Saturday, January 8, 2011

Weird Appetite

Yesterday my appetite was all out of wack. I woke up in the morning not hungry, which is usually how it is but as I get ready for school my hunger kicks in. Yesterday, it never did. I knew I had to eat something so I had a a cup of peanut butter puffins with half a banana and a big scoop of plain greek yogurt.
This breakfast is a smaller breakfast then I usually eat so I knew I would most likely be hungry while at school but I didn't want to eat anything else. Three hours later I am ravenous! I still had a couple hours till I would be home for lunch and was instantly regretting the small breakfast..then,oddly enough, my hunger went straight from ravenous to non existent, almost to the point of feeling sick to my stomach :/ grrr

When I came home for lunch the only thing I found appetizing was popcorn, and I knew that wouldn't work so I tried to make myself a salad even though I was totally not in the mood for food.
Salad consisted of spinach,leftover roasted green beans, sauteed mushrooms hit with a little balsamic vinegar, toasted pecans, and cinnamon cranberry goat cheese.
Normally I would be all over this salad but I didn't really find it that appetizing. It was a real bummer.
Can I please eat this again now that I have my appetite back?
For dessert I had one of those delicious store bought Lofthouse sugar cookies that my teacher gave us. He got a box of a dozen for 25 cents each on clearance so he stocked up; hmm I wonder how old that cookie was? :P They were Christmas themed so that could mean up to two weeks old!
The other half was given to my mom.
And I could eat that cookie no problem but other food I couldn't stomach..funny how that happens, isn't it?
Went to the gym, grocery shopping, did homework, etc..
Dinner was prepared by my mom. It was grilled pork, steamed broccoli, and store made sourdough bread.
My plate:
Got seconds on the bread & brocc.
Luckily my hunger had returned after I started eating dinner, and I no longer felt sick. (:
Immediately after dinner I got started on a baking project. After my previous Whoopie Pie success, the whole family was practically begging me to make more Whoopies. :P
Last time I made "Smore" Whoopie Pies from the recipe book Whoopie Pies that I got for Christmas from my cousin. It was a graham whoopie with a chocolate ganache and marshmallow cream filling. I made a half batch just so I could test it out and it took me so long to make. Its kind of like making a cake but instead, it's making 20 mini cakes. There's a lot of cleaning, waiting, and ingredients that goes into it. It is so worth all the effort, I just wish they would last longer!
This time I made a full batch because I wanted to try out two different flavor combinations: chocolate with coconut cream filling rolled in toasted almonds, and chocolate with salted caramel and peanut butter filling.
These guys are extra dark because I used Hershey's dark chocolate cocoa powder. I love anything dark chocolate; pretty much the darker, the better.
After the mini cakes were done baking I got to work on the salted caramel. It was just a basic caramel with sugar and water heated up to amber color stage and then a little heavy cream whisked in. I say "basic" but really, I have had a lot of trouble making caramel. They always seem to be too thick and then I have to thin it out and,oh, let's not forget the fact that I have had a traumatic experience making caramel sauce...
Yeahhh ouch. That is what happens when you quickly pour cream into 380 degree liquid sugar. I partly blame the recipe but basically the sugar spurted up onto my hand and I got blisters all over it. I vowed to never make caramel again but low and behold, the next day I tackled it. This time with a different recipe, oh and I had my brother pour in the cream. That sauce worked, but turned into candy so I ended up having to thin it out a bunch. Let's just say caramel sauce is not one of my favorite things to make...
That was on thanksgiving and now a month later I set out to make it again. Since only half the whoopie pies would have the caramel sauce in it I made a half batch.
Started out with cooking sugar and water on medium-high heat:
Looking good so far...
The recipe said to wait till it turned an amber color and to then take it off the heat.
Too bad I didn't take it off the heat, and kept on cooking it thinking it hadn't gotten to the amber stage yet...
By the time I took it off the heat it started smelling burnt; I waiting a couple seconds to see if I should pour in the cream or not and it just got darker and darker...
Straight to the trash-
No worries, that was just a styrofoam container that was in the trash can, not the trash can itself. See what that sugar did to that styrofoam? Imagine that on my hand.
Like I didn't already have enough things to do, I now had to wait until the pot cooled down so I could clean it for caramel sauce attempt #2. Do I see a theme here? Perhaps I always have to make caramel sauces twice in order to be successful?
After I had started back over it was time to whisk in the cream. You have no idea how scared I was. I did not want to get burned like I did the other time I made it. That burn was so painful I felt like my finger was amputated as I was trying to sleep (although, I do not know how that actually feels like). Anyways, I just went for it. In went the cream and I whisked. Ahhh, sigh of relief.
There we go:
I set it to cool whilst I made other components of the whoopie only to see that it had almost completely hardened...ERG! Again with the too-thick caramel! I added a good glug of milk and heated it back up again to combine it all. After that had cooled it was still too thick! Another big glug of milk went in and it was finally at the right consistency. Anyone have any idea what I'm doing wrong?
I finally finished all of the fillings:
Sadly, there wasn't enough filling for each whoopie pie to get a sizable amount so I couldn't exactly roll the coconut whoopies in toasted almonds so I just put the almonds in the inside. Also, the coconut cream filling was way too liquidy; I was worried the filling would all sploosh out when someone took a bite. The peanut butter filling tasted good, but it never got light and fluffy like the recipe said it would. With all these "disappointments" I was prepared to hand out sub-par whoopies; not able to live up to the success of the smore ones.
After they were all filled:
PB and caramel.
Coconut cream filling w/ toasted almonds.
After almost 3 hours (not including clean up!) of work in the kitchen, I was tired and just a little disappointed. Then, it was the moment of truth. My family all selected a whoopie pie and took a bite. It was silent; all that was heard was a quiet munching sound. I took a bite out of one of the coconut ones first. All the hours of work, was it worth it?
YES!! It was a smashing success if I do say so myself :D Everyone loved them and had seconds and thirds. The coconut whoopie was the perfect combination of dark chocolate, coconut, and almonds (aka an Almond Joy) and the pb/caramel whoopie had the classic flavors similar to a Snickers bar. And even though I had to go sparse on the filling, the flavors came through.  This full batch didn't even last 24 hours. I can't wait to make more Whoopie pies!
Have you ever made a whoopie pie? I hadn't until I received this cookbook since its not very common in Texas. Special shout out to my cousin, Paige for giving me the recipe book. Thanks! :D

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