Homemade bread.

Rosemary Remembrance Bread for a grieving friend.

Today has been one of those days. So, for dinner, I would like one of these, please and thank you.

(In the real world, MacG and I are having dinner with PLLTT in her new place. Obv, that’s going to be WAY better than some stupid cookie.)

Irish Soda Bread

The origin of the whoopie pie (aka moon pie, gob, bob, black and white, or BFO (??)) is much debated among New-Englanders. The Maine State Legislature has even gone so far as to name it the official state treat. But Pennsylvania and Massachusetts both have dogs in the whoopie pie fight, as well. My loyalties, of course, lie with the Mainers. I wheedled this recipe out of KO’s mom when we were at camp in Maine last summer.

Whoopie Pie Shells: 4 cups flour, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 cup cocoa, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup hot water, 1/2 cup butter (room temperature), 1/2 cup shortening, 1 cup buttermilk, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Sift together dry ingredients, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter, shortening and sugar. Switch to the whisk attachment and mix in eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Then add hot water and dry ingredients a bit at a time, alternating between the water and the dry ingredients. Scoop large spoonfuls of batter onto a greased cookie sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-20 minutes; remove from oven and set aside.

Whoopie Pie Filling: 6 Tbsp marshmallow fluff, 4 Tbsp vanilla (this is not a typo), 4 Tbsp flour, 4 Tbsp milk, 4 cups confectioners sugar (sifted), 1 1/2 cups shortening

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix until smooth. Place a scoop of filling between two shells, and enjoy!

Now just imagine eating them here:

I baked all weekend, and it was glorious.
(Not pictured - dinner party focaccia. Fried bread is the best.) I baked all weekend, and it was glorious.
(Not pictured - dinner party focaccia. Fried bread is the best.) I baked all weekend, and it was glorious.
(Not pictured - dinner party focaccia. Fried bread is the best.) I baked all weekend, and it was glorious.
(Not pictured - dinner party focaccia. Fried bread is the best.)

I baked all weekend, and it was glorious.

(Not pictured - dinner party focaccia. Fried bread is the best.)

Focaccia!

Whoopie pies!!

There are no Yanks in my family—my father’s side of the family tree has its roots dug solidly into the middle-Tennessee soil and my mother’s family migrated west from Missouri—so I was surprised to learn that this recipe has its roots in Massachusetts. Growing up, we made these every year at Christmas. Some of my favorite baking memories revolve around this spicy, rummy dough: the ache in my five year old shoulders from stirring, the sense of anticipation created by the overnight refrigeration of the dough, the forming of the last bits of dough into a misshapen candy cane. 

This year, I took a batch up to Chicago to decorate with my 2 year old nephew. He has the cooking-baking-fever (some of his favorite toys are tiny plastic pots and pans), and we had a blast making a mess with icing. So, without further ado…

Joe Froggers

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

3/4 tsp cloves

3/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

3/4 cup butter (at room temperature)

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup molasses

1 Tbsp rum (or a nice sweet bourbon!)

1/3 cup water

Mix and sift flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Cream butter and sugar. Add molasses and rum to creamed mixture; beat well. Add flour mixture and water to creamed ingredients alternately, beating well between each addition. Divide dough and wrap each half in foil. Chill overnight, or for at least 1 hour.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375. Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch, one half at a time. Cut cookies in shapes desired. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Let cookies cool on wire rack. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week or two.

Baking the family recipe gingerbread cookies, called Joe Froggers for reasons unknown. Can’t wait to decorate them with the fam this weekend!