Tag Archives: butter

Whoopie Pies – Maine

Whoopie pies are the state treat of Maine (not be confused with the state dessert which is blueberry pie). Labadie’s Bakery in Lewiston, Maine, takes credit for inventing this confection way back in 1925.

Whoopie Pies - Maine

Whoopie pies come in various flavors combinations (both the cake and the filling), but in our humble opinion, the classic recipe is really the epitome of a perfect dessert. The outside is two soft chocolate cakes, that surround a fluffy, vanilla marshmallow-y filling. YUM! We have been making this recipe for years and years to much acclaim. No one can resist a whoopie pie. Why would you even want to?

Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor is the second most visited national park east of the Mississippi. Visitors who make the trek up Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak on the Eastern Seaboard, can claim to be the first people to see the sun rise, at least for part of the year.

Whoopie Pies

  • Servings: 12-15 pies
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

For cakes:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar

For filling:

  • 2 cups marshmallow spread
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar

Instructions

For cakes:

In a medium bowl, add flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a measuring cup, combine milk and vanilla. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add egg and oil. Mix well until well combined. Add sugar and continue mixing, until well combined. With the mixer running, alternate adding the flour-cocoa mixture, with the milk mixture. Mix until just combined and no flour pockets appear in the batter.

Drop tablespoons of batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. This will yield between 24 and 30 cakes depending on the size. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until the tops spring up when touched. Let cool on wire rack.

For filling:

Combine marshmallow spread, confectioners sugar, butter and vanilla in a clean bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Filling should be light and fluffy. When cakes are completely cool, spread filling on half of the cakes. Put cakes together to form a sandwich.

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Huckleberry Handpies – Montana

We’ve just returned from a glorious week in Glacier National Park. This jewel in the national park system is one of the most beautiful places on earth. At every turn, you are met with a stunning vista  . . .

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park
Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park

a gorgeous waterfall . . .

St. Mary’s Falls, Glacier National Park

. . . or a majestic mountain.

Mt. Oberlin (with Bird Woman Falls), Glacier National Park

And huckleberries. Mid-July to August is prime huck season. Stores and shops promote huckleberry flavored everything including ice cream, coffee, lemonade, chocolate and popcorn. They are a favorite of the black bear who roams these quarters and we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a bear by the side of the road, munching away on this delectable treat (we were safe in our car, thank goodness).

This handpie recipe is a real winner. It combines the taste of a full-on

Huckleberry Handpies- Montana

pie, with the ease of a handheld pastry. Don’t fret if you can’t find huckleberries — and you probably can’t unless you live in northwest Montana, they haven’t been successfully grown commercially — just use blueberries.

Going-to-the-Sun Road is a 50-mile road (in fact, one of the only roads) that takes you from one end of Glacier to the other. Open only in the summer and often maddingly jammed with traffic, this route offers breathtaking views and passes the highest point in the park, Logan Pass.

Huckleberry Handpies

  • Servings: 8 pies
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For Pastry:

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup cold water

For Filling:

  • 2 cups fresh huckleberries or blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Salt, pinch

For Topping:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Turbinado sugar 

Instructions

To make pastry: In the bowl of a food processor, add flour, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to combine. Add butter. Pulse until mixture is a coarse meal. Add water and pulse until dough comes together. Wrap dough in plastic and place in refrigerator until chilled.

To make filling: In the meantime, make the filling. Place berries in a medium saucepan. Add cornstarch, sugar, salt and lemon juice. Heat on medium until mixture begins to simmer. Allow mixture to thicken, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon zest. Set aside to cool (mixture can be made a day ahead of time).

To assemble handpies: Roll the chilled dough into a 12” X 12” square. Cut out 16 squares. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling on 8 of the squares. Place pastry on top and crimp edges with fork tines. Brush tops of handpies with beaten egg and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place each handpie on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut two small slits in each pie to allow steam to vent. Bake in 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Czech Kolaches – South Dakota

We’ve talked before about how kuchen is South Dakota’s official state dessert, but you might not be aware the close runner-up were kolaches (koh-LAH-chees). This tasty pastry was brought to the

Czeck Kolaches - South Dakota

Mount Rushmore State from immigrating Czechs around the middle of the 19th century to the southern part of the state. In fact, tiny Tabor (population 413), holds Czech Days every year and kolaches are a huge draw.

Kolaches can be made with a variety of fillings including cream cheese, poppy seed, prune and even savory elements like sausage and cabbage. We tried our hand at apricot and cherry as we thought those were the real crowd pleasers and we were not disappointed. Great with a cup of coffee or tea, we found ourselves sneaking just one more . . . and then another.

If spelunking is your thing, check out Wind Cave National Park, located in the southern part of the Black Hills National Forest. With over 143 miles of winding passageways under only 1.2 square mile of surface area, and housing a unique cave formation known as boxwork, this cave system is not to be missed.

Czech Kolaches

  • Servings: 24 pieces
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

For Pastry:

  • 1¼ cup warm milk, divided
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 ¼ cups all purpose flour, divided
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

For Apricot Filling (enough for half of recipe):

  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum

For Cherry Filling (enough for half of recipe):

  • ¾ cup cherry juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups frozen cherries, thawed

Instructions

To make pastry: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine ¼ cup milk, sugar, yeast and ¼ cup flour. Let stand for 15 minutes or until mixture becomes frothy. Add remaining flour and milk, then butter, egg and lemon zest. Mix with a dough hook on low speed until a smooth dough is formed, about 4 minutes. Cover with a tea towel and let rise, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

To make fillings: While you are waiting for the pastry to rise, make the fillings. For the apricot, in a small sauce pan, add orange juice and dried apricots. Let simmer for 30 minutes or until apricots are very soft. Remove from heat and add sugar. Let cool. Add to bowl of food processor, along with rum and process until well combined. Transfer to a clean bowl and put in fridge to allow to chill.

