Whoopie Pie vs. Oreo Cakester

June 17, 2008

This is an addendum to yesterday’s Whoopie Pie post.

A while back I posted a recipe for chocolate sandwich cookies, which were basically homemade Oreos. Katie asked if they were like the Oreo Cakesters, which I thought were more like Whoopie Pies at the time. So when I made the Whoopie Pies, I bought a box of the Cakesters for comparison.

They taste nothing alike, and the texture’s not very similar either. The Cakesters taste just like an Oreo, but are softer. They’re still a little chewy though, and not nearly as tender as the Whoopie Pies. They’re somewhere in between the cookies and the pies, I think. (Katie, you were right!)

The Cakesters are a lot smaller than I expected too. The picture above is comparing it to the smallest Whoopie Pies that I made. They come two cakes to a package for a total of 250 calories.

I wasn’t too crazy about them. I ate one cake and gave the rest of the box to my brother. But really, they taste just like Oreos. If you like those, you’ll like these.

Nabisco also sells Oreo Chocolate Creme and ‘Nilla Cakesters.

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Chocolate Whoopie Pies

June 16, 2008

Two discs of chocolate cake sandwiched around a cloud of frosting. Is it a cakewich? A frosting burger? No! It’s a Whoopie Pie. I seem to be on a pattern of baking things with goofy names.

Whoopie Pie

Soo… is it a pie or a cake? Actually, this recipe is from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. So I’m classifying it as a cookie. Though, really, I consider it a cookie-shaped cake. On the other hand, cookie supposedly means little cake, soo… I guess that’s the problem with labels, eh? Let’s not think too hard about it.

When I got the King Arthur Flour book for Christmas, this was one of the recipes that leaped out at me. I’d heard of Whoopie Pies, but I didn’t know what they were. Actually, I thought they were the same as Moon Pies, which I’ve never liked. (Though that could be because my grandma always had the banana flavor.)

It seems that Whoopie Pies are a New England tradition, which explains my ignorance, being a Gulf Coast dweller myself. I haven’t been able to dig up too much history on the treat, but according to What’s Cooking America, they originated with the Pennsylvania Amish. Not wanting anything to waste, they used leftover batter to make these pies. Appreciative children cried “Whoopie!” and thus, the Whoopie Pie was born.

Traditionally, Whoopie Pies are humongous things, but I made mine in three different sizes. See the notes for more details.

Chocolate Whoopie Pies
adapted from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion

Oven Temp.: 350°
Approx. Bake Time: 13-15 minutes
Yields: 4 large (4 inch) pies

Ingredients

Cake:
4 tbsp. butter, room temperature
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. beaten egg
1 c. flour
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Filling:
6 tbsp. butter
2/3 c. powdered sugar
3/4 c. marshmallow fluff
3/4 tsp. vanilla

Instructions

Cake:
– In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a liquid measuring cup, mix together the milk and vanilla.
– In a separate bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and egg. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk mixture, adding the dry ingredients in three installments and the milk mixture in two. (It should go dry-wet-dry-wet-dry.)
– Drop the batter by the 1/4-cupful onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven until they are firm to the touch. Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Filling:
– Beat all four ingredients together until light and fluffy.

Assembly:
– Spread half of the cookies with about 1/4 cup of filling, then top with the remaining cookies.

Notes
– When portioning out the cake batter, you may want to spritz your measuring cup or other scooper with a little non-stick spray to get the batter out more easily.
– To make about 8 medium sized pies, spoon two tablespoons of batter per cake layer and bake 11-13 minutes.
– To make about 16 small pies, spoon one tablespoon of batter per cake layer and bake for about 10-12 minutes.
– These are best stored individually wrapped.


Snickerdoodles

June 13, 2008

I don’t know what took me so long to make these.

Well, actually, I do. Most Snickerdoodle recipes call for shortening, and that’s just an ingredient that I never have and don’t use. Eventually, I decided to ignore the shortening and use all butter, because I have a Snickerdoodle-loving friend. After watching her eat Pepperidge Farm Snickerdoodles, I felt that I owed her a homemade version.

But… where are the peanuts, caramel, and chocolate? Snickerdoodles have popped up a couple times on my Google Reader recently, and a lot of bloggers originally thought the cookie to be a variation of the Snickers bar. That’s a perfectly reasonable assumption, and one that I probably would have made myself had I not had Snickerdoodles since I was a kid. Snickerdoodles actually aren’t related to the Snickers bar at all. They’re just sugar cookies coated in cinnamon and sugar, sometimes with a little nutmeg thrown in.

The verdict? These cookies are really tasty, though they don’t fit my schema of a Snickerdoodle. These are flat and chewy, but I think a Snickerdoodle should be puffy and soft. This is probably due to my using all butter in place of a combination of butter and shortening. But I like chewy cookies, so I’m not complaining.

Also, these cookies were sweet, which was fine by me and everyone else who ate them, but you could probably cut the sugar down for a less sweet cookie, as noted in the recipe.

Snickerdoodles
adapted from AllRecipes

Oven Temp.: 375°
Approx. Bake Time: 10 minutes
Yields: about 20 small cookies

Ingredients
4 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. sugar (OR 1/3 to 1/4 c. for a less sweet cookie)
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tbsp. beaten egg
1/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. flour
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg (optional)
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon

Instructions

– Cream the butter, sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour and cinnamon. Chill the dough in refrigerator for one hour.
– Combine one tablespoon each of sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Form a tablespoon of dough into a ball, then roll in in the cinnamon-sugar to coat. Place the dough on an ungreased baking sheet and flatten slightly with a spatula.
– Bake in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes. Let cookies stand on baking sheet for one minute before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.


