  I followed a Martha Stewart recipe to whip up this batch, you can find it here.

Never made whoopies before?  Have no fear, they are easy!  First, you bake up similar sized "cookies" (they are more like cupcake caps, in my opinion) by using a tablespoon to measure out even amounts of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet, bake and let cool.

Then, mix up a batch of your favorite frosting.  I love cream cheese frosting with pumpkin cake or bread, but there are no rules when it comes to whoopie pies!  Use whatever you like and whatever will pair nicely with your cookie flavor.  Pipe (or spread) onto half of your cookies.

Top your frosted whoopies with the unfrosted whoopies, then my sweets, you've got dessert!


 Enjoy!  Stay tuned for the next Holiday Round-Up dessert, classic Chocolate Pecan Pie!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Dessert Round-Up: Double Chocolate Peppermint Swirl Cupcakes

Well readers, tis the season to BAKE!  Over the next week I will feature a number of holiday desserts that definitely deserve a place on the family dinner table.  All include seasonal flavors and are worth the effort they take to bake!  Some are quick and easy, some, like today's cupcakes, take a bit more time.  Life is sweet, and during this time of year, putting a little extra love into dessert never hurt anyone, so enjoy, sweets!!

Today's featured dessert is Double-Chocolate Peppermint Swirl Cupcakes!  I found these on Pinterest (where else) and decided to bake them up for my office holiday party tomorrow.   Imagine this - super rich, moist dark chocolate cake, filled with white chocolate ganache speckled with bits of candy cane, and topped with deliciously light and airy peppermint buttercream.  Heaven.  Yes, I know!

As I mentioned, these do take a bit of time.  I baked my cupcakes first thing in the morning, let them cool a few hours and then made the ganache which also had to cool before filling the cuppies.  Frosting came last and was well worth the wait.

I followed the recipe by Fields Of Cake exactly, so I will direct you there if you would like to try these out.  If so, here are a few notes that might help you along the way.

First - the cake batter is very liquidy.  I poured mine into a liquid measuring cup and distributed that way, much easier and less messy than a spoon.  I filled my cups about 3/4 up - they baked up into pretty tall domes.  I'd suggest filling half way for a shorter or flatter-topped cupcake.

Next, for the white chocolate ganache, after it was mostly cool and well mixed, I switched my mixer attachment from the paddle to the whisk to add more volume and lighten it up a bit.  I highly suggest this! I had lots of leftovers and plenty for tasting, plus it just made a nice light creamy filling.

Finally, my buttercream tasted too salty after following the recipe exactly.  I used about 1.5 cups of confectioner's sugar before it tasted right to me.

Again, if you'd like to give these a try (and I highly suggest you do- they are amazing!) check out Fields of Cake.  And that's that!  Check back soon for the next holiday dessert; pumpkin whoopie pies!

Monday, December 12, 2011

White Chocolate Cherry Shorbread Cookies

When I think Christmas cookies, I think of pretty, festive, and most importantly, delicious bite-sized treats-- and that's just what these little pink cookies are!

I recently took place in the first annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, where food bloggers bake and send a dozen cookies out to three bloggers, and in return, you receive a dozen cookies from three other bloggers.  Needless to say, my husband thinks this is the greatest blogging project I've ever participated in!  I loved it for the fun of receiving three packages of treats, and finding six new food blogs to read!

Choosing which cookie to make was not as easy as I thought it would be.  I'm inspired daily by others' creations that I see on Pinterest, and I changed my mind four or five times before deciding on these, but in the end I think I picked the right cookie!  They're small, chewy, cheery pink and cherry-flavored with festive white chocolate and red sprinkles.  I sent off three pink cookies jars full off to Stephanie at Okie Dokie Artichokie, Erin at The Spiffy Cookie, and Allison at Allison Eats.

In return, I received almond crescent cookies from Return to Sunday Supper, Snickers Surprise cookies from Lindsay at The Little Foodie and gluten-free Chai Snickerdoodles from Catherine at Munchie Musings.  They were all delicious- and I thank you all so much for your generosity, and beautiful packaging!!!

For anyone who thinks these shortbread cookies have a place on your holiday table, the recipe is fairly easy, though time-consuming if you make lots of little cookies like I did.  For a quicker turnaround, I'd suggest making fewer, bigger sized cookies.

And for any fellow food bloggers who missed out on the swap this year, you can sign up here to get notifications for next year's swap!

Happy Holidays!

White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens


  • 1/2 Cup Maraschino cherries 
  • 2-4 tbsp. of juice from the cherry jar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks cold butter
  • 1 package of white chocolate chips - chopped in processor or by hand
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 tsp. shortening
  • Red sprinkles (or any kind of sprinkle you'd like)

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Chop the cherries (stems removed) in a food processor as finely as possible; you can also chop them by hand but I love the speed and ease of the processor.  Pour the cherries and their juice (add 2-4 extra tablespoons of juice from the jar to the bowl as well- use two for color, four for color and flavor.)
  • Mix the flour and sugar in a large bowl, and then using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in the butter until it is combined into a crumbly mixture.  I WRECKED my pastry cutter doing this- my butter may have been too cold- just a heads up to be careful!
  • Stir in cherries, cherry juice, 2/3 cup of white chocolate bits, and almond extract.  Knead all ingredients together and form a nice smooth doughy ball.
  • Shape dough into 3/4 inch balls (if you want to make LOTS!) or 1 - 1.5 inch balls for bigger cookies.
  • Place each ball 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Take a water glass, dip the bottom in water and then into sugar to coat it.  Smush the balls of dough into thin discs with the sugar-coated cup. 
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, cool 1 minute on the cookie sheet and then move to wire racks to cool completely.
  • When all the cookies are cooled, mix the rest of the white chocolate with the shortening in a small saucepan.  Stir over low heat until melted and combined.
  • Dip half of each cookies into the chocolate and let the extra drip off, or scrape it off with a spatula or spoon.  While the white chocolate is still wet, roll the edge through the sprinkles to decorate.