Monday, February 28, 2011

Whoopee Pies!

"Congress shall make no law... abridging... the right of the people peaceably to assemble..."

That’s one of the things that’s so great about this country of mine. The right to public assembly and peaceful protest. So obviously you’re thinking whoopee pies now, right?

Wait, what?

If you thought the above somehow linked protests and whoopee pies, you’d be right. Nutshell: Maine is thinking of making the whoopee pie their state dessert. PA goes, “say, what?” = Protest. I’m not even from here, but I know how near and dear the WP is to Pennsylvania’s heart. Naturally, I had to see this rally in Penn Square, just outside Central Market. Small to be sure, but it had plenty of delicious looking signs waving in the ohmygodCOLD breeze. And a news crew. Yep.

"You shall never take my Whoopie Pies!" cried man.

Most signs proudly displayed the WP icon, though one said “God hates Gobs” in reference to what some called the Pennsylvania Dutch term gob for whoopee pie. No one I know has ever heard them called that, but hey. My favorite sign, which sadly I didn’t get a picture of, retaliated by proposing we claim the Maine lobster as the PA state seafood. In your face, Maine.

So of course I had to make whoopee pies. Are you crazy? I had two recipes in mind and went full speed ahead. It also worked out nicely because they both called for shortening, and I’ve got a ton leftover from my Christmas molasses cookies.

Whoopie Pies!
From here

These tasted great. I was expecting the cookies to spread and round out as they baked, but be aware that they stay pretty much the same size. Also, if you want that perfect round top, you'll have to shape them. I just did the drop method and you can tell. Instead of all-purpose flour, I substituted all whole wheat and they came out great. Anywho, they were soft and STAYED soft, which is perfect.

Now, I was a bit leery in regards to the filling. It tasted like nothing more than sweetened Crisco. Granted, that's what it is, but that's not really tasty. However, once you sandwich those babies up, you won't regret it. I went easy on the filling because I'm really not into gobs (no pun intended) of icing, but it's up to you. Personally, I divided the icing in half and flavored one half with peanut butter and the other with an espresso/cappuccino mix. Another word to the wise, there's a ton of this stuff, so if you're going to go light, only make half the filling recipe.

Now, as awesome as these are, I've got to finish eating them now. Starting tomorrow, I'm taking a one month gluten-free challenge. Wish me luck!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Stromboli

Everyone has those days. You know, those days. The days you just want to order pizza and veg for a while because life never runs smoothly. Well, I had a car accident the night before I made these. Nothing dangerous, just a little "welcome to Pennsylvania, oh yeah, we have snow" sort of thing. So I was trying to take care of all those things that fall by the wayside since I was too afraid to drive in snow again and took the day off.

Still, the thought of someone bringing food to me sounded way too good. Until I remembered that I didn't want to do that really. Okay, well maybe I was just trying to convince myself that I didn't. Long story short, I had the stuff and the idea for buffalo chicken stromboli got lodged so deeply in my brain that I had to make it right that second. Plus, it'd be faster than delivery.

First step, make the dough. I decided that a quick pizza dough like this recipe was my jumping off point. So let's start here.

Stromboli Dough

1 .25 oz packet of yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour (they suggest bread flour, I've only got AP, whatever)
1 tsp salt
2 T olive oil
1-2 T italian seasoning

Dissolve sugar in warm water and add yeast. Just make sure it's not hot enough to kill it. Let sit for 10 minutes, until frothy and cloudy.

Measure the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and stir. Once the yeast is ready, dump in and knead into a smooth dough. Let sit 5 more minutes.

While you're waiting for the yeast and stuff to marinate, start on your filling.

Buffalo Chicken Filling

2 cups chopped, cooked chicken breast
1 cup grated or chopped cheese (Monterey jack here, but any cheese would be good)
4 T Hooter's sauce or wing sauce of your choice
1-2 T chopped chives, optional
1-2 T chopped banana peppers, optional
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped celery, optional

Mix the above together in a bowl. If you're using Hooter's sauce, melt it before you try to mix it. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Preheat oven to 450 F. Now roll out your pizza dough into a vague rectangle. This will make roughly a two person stromboli. Or calzone. What's the difference? Spoon filling in the center of your dough. Fold over sides to tuck in a seal the filling on all sides. If you have left over dough, I suggest parmesan breadsticks.

Slap in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until dough is baked through and filling is warm.

Slice, eat, veg.