For the cherry filling, in a small saucepan add cherry juice, sugar and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat until mixture is thick and bubbling. Remove from heat. Add cherries. Transfer to a clean bowl and put in fridge to allow to chill.

To assemble kolaches: Punch down dough. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces. Shape with hands into flattened balls. Place dough on baking sheets lined with parchment paper approximately 1 inch apart. Cover with tea towels and let rise until puffed, about 35-45 minutes. With your fingers, make a deep indentation in the center of the ball leaving a generous lip so the filling does not ooze out. Drop mounded tablespoons of filling in the center of each pastry. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

 

Chocolate Chip, Bourbon Pecan Bars – Kentucky

It’s Derby Week! Yes, the Kentucky Derby is one of the fastest sporting events, clocking in at around two minutes, but it’s oh so much fun, even if you simply watch on TV with a few friends. If you

Chocolate Chip Bourbon Pecan Bars - Kentucky

do decide to host a viewing party, be sure to include mint juleps (see our recipe for the hands down best way to pump up the mint flavor), and Hot Browns, (a turkey sandwich fancied up with mouthwatering Mornay sauce and then topped with tomatoes, bacon and Pecorino Romano cheese). The traditional sweet finish is Bourbon Pecan Pie but if you want the same flavors in an easier to eat form, try these Chocolate Chip, Bourbon Pecan Bars. The shortbread cookie crust is a great base for the bourbon-laced filling.

Can’t make it to the Kentucky Derby? Don’t fret. You can take a variety of different tours of Churchill Downs after the crowds disperse.

Chocolate Chip, Bourbon Pecan Bars

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

   For Cookie Crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces

 For Filling: 

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

For cookie crust: In the bowl of food processer, add flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter pieces and process until dough forms. Press into bottom of a greased 8X8 pan, being sure to add about a quarter of an inch around the sides of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven or just until cookie crust begins to brown. Remove and let stand.

For filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, add butter and brown sugar. Mix until creamed. Add eggs and bourbon, mix until incorporated. Add flour, chocolate chips and pecans. Mix until just incorporated. Pour filling on top of cookie crust and smooth to the edges. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until filling is firm and top is light golden brown. Cool completely before cutting.

Nutmeg Log Cookies with Eggnog Icing – Connecticut

Connecticut’s unofficial nickname is the Nutmeg State. This comes from the alleged practice, in the 18th and 19th centuries, of shrewd Yankee peddlers who sold unsuspecting customers wooden nutmegs instead of real ones. Then again, some claim that certain less

Nutmeg Log Cookies with Eggnog Icing

culinary-inclined customers might not have realized that whole nutmeg (which indeed looks like a little wooden bead) needed to be grated to be used. Swindlers or not, the moniker stuck.

We consider ourselves to be cookie connoisseurs but we had never even heard of these Nutmeg Logs until a few weeks ago. They use a generous amount of nutmeg and make your house smell like all kinds of Christmas when you bake them. And nothing goes better with nutmeg than eggnog, thus the eggnog icing. The fun part is running the fork tines over the icing before it sets to create a log effect.

Visit the Mark Twain house in Hartford, a terrific example of American High Gothic style, where Twain lived from 1874 to 1891. One writer has described this house as “part steamboat, part medieval fortress and part cuckoo clock.”

Nutmeg Log Cookies with Eggnog Icing

  • Servings: 3 dozen
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

For cookies:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

For icing:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons eggnog
  • Ground nutmeg for topping

Instructions

For the cookies:

In the bowl of the electric mixer, add butter and sugar. Mix on medium speed until fluffy and light. Add egg and nutmeg. Mix until just combined. Add flour. Mix until incorporated. Take batter and divide into thirds. On a lightly floured surface, form dough into three logs approximately ½ inch in diameter. Cut each log into 3 inch pieces. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until cookies just begin to brown.

For the icing:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter and confectioner’s sugar. Mix on medium speed. Add vanilla, then 1 tablespoon eggnog. If icing is too thick, add another tablespoon of eggnog until desired consistency is reached.

Once cookies are completely cooled, spread icing on cookies. Run the tines of a fork over the icing to make the “log.” Top with grated nutmeg. Let icing set before packaging cookies.

Ooey, Gooey, From St. Louie: Gooey Butter Cake – Missouri

Definitely a mistake. A mistake turned delicious anyway. Gooey Butter Cake is to St. Louis as deep dish pizza is to Chicago. According to the New York Times, fork-lore has it that in the 1930s,

Gooey Butter Cake - Missouri

a St. Louis baker added too much shortening, butter or sugar while making a cake. Not wanting to waste the ingredients this being the middle of the Depression, the baker tried to sell the cake anyhow. Customers loved it and Gooey Butter Cake was born.

Continue reading Ooey, Gooey, From St. Louie: Gooey Butter Cake – Missouri

Give Mama Some Sugar … Sugar Cream Pie – Indiana

Indiana is pie country and Hoosiers are serious about their pastry. In 2009, the Indiana legislature declared sugar cream pie — also called Hoosier pie — as the official state pie of Indiana. Pies of this type, also known as desperation pies, were created when folks had to make do with whatever ingredients they had on hand. This delicious Sugar Cream Piecustardy concoction of very unpretentious ingredients probably dates back to the 1850s and might have the Amish or Quakers to thank. Both groups historically have had strong representation in the state. Even today, Indiana has the world’s third largest population for Amish. Lots of variations of this pie exist, but we liked this recipe as the filling stays firm and tends not to weep. Yup, sometimes simple is best.

Continue reading Give Mama Some Sugar … Sugar Cream Pie – Indiana