Feeling very nostalgic this week. Probably just the after effects of Mother's Day. You know how it is when everyone is celebrating a day that you can't or don't celebrate for whatever reason. With my job I have constant contact with people-happy people,people heading out on vacation or returning home. So they are already in festive moods-add a holiday to the mix and they are giddy with excitement. All day long I gave and received Happy Mother's Day Greetings. It was sweet even though I'm only a step mother to my kitty Mischa and doggy Hailey. But it made me think of all the people-both men and women who have been a mother to me when I needed it most. Friends no longer in my life, a stranger just passing momentarily on the street yet sensing my sadness and reaching out ,touching my arm and asking "are you OK". A brother who wrote something in an email so sweet and poignant it brought tears to my eyes , a sister who knows what I'm feeling and thinking all the time.
Every day someone comes into our life and touches it -sometimes just briefly and we don't even notice, sometimes they linger and we end up lingering over the meeting , trying to figure out what message the universe was trying to deliver through the contact and then just giving in to the experience and adding it to our "character bank ". I have always believed we have something to learn from each other with every contact and those contacts add to our own character ,spirit or soul whatever you choose to call it. On Mother's Day this week I had a contact that will stay with me and one I will draw on when I forget how precious life is. And you know we all do, we get caught up in going somewhere,doing something,seeing someone,meeting a deadline-that we miss the moment of the present-and once it's gone,it really is gone.
The moment I had with a customer on Mother's Day started just as a normal interaction-you know -hi how are you ? heading home ? where did you go for vacation ? Her answer was New York-and then she added she was there for the whole car bomb incident in Times Square-and not only was she there,she and her friends and some family members were standing next to the car when it went off with the pop pop pop and the smoke. They thought the car was on fire and started to walk away-and then the police came-forcing everyone quickly out of Times Square. It wasn't until later, sitting in a restaurant,when they caught what had happened on CNN. And then she knew just how lucky she was-then she knew how many angels had surrounded her and her loved ones, how the Universe in that split second reached out and said, no not now, not here, not today. For whatever reason-everyone who was there that day was blessed by circumstances that stopped a very terrible thing from happening. And this beautiful woman with the warm smile and sparkling eyes was standing in front of me telling me the story of that day. In that moment I really looked at her and thought how different it could have been-she wouldn't have been sharing that moment with me-we wouldn't have been laughing about crazy New York cabbies,about the wild and woolly side of Times Square and about going home to family. She knows how blessed she was and is and I know . And in sharing that moment with me I was reminded how precious every single second of life is. Does it sound corny- I don't care-I don't want to become complacent with life. I want to be corny,and sappy,and happy and embrace it with excitement and exuberance. I want to celebrate every second every day and share love and happiness with those I care most deeply about. And I don't ever want to forget that those people who come into our life are there for a reason.....for the moment..... for life. Peace
When I was thinking about what could I bake to celebrate life and what I writing about-what could sum up how life should be, well what better way then with a "WHOOPIE PIE" . Now I don't want to diminish my thoughts by saying something I bake could sum up that feeling- I just want to capture that feeling in some small way through my baking. And doesn't just saying Whoopie make you happy, make you remember something sweet and joyful from your childhood. Here's to the joy of life and the wish for good memories and sweet moments for all of us.
I used the fabulous "whoopie pies" cook book written my 2 fellow baking peeps-Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell. What fun bakers they must be to put together the recipes in this book. And it's a wonderful book of mix and match -so many recipes you could mix and match to Whoopie eternity. Buy It !
I made S'more Whoopie Pies-yummy yummy yummy. Here is the recipe from Daily Candy-but go out and buy the book -there are wonderful scrumptious recipes to be tried.
S’more Whoopie Pies
makes about 48 two-inch cakes
Graham Cracker Whoopie
Ingredients1½ c. graham flour
¾ c. all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tbsp. vegetable shortening
1 c. (packed) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ c. buttermilk
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together both flours, baking powder, and salt.
3. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, shortening, and brown sugar until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and buttermilk and beat until combined.
4. In a measuring cup, combine milk, baking soda, and vinegar. Add milk mixture to batter along with flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Add vanilla and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until completely combined.
5. Using a spoon, drop about 1 tablespoon of batter onto one of the baking sheets. Repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart.
6. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes each or until the cakes begin to brown.
7. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
8. Spread with marshmallow cream and chocolate ganache, but if you’re in a hurry a dollop of Marshmallow Fluff and a square of chocolate will do the job.
1½ c. Marshmallow Fluff
1¼ c. vegetable shortening
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp.vanilla extract
1. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together Marshmallow Fluff and shortening, starting on low and increasing to medium speed until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
2. Reduce mixer speed to low, add confectioner’s sugar and vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes more.
8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips or 8 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
½ c. heavy (whipping) cream
1. Put chocolate in a large, heat-proof bowl.
2. Heat cream in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat just until it bubbles.
3. Pour cream over the chocolate in the bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes, until the chocolate is melted.
4. Stir until smooth. Allow the mixture to rest until firm enough to spread, about 2 hours. You may also refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes, until it is firm enough to spread, stirring every 10 minutes.
If the pies last long enough to store, the authors recommending keeping them in a single layer because they tend to stick together. I lined a cookie sheet with clean parchment and then put another layer of parchment over the top of them and built a little aluminum foil tent over that-I think that helped keep them fresh for delivery to the office the next day!
Bon Appetit my little Whoopie Pie Peeps ! And to Angela from BC who took the time to share her moment with me , I wish you a life filled with angels, laughter and people who love and care for you.