Category Archives: cookies

SMS: making whoopie… (hahaha)

Righto, we’re on a pumpkin roll here – what with Halloween around the corner and Thanksgiving not far behind (yay! yay!) – so this week’s SMS pick was a perfect follow on to the pumpkin patch cupcakes in my last post.  Melissa might refer to these as ‘cookie cakes’, but to me they’re whoopie pies and worth the namesake shout.  Funnily enough, I only had my first pumpkin version (you get chocolate too) last month after a pilgrimmage to Baked (of ‘Sweet & Salty Cake’ fame).  This involved a mahoooossive trek to Red Hawk that left me in a slightly sour mood.. which turned very sour when I realized they only had one cake on offer…that’s just mean. But luckily, they also had pumpkin whoopies, which sweetened the deal no end.  Since then, I’ve had me a cravin’!

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"What's in a name? That which we call a review.."

This recipe was super easy – notwithstanding the turmoil encountered when trying to find pumpkin puree.. in England. during the ‘Great Pumpkin Crisis of 2009’.  (See my pumpkin patch post for details.. if you really want…but it’s actually irrelevant – all is well, Waitrose saved the day).  I swapped the molasses for maple syrup, cranked up the cinnamon (always) and used my favourite cream-cheese frosting recipe in place of Melissa’s filling.   (It’s not too different, but I’ve added it below anyway).  All in all, I give these babies a 5/5 on ease and 5/5 on taste/texture combo. YUM. I’m only offering 2/5 stars on accessibility of ingredients though… I might try getting proactive about this (instead of whinging endlessly for the next month) by starting a petition for equal rights to fair-priced pumpkin puree for expats.

Bite me

Bite me

Having bought Baked and failing so far to use it (shame on me), I was hoping to manage an SM vs B-Boys bakeoff.  The recipes seem similar, although the Baked version calls for vegetable oil in place of butter, relatively more puree and sugar in relation to flour, plus ground ginger and cloves…and the cream cheese fillings are *slightly* different too. Obviously I failed to get said bakeoff on in time for this post… but my whoopie-pie love just grows and grows, so I’ll get around to it soon! very soon!  But for now I’d just like to offer Debbie a big, fat, (cream) cheesey thanks for her perfect seasonal pick! Please check out the SMS blogroll to see what the others put together! with filling… x

Pipeworthy cream-cheese frosting
4 oz. butter (relatively room temp)
8 oz. cream cheese  (take your pick – room temp or straight from the fridge.. it’s freeing, no?)
5 cups icing sugar (yes, 5. prepare for the high)

Directions: Whiz the butter and cream cheese in the food processor until combined (no big, separate lumps.. but don’t overprocess).  Add half the sugar and whizz again.  Scrape down the sides and add the rest of the sugar cup by cup (stopping to scrape down the sides) until you’re happy with the consistency.  Use at this point or pop the whole lot in the fridge for a firm-up.  (I hate it soft ‘n soupy, can you tell?)

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Filed under cake, cookies, whoopie pie

Carny life – a post from the road

This is gonna be a short one, so apologies in advance!  I’m on holiday in the States at the moment – on holiday from work and baking… but I just wanted to get my Cookie Carnival post up in time for the round-up.  Luckily, I managed to make this month’s pick – Black Bottom Coconut Bars – before I left as a parting gift for my supervisor and team members.  My 6-month placement in the rehab service went by far too quickly and everyone was so welcoming that homebaked goodies seemed the only way of saying thanks.

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The recipe came courtesy of Lady Martha (yep, she’s been cropping up on this blog quite a lot recently..) and it turned out to be a surprisingly  simple one.  Basically, a thin brownie layer is baked until just firm around the edges,  then it’s topped with a more generous coconut layer (coconut mixed with the usual suspects – eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla – although I added coconut extract too).  As you can see from the pics, I may have overbaked things a teensy bit, but let’s pretend I was going for a ‘toasted coconut’ look.

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I have to admit that I ended up giving the whole batch away so I can’t really comment on what these bars tasted like, but they looked great dressed up in cupcake cases and a paperchase gift box.  Plus, the they got rave reviews from my team members.  Having said that though, I might double the brownie layer if I make these again because it looked pretty thin and I like me a thick gooey mouthful of brownie. even if that overpowers the coconut a bit…  Big big thanks to the Carnival’s lovely hostess Kate, of the clean plate club, for letting me bake along!!  And please check out  the round up to see how the other carnival goers made out this month xx  See you once I get back (about 20 lbs. heavier after munching my way across New England..!)  xx

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Filed under bars, brownies, cookie carnival, cookies, Uncategorized

SMS: Schneckennudeln..?

aka Snickerdoodles..!

sugar 'n spice.. makes for VERY nice!

sugar 'n spice.. makes for VERY nice!

A few weeks ago, I was browsing through my most recent acquisition when I came across a brief account of how this cinnamon sweet treat got it’s whimsical name.  According to Lady Martha (or rather, ‘Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’), snickerdoodles are thought to be of German origin, and their name is actually a mispronunciation of schneckennudeln – or ‘crinkly noodles’.. Now I vaguely remember hearing a different story – that the cookie was named after some cartoon character.. (hmm.. what would a Farside cookie taste like I wonder?)  but the Germanic heritage seems to be true – I’ve just seen Joy‘s beautiful, informative post and I strongly suggest having a read.  Joy shares wonderful historical anecdotes about each SMS bake and I’m always bowled over by the depth of her culinary wisdom!

