Sunday, November 13, 2011

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

I thought I'd give my new wilton whoopie pie pans a whirl tonight by baking up my mom's recipe for red velvet cake. Because I was also making red velvet cake balls, I baked half the batter in an 8x8 pan, and the rest in my whoopie pie pans. I was able to bake 18 whoopie pie halves with the remaining half of the batter.

The recipe is interesting, calling for crisco (I'm used to seeing butter in recipes), buttermilk, and a combo of vinegar+baking soda. The cake turned out moist, light, and fluffy, with a hint of tang from the buttermilk, and just a tiny bit of chocolate flavor.

Next time, I need to remember to grease my whoopie pie tin, so that the batter doesn't cling to the sides and cause rough edges!

The frosting was also one of my mom's recipes. Her recipe calls for creaming the butter, crisco along with a cup of granulated sugar. You have to whip this mixture like crazy to get rid of the grittiness of the sugar. After getting it fluffy and smooth, I felt it wasn't quite sugary enough for my taste so I sifted in a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar. Next time, I might try making this recipe using powdered sugar from the get go.

Here's the recipe for a 2 layer cake, or roughly 18 whoopie pies (36 whoopie pie halves). Frosting recipe follows:


  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Crisco, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 oz red food coloring (usually about a tube)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp baking soda


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 2 round cake pans. Line with parchment.
  2. Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream the sugar, crisco and vanilla together. Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each.
  3. Add food coloring and cocoa to mixer and mix until combined. Add flour, salt, buttermilk and mix to combine.
  4. In a small bowl combine vinegar and baking soda, then immediately add to mixer. Stir to combine
  5. Pour batter into cake pans, and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cnter comes out clean.

Frosting recipe:

  • 5 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup Crisco, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Combine milk and flour in saucepan on medium heat. Cook mixture until very thick, almost paste-like, about 5-6 minutes. Stir constantly. once thickened, chill in refrigerator until completely cooled.
  2. In electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment cream the crisco, butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Add cold milk/flour mix and beat until fluffy and smooth. Taste and sweeten with sifted powdered sugar to taste.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Roasted Poblano Pepper Burgers

I browse the web quite a bit looking for good recipes and this one stood out so much that it wasn't on my "to-make" list for very long before I actually made it. Frankly, I've been thinking about eating this burger ALL DAY. And, I'm quite happy I made it for dinner tonight, the subtle heat from the poblano, and the juciness of the burger really hit the spot.

The original recipe called for the burger to be topped with pickled onion and chipotle cream. While those would be delicious partners to this burger, my hunger on a weeknight meant I ditched the fancy sauce and veggies for cool crisp lettuce and tomato instead so that I calm my growling stomach.

On this initial go round with the recipe, I only tweaked it subtly, the only change being omitting the fresh cilantro because I'm not a huge fan and didn't have any in the house. I also noticed that the coriander and cumin came through lound and strong so I'll probably dial it back a little the next time I make these. I cooked these in a covered cast iron skillet. That gave the exteriors of the burgers a nice char while leaving the center juicy. Highly recommend this method hen you run out of charcoal or it's 30 degrees below zero!

Here's the original recipe, from Cooking Light, makes 4: Spicy Poblano Burgers with Pickled Red Onion and Chipotle Cream

  • 2 poblano chiles
  • 1 tablespoon 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 (1-ounce) slice white bread, crusts removed, and torn into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns, toasted
  • 1/4 cup Pickled Red Onions (optional)


  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Place poblano chiles on a foil-lined baking sheet, and broil for 8 minutes or until blackened, turning after 6 minutes. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel chiles, and discard the seeds and membranes. Finely chop.
  3. Combine milk and bread in a large bowl; mash bread mixture with a fork until smooth. Add poblano chile, 1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro, cumin, coriander, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and beef to milk mixture, tossing gently to combine. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, gently shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Press a nickel-sized indentation in the center of each patty. Cover and chill until ready to grill.
  4. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  5. Combine the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in sour cream, shallots, and juice. Remove 1 chipotle pepper and 2 teaspoons adobo sauce from can; reserve remaining chipotle peppers and adobo sauce for another use. Chop chile. Stir chopped chipotle and 2 teaspoons adobo sauce into sour cream mixture. Set aside.
  6. Place patties on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes or until grill marks appear. Carefully turn patties; grill an additional 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Place 1 patty on bottom half of each bun; top each serving with 3 tablespoons chipotle cream and 1 tablespoon Pickled Red Onions

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