So much has happened in the last, um…when was my last post? Dang, over a month ago? Ok, let me start over. So much has happened in the last few months really. I started a new job, I’m taking a class on Thursday nights, I’m preggo with baby #2 due in April…what? I didn’t mention that? Oops. I’ve just been so caught up in everything in else. 😉 Not totally true, but I have been so tired that I haven’t had the energy to do much but go to work, scrounge up some dinner and sit my arse on the couch. Hopefully I’m getting over that hump and things’ll be smooth sailing from here on out. Hahaha! I crack myself up. But, I am hoping to get over this extreme tiredness and nausea soon. I’ve been fortunate enough through both pregnancies to not have major morning sickness – and why the heck do they call it morning sickness when it’s really all freaking day? But seriously though, we’re so excited!
I wanted to post something today that relates to autumn. Something that let’s me know it’s that time of year again. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. For me, that’s pumpkin. What’s strange is, I say I love pumpkin. But what I really mean is sweet pumpkin. I don’t think I’ve actually had anything savory with pumpkin. I’ve seen recipes for pumpkin lasagna, pumpkin soups, even pepitos (the seeds), but I’ve never tried them. To me pumpkin is always associated to sweet fall treats. I’m not sure why that is. Something to think about…
Work has been busy, but apparently not as busy as it’ll be the few days before Thanksgiving, and Christmas for that matter. I’m not looking forward to that at all. Plus the fact that I won’t be able to visit my family in Kansas until after Christmas. 😦 But, on the bright side, they may be coming down here to see us. 🙂 Anyway, back to work…We’ve been making pumpkin pies (from a bottled mix) lately, just a few to get everyone interested. I asked about the cheesecakes. We already make and decorate plain, strawberry, cherry, rainbow (different fruits), chocolate, turtle fudge and white chocolate cheesecakes. I wondered if we were going to do pumpkin. Not to give myself something more to do, because believe me, I don’t need that, but more out of curiosity and wanting to contribute something. Someone mentioned purchasing frozen product and re-selling it. I’m thinking to myself, why do that when we’re already making about a dozen cheesecakes a day. Why not just turn a few of those into pumpkin cheesecakes? We could use the mix we already have and we wouldn’t have to worry about spice ratios or getting pumpkin shipments. So, I made one up, had the general manager taste it and ta-da, it’s on the list…for $26.95 a pop! Sheesh. I shoulda just kept my mouth shut, made them at home and sold them for like $19.99. I coulda made a killing! 😛
Let’s move on to something more fun than work. 🙂 When I saw that this month’s Cookie Carnival recipe was Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies I was thrilled. I’d made some Pumpkin Whoopie Pies last year and they came out great. But, as I was reading through the recipe I realized that the cookies themselves were made from cocoa and that the filling was pumpkin flavored. I figured I’d give it a go…something a little different.
I pretty much stuck to the recipe – I’ll indicate where I made changes – and they turned out pretty good. I think if I had to do it again and I wanted more pumpkin flavor, I’d put it in the cookies and not just the filling. The filling gives you just a hint. It still tastes mostly of cream cheese, which is fine, but I wanted something more.
Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
1¾ cups all purpose flour (used ½ cup whole wheat and 1 ¼ cups all purpose)
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup vegetable shortening (used butter flavor)
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed dark brown sugar (used light brown)
1 large egg
1 cup whole milk (used 2%)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup canned solid pack pumpkin
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
(replaced cinnamon & nutmeg with pumpkin pie spice)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.
Place butter, shortening, and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla. Mix in remaining flour mixture.
Drop about 2 teaspoons dough (I used a small cookie scoop) onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart.
Bake until cookies spring back when lightly touched, 12 to 14 minutes (only took about 10 minutes for me).
Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and let cool 10 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets and transfer to wire racks using a spatula; let cool completely.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese, butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Add pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg; whip until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
Pipe or spoon about 2 teaspoons filling on the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, keeping the flat sides down.
Ok, so, for those of you who are even still reading this blog and want to know what the picture in the last post was, Grace, who commented on the post was correct. It’s mochi. It’s made from rice flour, sugar and water. Very easy recipe, but it can be difficult to work with. You have to work fast, not only because it’s hot, but because it’s sticky. And if you let it sit too long, it firms up on you and then you can’t shape it very well.