Archive | February, 2011

love: red velvet whoopie pies

22 Feb

The only part of Valentine’s Day I ever truly cared about was the day after when my best friend and I used to buy 1/2 off boxes of chocolates. That’s right. We waited until they went on sale, because who really eats and enjoys a heart shaped box filled with assorted milk chocolate covered fruit creams and nuts? No one. I am that girl that “samples” each chocolate. I love surprises but not if I know they are coming. So we would drive around with the windows down and those chocolates that didn’t make the cut after one bite – they went straight out the window. Now that my faux-chocolate-tossing-Valentine is engaged and living in Florida, I explored other celebratory options. And Russell Stover’s got nothing on these heart-shaped red velvet whoopies pies. I’ve decided that red velvet may actually be my new favorite cake. With a distinctive taste and a hint of cocoa, this sweet is only perfected with rich cream cheese frosting.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
For the cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 oz. red food coloring

Ingredients:

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.

Who didn’t love kindergarten? I enlisted my stencil skills (only this time I made my own heart-shaped stencil) and traced hearts onto a piece of parchment paper. This ensures consistency in the shape and size of your red velvet hearts when the whoopie pie assembly process begins.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the egg until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, beat in about a third of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk, beating each addition just until incorporated.  Repeat so that all the buttermilk has been added and then mix in the final third of dry ingredients.  Do not overbeat.  Blend in the food coloring.

Fill a piping bag, fitted with a large round tip, with the red velvet batter. When piping the hearts, leave about a 1/2 inch perimeter inside the pencil line to allow room for the hearts to rise and spread.

Bake 7-9 minutes or until the tops are set, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets at least 10 minutes, until they can be easily transferred to a cooling rack.  Repeat with any remaining batter.  Allow cookies to cool completely before proceeding.

To make the cream cheese frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.

Pipe the cream cheese frosting on half the hearts and top with the remaining half to complete the whoopie pies. Fill thoses hearts with lots and lots of cream cheese goodness. Don’t be shy, the more filling the better. I had plenty of left over icing, so don’t worry about running out (or eating the frosting before it actually makes it to the cookie).

. Recipe from Annie’s Eats .

lighting: makes all the difference

14 Feb

Lighting has quickly inched its way into my daily perusing on the world-wide web. From pendants to chandeliers and gas to electric, light fixtures can spruce up a room or event to create just the right ambience for entertaining or relaxing.

Place this clean, scalloped pendant in a master bathroom and soak up the bubbles in your cast iron soaking tub.

Barbara Barry .

Dress up a drum shade for the perfect detail-specific flair under a beautifully draped tent for a wedding reception.

Southern Weddings

The clean look of these pendants are donning the neutral palettes of even the most discerning kitchens.

. Restoration Hardware – Clemson Classic Pendant .

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