Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy (belated) St. Patrick's Day!!

I belong to a "Friday Lunch Club" at work.  Every Friday someone brings lunch for everyone. Around 15 people are in this exclusive club - it's hosted by the Social Studies department chair at the high school where I work.  I also teach in the Social Studies department - that's how I got in.  It wasn't for my witty peronality or extensive charm.

At the beginning of the year all the members sign up to bring in a main dish or dessert.  The Fridays that aren't filled are picked up by our fearless leader. 

Anyway, I had picked March 18th - the day after St. Patrick's Day to bring in dessert.  I thought it would give me a great chance to get creative with green treats.  Instead I got sick with a pretty bad case of tonsilitis.  My doctor also thought there was a pretty good chance I also had strep throat, but didn't run the test because he would have prescribed the same meds whether it was or not.  He put me on antibiotics and narcotics for the pain, and in a few days I was good as new.

This past Friday was my next time for dessert, and since I had everything on hand, went ahead with my St. Patty's Day treats....GREEN Velvet Whoopie Pies with a Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting.  Had it actually been St. Patty's Day, I think I would have tinted the frosting green, too.

Green Velvet Whoopie Pies
Slightly modified from Food Network Magazine

1 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
1 oz. milk chocolate chips
1-1/2 sticks butter, melted
1/2 c. sour cream
2 eggs
1-1/2 t. apple cider vinegar
1 t. vanilla extract
1 T. food coloring (I used green, of course.  Use red for red-velvet (duh).  Or whatever color strikes your fancy)
2-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt

Preheat oven to 375 and line baking sheets with parchment paper. 

In the microwave, melt all the chocolate chips together (about 2 mins on 50% power) and stir until smooth.  Set aside.

Mix together the butter, sour cream, eggs, vinegar, vanilla and food coloring.  In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet: about 4 equal batches, mixing well between each addition.  Stir in the melted chocolate.

Use a cookie scoop to spoon the batter onto the cookie sheets.  I used the standard-size, smallish cookie scoop and got 48 halves, or 24 finished cookies.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes.  Let sit on the sheet for about 5 - 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

To assemble: put (or pipe - that's what I did) about a heaping tablespoon of frosting on half of the cookies and then top with the other half.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
Slightly modified from Joy the Baker

1-1/2 sticks butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese (or neufchatel), softened
1/3 c. light brown sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4-6 c. powdered sugar
2-4 T. milk

The cream cheese and butter should be at room temperature.  With a mixer, cream the cream cheese for about a minute, then add the butter and cream together for another minute or two - there shouldn't be any lumps.  Add the brown sugar, vanilla and salt, and mix well.  Add 2 -3 T. milk, and mix well.  Add 4 cups powdered sugar and mix well.  Test your consistency.  If you want it stiffer, add more powdered sugar.

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