here i am… back to the midwest. back to the smaller town with a slower life. all in all, i’m really loving being back. i was unfairly dreading it as it approached, but now that it’s here, i feel like i’m on vacation. aside from 3 boxes, we’re all unpacked into our apartment, which is much larger than the one we moved out of. the cats are loving the space, but not the hardwood floors. when they finally get a good running start, they end up slamming into a wall. it is quite laughable. poor kitties. we are only in this apartment temporarily, while the final details go into the purchase of our first home in grand rapids, ohio. keep your fingers crossed for us! we would have a small patch of grass as a back yard, a river a few blocks away, and an apple-butter festival in the fall. the house is exactly what brian and i pictured ourselves in. the neighborhood is quiet, but not too isolated. what fun is ahead of us!
for brian’s birthday, which was also st. patrick’s day, we celebrated with the traditional meal of corned beef, cabbage, and roots. he said he had never eaten it before! i didn’t believe him, but he swears by it. good thing he liked it, we have pounds and pounds left. it was mighty tasty, and so have been the leftovers… and will be for the next week! we bought our brisket from the little market down the street, which has a nice selection of locally raised meats. their bacon is probably the best i’ve ever had.
corned beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and turnips
i offered to make him any cake he wanted for his birthday, but he did not want cake. no, nothing quite that simple. my brian wanted whoopie pies. why not? it’s his birthday! brian loves carrot cake, and what a wonderful thing to love in march. carrots are in abundance, and their bright color and flavor reminds us that spring is on its way. carrot cake whoopie pies it is!
they turned out quite lovely. i used this recipe as a base, and added things as i went along to make it into what we wanted. i ended up modifying it to such an amount that it did turn into a completely different recipe. so i am publishing the recipe as i made it, not as comfy belly published it. these, for the most part, were exactly what i was expecting: sticky, cakey, spiced, sweet cookies with a tangy and sweet cream cheese filling. these are fairly nutrient dense, too. made with almond flour, they are packed with protein, healthy fat, low in carbs, and studded with healthy carrots, sweet raisins, and walnuts. i might use less honey next time to let the raisins and carrots do more of the sweetening. i could almost categorize these under “breakfast”, but i won’t push it. i will probably be making these for my dad’s birthday next year, because they are such a welcome change from the usual cake. they are a little more casual than a birthday cake, and though they are very filling, they aren’t overwhelming like a fat slice of cake. i was able to shove 2 in my mouth for dessert within 5 minutes. no, we didn’t have a contest, i was just in the mood to be a glutton. no biggie.
sky high whoopie pie
this recipe makes 2 dozen assembled whoopie pies.
i’m certain it could be cut in half successfully.
carrot cake whoopie pies
4 cups almond flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2-2 cups honey
2 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup carrots
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
preheat oven to 350f. prep cookie sheets with parchment paper. do not, i repeat, DO NOT use a silpat. trust me on this one. just don’t.
place racks in middle of oven.
combine almond flour, spices, and baking soda in large bowl. combine eggs, vanilla, and honey in separate bowl. carrots, walnuts, and raisins can be combined separately in another bowl.
mix wet ingredients with dry until well combined. stir in carrot mixture. if batter seems a little loose, you can add 1/4 more almond flour until it tightens up, or stir in 3-5 tbsp coconut flour.
drop batter by the tablespoon onto cookie sheets, quite a few inches apart. they spread out a lot.
bake for 15 minutes. let them cool slightly on sheet before transferring to wire rack. letting them cool on the wire rack is what helps them stiffen up. otherwise, they will remain too cakey for spreading the frosting, or even for handling.
once all the cookies are cooled, spread frosting and store in the refrigerator. the cookies are pretty delicate and will stick to each other, so i recommend using sheets of wax paper to separate, or do what i did and wrap individually with plastic wrap.
cream cheese frosting (enough for all 24 pies)
2 blocks room temp cream cheese (no, not reduced fat)
1/3 cup honey
2 tbsp vanilla
with either hand mixer or stand mixer, whip all 3 ingredients together. i like mine pretty fluffy. spread on cookies (or a cake!)
the original recipe on comfy belly uses a marshmallow filling, which is most delicious. however, i felt that the cream cheese filling was more appropriate for the carrot cake version. also, the marshmallow filling is made from egg whites, so it has to be eaten quickly after using as it dissolves a few hours after being made. it is very tasty, though, and i have used and loved it on cupcakes before. check it out!