Dave and I are alike in a lot of ways, but there is one thing that I will never understand about him – he’s not a sweets person. He doesn’t need a bite of chocolate or a cookie after finishing dinner – he doesn’t walk past a bakery salivating – when we go out for ice cream, he settles on a frappe or a milkshake instead of a hot fudge sundae. He’s lucky I still married him 🙂
I on the other hand live for dessert – something salty needs to be followed by something sweet – usually chocolate – I like sampling sweets but moreso baking them. My only problem is that I need to get them out of the house immediately – or if it stays in the house, I have sometimes been known to do something drastic like drizzle dishwashing soap on it so that I will stop eating it (I’ve even been known to pull a Miranda on Sex and the City, and pull a dessert out of the trash – Dave caught me once – it was on the top though I swear!)
One of my most favorite desserts is a whoopie pie. I come from a long line of whoopie pie makers – my grandmothers whoopie pies are world famous (well, in my world they are). It wasn’t a holiday if Grammy Murphy’s whoopie pies weren’t one of the 50 desserts on the table (our family is known for having more desserts than regular food at most holiday gatherings – which I have no problem with!)
And when my friend Ashley got me a cookbook dedicated solely to whoopie pie recipes, AND a special baking sheet to aid in making perfectly shaped whoopie pies, well I just knew immediately what I’d be trying out for Easter dessert. I wanted to pay homage to the amaaazing’ness that is a whoopie pie from grammy’s kitchen, but with a twist.
When I think of Easter, I think of bunnies – when I think of bunnies, I think of carrots and right there in the Whoopie Pie Bible was a recipe for Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies! BAM!
Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 & 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 medium carrots grated (about 2 cups)
1 cup raisins
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.
3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and both sugars until light and creamy.
4) Then add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined (a taste test at this point is HIGHLY recommended :))
5) Mix the flour mixture in until just combined – then add carrots and rasins.
6) Chill batter for at least an hour.
7) Drop balls of dough (about 2 tbsp’s) onto a prepared baking sheet with parchment paper.
8) Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until cakes spring back when pressed lightly.
9) Remove and let cakes cool on sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
4 tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature
3 & 1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1) With an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter on medium speed.
2) Add sugar and beat on low until combined.
3) Add vanilla and increase speed to medium.
4) Beat until creamy and smooth – about 4 minutes.
Slap some delicious cream cheese between those delicious carrot cakes and BAM – carrot cake whoopie pies – you won’t be sorry you made them! Even Dave, who prides himself on ‘not really being that into sweets’ grabbed one of these bad boys and enjoyed every last morsel. He even said ‘Yeah those are pretty good’ which to me is a rave review coming from a non-sweet eater!
Easter usually means: brunch – eggs – loads of candy shaped like eggs – hot cross buns – and my least favorite meat ever – HAM! Is this why I don’t like easter? Perhaps. It’s strange – when I was younger, E.T. was like one of my favorite movies, and the scene in it where E.T. gets sick at the end and his skin gets all discolored – well, the color of his skin in that scene reminds me of ham. So sick E.T = never likin’ ham – ever.
Dave likes ham, but luckily, understands my traumatization as a young child and made a wonderful suggestion on Friday night to screw the ham – screw the Friday night pizza – it’s easter weekend and a delicious meal is in order – so we made LOBSTER! Dave got a 3- pounder and man was this thing big. I always have a sense of pity for these Lobsters. Not only were they yanked from their sweet life in the ocean and placed in a tank in the middle of a grocery store, for everyone to walk by and stare at them, tappin’ on the outside of their house, disturbing their peace, and then finally the day comes when they get to go home with someone. But unlike a dog, they know that in only about 24 hours, they’ll meet a hot and steamy death.
I think most people know how to make Lobster, but just in case, here it is:
New England Lobster
large pot of boiling, salted water
1 lemon, cut in half
2 bay leaves
1) In a large pot (preferably a lobster pot) fill 3/4 of the way full with water. Add a generous amount of salt, the juice of one lemon, then the lemon halves themselves and 2 bay leaves.
2) When the water is at a rolling boil, place the lobster in the pot and put the cover on. Boil the appropriate time, according to the size of your lobster (10 minutes for the 1st pound and 3 minutes for every additional pound)
3) Take Lobster out, let cool, crack and enjoy!
And a Lobster dinner isn’t complete without some sort of delicious starch and corn on the cob.
The delicious starch this night was twice baked cheddar garlic potatoes. Dave and I had these at our wedding, and I figured there was no reason why I couldn’t recreate this masterpiece. And I have to say, not to toot my own horn, I think that these were actually even better than the ones at the wedding. So tasty! Not the healthiest side on the planet, but hey it’s Easter – I mean Jesus rose from the dead! That calls for some serious side dish action.
Twice Baked Cheddar-Garlic Potatoes
Three large russet potatoes, washed and scrubbed clean
1/3 cup sour cream
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 – 4 slices of thinly sliced cheddar cheese (or if you don’t have sliced cheese, 1/4 cup of shredded should do it)
2 garlic cloves, steamed in water
1/3 cup of reserved garlic water
Salt and Pepper to taste
1) Bake the potatoes in the oven at 425 degrees for about an hour, until the skin is crunchy on the outside.
2) While the potatoes are baking, steam the 2 garlic cloves in a sauce pan of boiling water until they become soft and mashable (about 10-15 minutes)
3) Take the potatoes out of the oven and let cool for a couple minutes. After the potatoes have cooled, slice down the middle and shell out the inside of the potato and place in a mixing bowl (to keep the potato skins stiff, place them back in the oven while you’re making the mixture)
4) To the potatoes, add 1/3 cup sour cream, 3 tbsp. butter, 2 steamed garlic cloves, 1/3 cup of reserved garlic water, and cheddar cheese. Mix together until fully combined. Season the mixture with salt and pepper (add butter/sour cream as needed to make mixture to your desired texture).
5) Take skins out of the oven and stuff them with the potato mixture. Add another slice of cheddar cheese to the top of the potato.
6) Place back in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese on the top is melted and bubbly (you can even throw them in the broiler to brown them).
And there you have it – a delicious New England classic to celebrate Easter, that does not involve sick-alien colored meat 🙂
Happy Easter everyone!