Saturday, January 19, 2013

Nutty Lemon Sandwich Cookies

I wanted to make something non-chocolate for the holidays. Yes, I know, there's white chocolate in there, but white chocolate isn't really chocolate, right?  It has cocoa butter in it, but no chocolate solids, so I figure that's fine for someone not wanting chocolate.

Stacey's Nutty Cookie Ingredients
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, organic
1 c brown sugar, organic
1 c white sugar, organic
1/4 c peanut butter, organic
2 tbs sunflower seed butter (found this at Trader Joe's)
1 tbs Vanilla Bean Paste
2 c almond meal/flour
2 c unbleached white flour, organic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder

cookie sheet(s)

Stacey's Nutty Lemon Filling Ingredients
6 oz Guittard white chocolate couverture (you could probably use white chocolate chips or any white chocolate block)
2 oz heavy cream, organic
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp citric acid, powdered


First I made the filling since it needs to sit and thicken over time. Melt the chocolate by heating for 30 second increments in a pyrex (or any heat-safe) measuring cup and stir until melted.  If it gets too hot, it will start to clump so if you have a temperature gun (this one is my favorite), make sure it doesn't get above about 110F. Heat the cream and vanilla bean paste separately to about 100F and then gently stir it into the melted chocolate. Then mix the citric acid into the lemon juice and gently mix that into the white chocolate mix.

If you stir white chocolate too vigorously, it may come out of emulsion and you'll end up with a lumpy, greasy mess.  You can try adding a little warm water (like a teaspoon at a time) to make it come back together if this happens to you.  The more water you add, the thinner it will get and you won't be able to spread it as thickly, so be careful.

When finished, put plastic wrap over the surface of the filling and allow to thicken / cool to room temperature.  This may take a couple hours.

Now for the cookies. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Soften the butter in the microwave and then cream it with the sugars, peanut and sunflower seed butters, and vanilla bean paste.  Then mix in the dry ingredients.  It should be thick and dough-like.


Make 1-2 tbs size balls and put them on your cookie sheet.


Bake them for about 12 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet once at the halfway point.  Once they come out of the oven, leave them on the cookie sheet to cool for about 10 minutes and then put them on a rack to cool further.


Once they are cool, and your filling is thick, you can start spreading the filling on them with a butter knife and making your sandwiches.


These were so good.  It's too bad I gave most of them away for the holidays.  Or maybe it's good, because I would have eaten them all.  :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Better Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yes, I know, there's already another one. But I like this recipe better. I made these for my wedding.

Stacey's Pumpkin Cupcake Ingredients
2 c unbleached flour, organic
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin, organic
1 c granulated sugar, organic
8 tbs unsalted butter, organic
2 eggs, organic
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 c milk, organic

cupcake pan
cupcake liners
OXO Good Grips Large Cookie Scoop

Stacey's Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, organic
1 1/4 sticks (10 tbs) unsalted butter, organic
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 tsp salt
2 c confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.  I prefer to use a mixer for this recipe than to hand stir.  The pumpkin comes out all clumpy and it's murder on my arm to try and stir it by hand.  Since I made 4x this recipe for my wedding, I really needed the standing mixer.

First melt the butter in the microwave and then put it in the standing mixer with the sugar, pumpkin, vanilla bean paste, and milk.  Mix it all up with the whisk attachment until there are no more lumps. Then add the eggs and mix until combined.  I just put the eggs in last because I worry about the butter being too hot and cooking the eggs accidentally.  The whisk attachment should take care of all the pesky pumpkin lumps.

Mix the dry ingredients separately in another bowl and then add it to the pumpkin mixture.  You can stir this part by hand if you want or use the batter attachment.  When you're done it should look like this:


Line the cupcake pan and then use the scooper to fill the pan. 


Bake these for about 20 minutes, rotating once at the halfway point. This recipe makes about 20 cupcakes.


Once the cupcakes are cool, you can frost them.

To make the frosting, soften the butter and cream cheese in the microwave. I usually microwave at 30 second intervals because otherwise the corners of the cream cheese start boiling and separating and getting weird and clumpy.  So, microwave for a short while, stir, and repeat until it's frostingish consistency.

Dump the warm cream cheese and butter in the standing mixer with the vanilla bean paste (you already cleaned it after making the cupcakes, right?) or into a bowl and use your hand mixer.  Use the whisk attachment and blend until fluffy.  Add the confectioners sugar and mix gently at first so you don't get sugar everywhere, and then whisk this until fluffy too.


God, I love cream cheese frosting.

Now you can either fill a pastry bag with a cupcake tip, or just use a knife and slather these cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting.


It was the holidays, so I put a few blue sprinkles on to be festive.  I think I like plain better though.


Also tried shaved white chocolate, which was really pretty.