Tag Archives: cooking club

Pretzel Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Stout Filling

My newish cooking club had a dinner yesterday with the theme American Beer. I was tasked with dessert, and came up with this recipe for Pretzel Whoopie Pies. They turned out extremely well, so I thought I’d share the recipe here.

Sources:

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 c minus 1 T sugar
  • 1 T light corn syrup
  • 1/2 c finely ground unsalted mini pretzels
  • 1/2 c cake flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 4 T butter, softened
  • 1/3 c milk
  • kosher salt
  • 1 c stout beer (Breckenridge Vanilla Porter is excellent)
  • 4 T butter, softened
  • 8 oz powdered sugar

Recipe:

  1. Beat egg yolks, sugar, and corn syrup until lightened.
  2. Mix pretzel flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat in butter and milk. Add to liquid mixture and mix thoroughly.
  3. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes to hydrate evenly. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  4. Drop 12 evenly-shaped cookies onto a silpat-covered pan. A ring mold is helpful.  Sprinkle kosher salt over the top lightly.
  5. Bake about 14 minutes, until starting to brown around the edges, but still soft.
  6. Cool thoroughly on wire racks.
  7. Boil beer in a saucepan large enough to deal with foaming up, and reduce to 1/2 c. Cool to room temperature.
  8. Mix butter, powdered sugar, and reduced beer into a creamy, delicious frosting.
  9. Make sandwiches out of cookies and frosting.

Makes 6 whoopie pies.

Savory and sweet, pears and beets

Hah, it rhymes! The fall haul (hah!) from the CSA inevitably means two things, root vegetables and ungodly numbers of pears. I love root vegetables, but tend to find pears to be pale imitations of apples. But when poached in red wine, or cooked with butter and sugar, pears can have some redeeming value. Recently, for the cooking club, I teamed up to make a dessert with the theme “Fall Harvest.” We were inspired by a recent recipe from the late, lamented Gourmet magazine, Beet and Pear Napoleons with Ginger Juice Vinaigrette. Roasted beets layered with pears, with flavors of ginger, citrus, tarragon, and poppy. In fact, we were so inspired by the dish, that we made it too, and started the dinner with an amuse of the original recipe:

Pear-Beet Napoleon with Ginger-Orange Vinaigrette

For the dessert itself, we took these flavors and turned them on their heads. The formerly raw pear circles were now lightly carmelized with sugar and butter. The beet, instead of being roasted, was boiled, pureed, and folded into a chocolate cake batter. The ginger juice was mixed into a buttercream instead of a vinagrette. The texture and visual impact of the poppy seeds was replaced with cocoa nibs. The result was an almost perfectly balanced mixture of fruit and butter flavors, sweet and tart, creamy and crunchy. (If I were to make it again, I’d actually add more pear!) We were very happy with the result:

Carmelized pear and beet cake napoleon, ginger buttercream, cocoa nibs

(recipe outline here)