i just turned 30. (gulp.) in my typical masochistic fashion, i’ve decided to celebrate by challenging myself to bake something new each week of my 30th year on earth, and then write about it here. there’s nothing more to it than that i want to hone a habit i love so much, and posting about it publicly–whether it’s read by others or not–will help me stay accountable.
just like in the past, each recipe will be accompanied by a suggested soundtrack as well as mention of any facepalm moments to keep me–or you!–from making the same mistakes again. (these usually have something to do with drinking too much wine.)
the first recipe involves many of my favorite flavors, in one of my favorite forms…
weekly bake #1: pistachio whoopie pies with rosewater and orange cream filling (via serious eats, via the book whoopie pies)
ingredients: pistachio whoopies:
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• 3/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have or feel like buying, use one of these tips to make it)
• 3/4 cup ground pistachios
rosewater orange buttercream:
• 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 3 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
• 1 teaspoon rosewater or rose essence
• 1 tablespoon orange zest
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 3 to 4 drops red food coloring (optional)
time: about 45 minutes
cost: about $15-20
soundtrack: arthur russell – first thought best thought
the plan: 1. position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.
3. in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and both sugars on low speed until just combined. increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 5 minutes. add the egg, beating well. add the vanilla.
4. add half of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk to the batter and beat on low until just incorporated. scrape down the sides of the bowl. add the remaining flour mixture and 1/2 cup buttermilk and beat until completely combined. add the pistachios and mix just until combined.
5. using a small ice-cream scoop or 2-tablespoon scoop, drop about 2 tablespoons of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes each, or until the cakes begin to brown. let the cakes cool on the sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
6. for the rosewater buttercream filling: in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the confectioners’ sugar and the butter, starting on low and increasing to medium speed, until the mixture is crumbly, about 1 minute. Add the heavy cream, rosewater, zest, vanilla, salt and red food coloring and beat on high until smooth, about 3 minutes.
7. assembling the whoopie pies: Spread the filling onto the flat side of one cake using a knife or spoon. top it with another cake, flat-side down. repeat with the rest of the cakes and filling. alternatively, you can use a pastry bag with a round tip to pipe the filling onto the cakes, which will give you a smoother, neater presentation.
facepalms: i definitely let the whoopie cake parts bake a few minutes longer than they needed to, so they were more dry than i had wanted. also, i thought i had pink peppercorns for the cake but didn’t, so i subbed in ground white peppercorns. i was into it. many recipes also call for cardamom in the cake bit but i am personally not the biggest fan so i skipped it. if you think you want to add an extra sumthin sumthin, i’d suggest just adding it to a teaspoon of the mix first and testing it there, and if you’re still not sure even just bake a mini whoopie to see how it will turn out before adding to the entire batch. if you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments!