My friend Dina and I have been friends since childhood. Growing up, we lived around the corner from each other, and after getting married and moving, we still do! We’re always swapping recipes and oohing and ahhing over the fabulous food we see on the food channel. Between the two of us, I am more of the cook and Dina is more of the baker. Whenever I see a great cake recipe, I send it her way, hoping that she’ll make it so that I can get a taste (she usually sends over a piece!). On a lucky day, she’ll invite me around the corner for a hot cinnamon bun and some coffee. One such day, Dina brought out these delicious rugelach. I thought they must be a patchke to make since they looked so good and tasted even better. But they are super easy and require only 3 ingredients! I have made them more than once when having company over at the last minute. They are totally floored when, without advanced notice, I manage to put out piping hot chococolatey flaky goodness!
Thaw puff pastry in the refrigerator overnight. It is easiest to work with when it’s chilled. With a knife, cut each square into 3 even strips. Smear with chocolate spread and roll up. Place on a cookie sheet seam side down and bake at 350 until browned, approximately 25 minutes. Let cool and dust with powdered sugar.
Note: you can brush with egg-wash if you’d like, however, since you are dusting them with powdered sugar, it is not neccesary.
VARIATION: You may also use nutella, jam, or any other filling of your choice.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed yet, but I’m not that big into baking. I do it every once in a while, but not all the time. Why? Well, first of all, I don’t particularly enjoy it. It’s too technical. I like the creative freedom that I have with food. Baking on the other hand, it’s very scientific. You need to follow the recipe to the tee, otherwise, it won’t come out right. Also, it makes a huge mess. Not that cooking doesn’t. But baking, I just feel like there are the measuring cups, spoons, bowls, the mixer, the gazillion ingredients. And lastly, most importantly, it’s just so fattening! I’d rather eat food! With that said, I did make some really yummy pumpkin whoopie pies yesterday. I halved the recipe, because who needs all that temptation lurking.
Based on my experience, I’d like to make a suggestion. If you decide to halve a recipe, do yourself a favor, and rewrite it, because chances are, if you work off the original, and you think you’re gonna make the calculations in your head, halfway down the line you suddenly forget and you screw up the entire recipe and have to start from scratch all over again!
Now being as I have a daughter who’s severly allergic to milk, I decided to make these parve, using toffuti cream cheese. I also substituted smart beat light margarine for the butter. This resulted in a runnier filling (see pics). I would suggest going with the original dairy recipe, or, see my other alternative below.
To make the pies, I used organic pumpkin puree that I found at Pomegranate around Thanksgiving time. I think it adds that extra richness of flavor to the pumpkin. (Trust me, I’m no organic addict, I just find that when I do buy organic, the flavors are more full-bodied) The pies come out so incredibly moist, with that kick of spice you get from nutmeg and ginger, and the warmth of the cinnamon. Really yummy on a cold winter day. B’teavon!
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies Adapted from browneyedbaker.com
Yields about 2 dozen assembled whoopie pies, depending on the size you make them. These are medium.
For the Pies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
3 cups canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Maple-Cream Cheese Filling: (see below for a delicious alternative to this filling)
3 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside. In a separate bowl, Mix the sugar, brown sugar, oil, pumpkin, egg and vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture until completely combined. Using a scoop or tablespoon, drop a rounded, heaping tablespoon of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack.
To make the filling, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth with no visible lumps, about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, then add the maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth.
To assemble the whoopie pies: Turn half of the cooled cookies upside down. Pipe or spoon the filling (about a tablespoon) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving.
ALTERNATIVE TO CREAM CHEESE FILLING (PARVE):
Now, as an alternative to the cream cheese filling, I must tell you about this DELICIOUS maple butter I bought recently (available at Benzs Gourmet). It was sitting in my pantry, waiting to be paired with the perfect match. And I have to say, pumpkin whoopie pies is it! The butter is like thick creamy maple syrup, sticky and sweet! I couldn’t resist spreading it on a few sandwiches. The result was extremely rich-tasting, too much for more than a couple of bites.
We decided to throw together a quick Game Night on Motzei Shabbat with the family. I told everyone they could bring something. As for myself, I whipped up a quick batch of cowboy cookies a’ la Martha Stewart. This recipe is chock full of flavor, using chocolate, coconut, pecans and oats. I’m not the biggest coconut fan, but in these, they offer an added chewiness that’s worth it. Why are they called Cowboy Cookies? The origin is unclear, but the cookies do seem hearty enough for the Wild West. As for game night, the girls won by a landslide!
(Yields 3-4 dozen cookies)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I used 1 tub of Smart Balance Light)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (not instant or quick-cooking)
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch chunks (I used 1 cup of chocolate chips)
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup pecans (3 ounces)
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pecans in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in oven, tossing occasionally, until darkened and fragrant, 10 to 13 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop. Into a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and both sugars until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Beat in oats, chocolate, pecans, and coconut until just combined. (Dough can be covered with plastic and refrigerated up to 3 days.)
Coat baking sheets with cooking spray; line with parchment, and spray parchment. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto prepared sheets, about 3 inches apart.
Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges of cookies begin to brown, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer sheets to wire racks to cool 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool completely. Cookies can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature in airtight containers.