Good morning! I am up bright and early today to get this written. Well, bright and early for me. I am not much of a morning person. I’m not really a night person either. I am more of a middle of the day type person;) I have a meeting later this morning, so the early rise was necessary….
I have good news! Gourmet Rooster products will now be carried at Maynard Station in Gold Hill, Nevada. It is the cutest little bar and store. They like to feature “Made in Nevada” products, so obviously, my stuff fits the bill. Gold Hill is right past Virginia City. It was a big city during the Comstock Lode in The Virginia City area. It is now more of a “ghost town” that attracts a lot of tourists. If you know me at all, you would know that I am very excited about being featured in this store, in this town…..totally excites the American history nerd in me;) So all you NV fans, you have to visit this store. If you are ever visiting the Reno area, you have to make Virginia City and Gold Hill part of your plans.
Before I get to the recipe for today, I really want to show you some pictures from our “zoo” excursion from this past weekend. We went to the Sierra Safari Zoo in North Reno. It is out in the middle of nowhere, for sure. This place has some really cool animals, such as lions, tigers, baboons, hyenas, etc. You can actually get pretty close to the animals too.
This guy is a capybara. He is the world’s second largest rodent;) Fun fact, I guess...
This is some sort of lemur. He was sitting in the weirdest way….I'd like to think he wanted to hug me. But I am pretty sure he actually wanted to rip my face off.
There was a petting area that had a ton of deer and goats. Paisley loved it, Addy….not so much.
This was Chris trying to corral the deer back in the pen after I had accidentally let them out. I was pretty sure I was going to get kicked out of the place. I got in more trouble when I let the Bronx cobra out.
Paisley running over as if she could help, and not totally make the situation worse.
This was the lion. He was HUGE! The zoo keeper said he was super friendly, but I don’t know if I am buying that. They also had a liger, which I totally thought was fake, like a jackalope. Clearly I am not the authority on what is real or not since I thought sabre tooth tigers were still alive until very recently. I still maintain they might be alive up in the Himalayas…
And yes, I was wearing my “Vote for Pedro” shirt while looking at the liger. And eating tator tots.
Ok, last picture…
It was a great place, you should go!
Ok, finally to what I know you came for. This weekend I made carrot cake whoopee pies. Carrot cake is so spring-ish to me. I think it is a very Eater-like recipe. I have been working on Easter recipes and this one worked. I didn’t want to make you wait until Easter for it.
Just an FYI, in case you live in a cave, a whoopee pie is a cake-like cookie sandwich. They are filled with frosting or a cream like filling. I believe they started in the Amish community. Apparently, when an Amish man would open his lunch, while out working, he would see the pie and scream “whoopee!” Those Amish get excited for pie.
Let’s start with the wet ingredients for the cake/cookie part of the recipe. I used butter (softened), an egg, sugar, molasses, vanilla extract and pineapple juice concentrate. Here is a little baking tip for you…..molasses and white sugar equals brown sugar. I had wanted to use brown sugar, but I didn’t have any. But I did have molasses…..If you have brown sugar, use that. I am willing to bet that more people have brown sugar in their pantries then molasses.
I also used pineapple juice concentrate, as opposed to canned pineapple, because I prefer the taste of pineapple in my carrot cake over chunks. Juice concentrate is a great ingredient. You get so much flavor because it is…..well, it’s concentrated. Call me weird, but the juice works for me. People have called me worse;)
I use a hand blender to mix the wet ingredients.
I whisk the dry ingredients together. This is easier then sifting, and most people don’t have a sifter.
I slowly blended the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. SLOWLY….or you will be wearing the dry ingredients.
Finally, I stirred in grated carrots and golden raisins. This is the point that you would stir in nuts if you liked them. I don’t. Until recently, my mom put nuts into everything….even though I don’t like them. Then, my nephew developed a tree nut allergy, and my mom stopped the nut love ;) I like to look at the silver lining of his nut allergy;)
I used a mini ice cream scoop to scoop out the batter. Since these will be sandwich cookies, I really wanted to make sure that the cookies were all of uniform size. This will also help them cook evenly. If you don’t have a mini ice cream scoop, use 2 spoons, but watch your size.
After the cookies bake and cool, they will need their filling. I made a pineapple cream cheese frosting. The main reason for that was because I still had an almost full can of pineapple juice concentrate. Waste not, want not;)
I blended together softened butter with softened cream cheese, using a hand blender. I added in some of the juice concentrate and blended. Once that was smooth, I slowly added powdered sugar. You really don’t need a measurement for the powdered sugar. You add the sugar slowly, and blend, until you have the consistency you want. Making your own frosting really couldn’t be easier.
I spread the frosting on the bottom side of a cookie, and then topped it with another. Put the bottoms together so the pretty sides of the cookies are what show. You would have gotten that on your own thought, right?
These whoopee pies ended up so good! These will definitely be a hit on your Easter table! Or any table for that matter. They are just like carrot cake….but handheld. Anytime I can shorten the eating time of cake….I’m in! Make a lot…you won’t be able to eat just one!
Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
¾ cup brown sugar, or ¾ cup white sugar and ¼ cup molasses
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons pineapple juice concentrate
1& ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
½ cup grated carrot
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup chopped pecan, if desired
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar. Add egg, vanilla and juice concentrate. Beat until smooth and blended.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet, beating with hand blender. Beat until mixed.
Stir in carrots and raisins.
Drop onto greased cookie sheet with a mini ice cream scoop. Bake at 325 degrees for about 13 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Let cookies cool for at least 1 hour before frosting.
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter
3 tablespoons pineapple juice concentrate
1 to 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, butter and juice concentrate. Slowly beat in powdered sugar until desired consistency is achieved.
Spread bottom of cookie with frosting. Top with another cookie. Makes 18 sandwiches.