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Whatever the origin, these snickerdoodles are tasty.. far too tasty.. The chewy, sugary-spiced rounds of yumminess are way too easy to devour so I had to think up a quick means of pawning them off on my boyfriend who, as I’ve mentioned before, is generally (and mystifyingly) cookie-averse..  The one sweet weakness he has seems to revolve around cream (whether it be whipped or pastry-style), and particularly creamy  + fruit combinations  – he has happily wolfed down cream-filled eclairs, banana-cream pie, and berry tarts with pastry cream filling.. So, armed with this knowledge, I decided to tempt Luke into polishing off a few of these scrumptious snickerdoodles this way:

Berry ‘Doodle Trifle

undercover 'doodles

Now, it’s very important that everyone understands – these cookies DO NOT, in my opinion, need any extra embellishments!! They are delicious as they are and dressing ’em up this way felt like gilding the lily.. But hey-ho ‘you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink’.. without a dollop of cream.  (I bought a dictionary of proverbs at a second-hand bookshop so I warn you, I’m likely to be throwing ’em in wherever vaguely appropriate.. and where totally inappropriate too probably..)

Opinions seem to differ as to what, exactly, a trifle is – but according to general consensus, it usually involves some kind of cakey layer (often sponge or ladyfingers), a fruity layer, a creamy layer (typically custard or whipped cream, but mascarpone counts too apparently) and definitely booze of some sort.  If you’re really interested, you can find more detail here – but I just went with what I had (er, leftovers I wanted to use up) and what I hoped would be tempting.

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For the cream layer, I beat 1 cup of mascarpone (leftover from my YWPWT entry) with half a cup of cream cheese, 3 tablespoons of caster sugar and quite a few teaspoons of Amaretto liqueur (sorry, I lost count.. I’m on a bit of a boozy-dessert kick at the moment, so I just kept adding Amaretto until I got a good punch of flavour).  Then I chopped up about 10 of the cookies and used my brand spanking new cherry-pitter to pit a handful of cherries.  (I’ve been wanting try this out, just to see how time-consuming a fresh cherry pie would take..dying to make one).

Then I layered the cookie chunks, cherries & some blueberries, dollops of cherry jam and heapings of mascarpone-amaretti cream.  I managed to squeeze a few layers in each wine glass and since I had over-baked my first batch of snickerdoodles, the cookie layers didn’t end up soggy at all (I’m an accidental genius then really).

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This week’s SMS treat was chosen by the talented Spike, who has kindly posted the full recipe as hostess – so head on over to her lovely site and break out the cinnamon!!  These cookies were a breeze to whip up, although I broke up the steps over 2 days due to time constraints and a superstitious belief that, even after the dough has been chilled a bit (as Melissa instructs), the little ‘doodle balls should also be chilled once shaped and sugared, just to ensure they don’t spread too much.  (I also tend to pop the cookie sheet in the freezer for extra insurance.)

And please check out the blogroll to see what all the other talented SMSers have done too!!

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SMS: Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

PB & J cookie sandwiches – tah dah!
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And again……..

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Still vogue-ing…

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Sorry, may be getting a bit carried away but I love the pictures – they were taken by my boyfriend who indulges me by snapping many of my bakes..which is lucky because I’m still pretty crap at that side of things..  Plus, I’m in France at the moment using a borrowed laptop & connection so no time to really write! Suffice it to say these cookies were lovely – they turned out chewy, peanut-buttery (umm which is just what we’re looking for in a pb cookie, no?) and not too sweet either. very addictive. The recipe was a cinch AND un-bugger-up-able in my opinion, seeing as I made what may be the most stupid mistake possible.. I was trying to do ten things at once while mixing these up and.. wait for it…I forgot to add the egg. shock. horror. shaaaaame……..

I only realized that after adding the flour mixture and noticing that things seemed a bit dry.. I considered chucking the whole batch out and mixing up a new one, but unfortunately I’d used up all the PB..doh.. so instead I just threw the egg in last and crossed my fingers.  and it worked, hallelujah!

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So as I mentioned in the last post – I loaded some of the cookies up with the gorgeous Strawberry-Ruby Grapefruit preserves I had from last week’s SMS bake to make cookie sandwiches.  These were reeeeally popular – I packed a few in my carry-on and even though they got completely smooshed on the way to the airport, my dad hoovered up every crumb..   I baked the others with a yummy PB-chocolate filling from my usual GO2 recipe by Bakingbites.  I also rolled the doughballs in a little sugar as suggested in that recipe, just to style things up a bit..  I like the bite it offers – you get a really subtle crispiness on the outside in contrast to a nice chewy centre.

I go nuts (hyuk hyuk) for anything peanut-buttery, so I’m really glad I managed to bake these up before heading off.  Big thanks to Stephanie from Ice Cream Before Dinner for her perfect choice! Check out what all the other lovely SMS bakers have done and give this recipe a try – you can’t go wrong!

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Filed under cookies, sweet melissa sundays