Citrus Sugar Cookies

April 25, 2008

Sugar cookies fall under two categories in my kitchen — cut-out and drop. Cut-out sugar cookies are fun to decorate but don’t excite my taste buds. Drop sugar cookies, on the other hand, may not be much to look at, but are delicious in the simplest way.

These cookies fall into the latter category. They have crispy edges and chewy middles, but a few seconds in the microwave will turn them into soft and chewy discs. The addition of citrus juice and zest do wonders for the flavor. I’ve tried these with lemon, orange, and lime. Lemon yields a classic sugar cookie, if that’s what you’re going for. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, as all are delicious!

Citrus Sugar Cookies

Oven Temp.: 350°
Approx. Bake Time: 11-13 minutes
Yields: about 18 cookies

Ingredients
3/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. butter, softened
1/3 c. sugar
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. citrus zest
2 tsp. citrus juice
2 tbsp. beaten egg
extra sugar for dusting

Instructions
– Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat butter for about 15 seconds. Cream butter, sugar, and zest until light and fluffy. Beat in juice and egg. Stir in dry ingredients.
– Roll level tablespoons of dough in extra sugar. Place on greased or lined baking sheet and flatten slightly.
– Bake in preheated oven. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for one minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


Robin’s Egg Cookies

April 2, 2008

So, after the initial disaster, I fixed the remainder of the dough and the cookies turned out fine. To double check, I made another batch the next day for my grandmother, and she had no complaints.

These cookies were inspired by April’s Master Baker challenge. The theme ingredient is Easter candy, which couldn’t be more fitting for me. It didn’t take long to decide which candy I wanted to use. I love malted milk balls, and Robin’s Eggs were my favorite Easter treat when I was a kid. I’ve been meaning to experiment with malted milk cookies, and this was a perfect chance.

The cookies are pretty and colorful, and they tasted pretty darn good. The recipe is based off the standard Tollhouse recipe. Next time, I think I’ll add some malted milk powder in with the dry ingredients — there can never be too much malt with me.

Robin’s Egg Cookies

Oven Temp.: 375°
Approx. Bake Time: 11-14 minutes
Yields: about 20 cookies

Ingredients
3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
5 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. + 1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 c. chocolate chips
1 c. Robin’s Eggs, chopped

Instructions
– Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. In a separate bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg.. Stir in the dry ingredients, chips, and malt balls.
– Scoop tablespoons of dough onto an prepared baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven. After baking, let stand on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then move to wire racks to cool completely.


Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

March 26, 2008

I’ve never been a huge fan of Oreos, but my best friend in high school loved them. She always had a bag of Double Stuffed around, and few weekends passed when I didn’t have at least one or two. (Oh, and it had to be the Double Stuffed — no regular Oreos for us!)

These cookies remind me of fun, Oreo-filled times, but I did want to expand beyond the classic crowd pleaser. I think these cookies will work well with any filling, from chocolate ganache to ice cream. I used a peanut butter filling (recipe follows), but if the classic Oreo is what you’re after, try a white chocolate ganache.

(Oh, and I’ll try for a better picture next time. There will be a next time!)

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
adapted from Retro Desserts by Wayne Brachman

Oven Temp.: 375°
Approx. Bake Time: 8-10 min.
Yields: about 12 sandwich cookies

Ingredients
1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. flour
1/4 c. cocoa, Dutch processed
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sugar
5 tbsp. butter, softened
2 tbsp. beaten egg

Instructions

– In a food processor (or stand mixer) combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add the butter and egg and pulse until a cohesive mass forms. (It will first look like pebbles, then form a big ball.)
– Scoop rounded teaspoons of dough onto a greased or lined cookie sheet. With a spatula (or tool of your choice), flatten cookies slightly.
– Bake in a preheated oven. Let cookies cool on cookie sheet for a minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
– Assembly: Match cookies of similar size. Spoon or pipe desired amount of filling onto the center of a cookie. Lightly press the second cookie over the filling, working the filling to the edge.

Peanut Butter Filling

Ingredients
1/4 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tbsp. butter, softened
1 tbsp. heavy cream

Instructions
– Using an electric mixer, combine the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and butter. Add the cream and beat until fluffy.

Notes
– You may double this if you want a lot of filling. (Double Stuffed!)


*twitch*

March 21, 2008

Malt Balt (well, Robin’s Eggs) Cookies. It started out well. First, I got to use my pretty red rolling pin..

Rolling Pin: 1
Robin’s Eggs: 0

Then I made a very yummy cookie dough.

It was a very buttery dough, and by extension, very soft. I stashed it in the fridge to let it firm up. It seemed fine a few minutes later, so I scooped out some cookies and put them in the oven.

Then I started to clean up. Behind the sugar container, I found a small bowl of flour — flour that was supposed to go into the cookie dough. Uh-oh.

Here’s what happens when you forget to put half of the flour into the cookie dough:

Missing Flour –> Spreading –> Burning Edges + Uncooked Middles

Oh well.  It happens to the best of us, right? RIGHT?

I did add some of the flour to the remaining cookie dough. It’s sitting in the fridge right now; I’ll bake them up later. We’ll see, I guess!