Throwback Thursday: PB&J Whoopie Pies from The Fearless Baker

I’m still totally addicted to the peanut butter and blackberry jam combo. One of the reasons I was really looking forward to getting The Fearless Baker back out from the library was because I knew that inside that magical book there was a recipe that would indulge that PB&J craving – PB&J Whoopie Pies.

The cookie is actually part wholemeal which makes it more reminiscent of a sandwich and it is light and chewy like cake or muffins. They were super easy to make and so satisfying to eat.

The filling is peanut butter marshmallow cream and it makes a huge amount! You make it by first making a sugar syrup and then adding it to whipped egg whites and once that’s combined you fold through peanut butter that’s been mixed with butter, salt and vanilla. I bought the good stuff – Bonne Maman blackberry jam to finish these off and they are easily one of the most amazing creations to ever come out of my kitchen.

They were messy to eat, I’ll be honest. The marshmallow cream being so generous wanted to ooze out the sides with each bite. I wouldn’t change that though, I wouldn’t change anything at all!

We used the leftovers to create cheats PB&J wagon wheels – I bought some chocolate wheatens that we spread with blackberry jam and peanut butter marshmallow cream and sandwiched together. There was no way I was wasting a single bite of that marshmallow cream!

There are still so many things I want to try from The Fearless Baker. One month going through that book was clearly not enough.

The Fearless Baker: Bourbon-Rosemary Peach Pie

Happy first birthday to Food52 Baking Club! This month, all my Baking Club posts will be throwbacks, and to start us off, I’m finally posting about that amazing peach pie I made for Pi Day several weeks ago now.

The recipe came from last month’s book, The Fearless Baker and I’ll say straight off the bat, the all-buttah pie dough was a knock out. Best pastry ever! I chucked all the ingredients in the food processor (flour, salt, butter, water) and then portioned it in half and refrigerated it as recommended. Then I rolled out the bottom half and popped it in the fridge until it was ready for filling and attempted a fake lattice for the top. I used a simple egg and water and salt egg wash on top and I was just so impressed with the recipe. It’s a bit dark around the edges but I wouldn’t change a thing.

The pie filling on the other hand, I’m not really too sure how to write about. I followed the directions to the letter and it still ended up liquidy. Fabulous tasting, but liquidy all the same. In it was peaches, bourbon, rosemary, brown sugar, butter, salt and cornflour, and the oddest thing is how much bourbon you start out with for what you end up with – you basically cook it down to a syrup, letting it reduce like crazy, but I think it sort of lost the bourbon taste in the process. And I didn’t really get smacked with a rosemary taste either, so overall the pie I wanted, I didn’t really get. I kinda think if I were to make it again I’d just use the amount the recipe wanted to end up with at the end rather than a whole cup of bourbon. And more rosemary, I can’t seem to get enough of it lately.

Of course we served it warm with ice cream – is there any other way to eat peach pie?!!

The Fearless Baker: Drop Biscuits and book review

Today we created something perfect. I was torn with what to bake today for my third and final recipe from The Fearless Baker for the month, should I make the Lemon Buttermilk Glazed Loaf or some scones?! Then I looked in the fridge and noticed we had no cream but didn’t want to commit to an hour of oven baking, so I flicked through some more and came across Erin McDowell’s Drop Biscuit recipe. And ding, ding, ding – we have a winner!

My favourite scone recipe is Date and Lemon Scones that Gary Mehigan made on MasterChef Australia in its first year. The addition of lemon zest just does something to the date flavour that makes it so much richer and I love cracking one open hot out of the oven and slathering it in butter before devouring. So when I saw in the headnote that Erin’s mom would add dried fruit, nuts or chocolate chips to the biscuits, I straight away declared we’re going to try these with dates and lemon zest.

The process was so simple. We chucked the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt into the food processor and pulsed it, then added the cubed butter and mixed until it resembled breadcrumbs. At this stage we added some lemon zest and the dates, the blades chopped them up for us, while the dry mix insured they wouldn’t puree. Lastly we added the wet ingredients that had been mixed together, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and mixed until the dough just came together.

Scoop them out with 1/4 cup measure onto a lined baking sheet and sprinkle them with raw sugar and ours baked in a moderate oven in 15 minutes.

Don’t they look gloriously golden and crunchy on the outside?! Inside they were soft and warm and flecked with bits of dates. I am so happy with this recipe that I don’t think I’ll go back to my Masterchef scone recipe ever again, especially since I ALWAYS have buttermilk on hand, but rarely have cream.

This book has been so fun to bake from and there are still many recipes I’d love to try – especially her pies and her cakes (including the lemon buttermilk loaf I mentioned above). There are also some raspberry ripple bars that have been calling to me and the peanut butter and jelly whoopie pies. Oh and the butterscotch blondies! Really the list could go on.

Erin’s flourless cocoa cookies I declared as the best naturally gluten free cookie I’ve had. These biscuits are incredible, and the madeleines were my first successful attempt! There’s also a peach pie that I will post about soon that was absolutely stunning.

I did have an incident in December where I *tried* to make the salted caramel swirl meringues and they failed miserably. The caramel sauce itself was good, but I think the weather was too temperamental to be baking meringues successfully and it just ended up one big flat swirly disc – there’s no photo because it was that bad. I turned it into a trifle with some stone fruit and whipped cream, but by the end of that dish, I didn’t want to look at another meringue for a long time. So I doubt I’ll try it again.

This is definitely a book worth picking up, it’s very approachable for the novice baker, but also has some recipes that look more challenging. I love Erin’s sense of humor, especially in her description of the different pastry decorating techniques. This is definitely not the end for this book on my blog – but from here on it’ll be relegated to Throwback Thursday.

To see the other two recipes I’ve tried from this book click on the links below:

The Fearless Baker: Lemon-Rosemary Madeleines

I’ve had my Madeleine pan in the freezer for over a week now, waiting for some free time to have another go at making them. And since I had lemon zest and rosemary on hand, it seemed too perfect not to try Erin McDowell’s variation from The Fearless Baker. And spoiler alert…

…they have a hump! I think I’ve finally worked out what to do with my oven to achieve that characteristic Madeleine appearance and I’m so happy that it wasn’t all that difficult after all, and the recipe was really quick to throw together.

You whisk together eggs and sugar until it’s light and frothy, add vanilla and lemon zest and then add your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt). Slowly pour in some melted butter and continue whisking until fully incorporated, then stir in some chopped fresh rosemary. I then refrigerated the mixture for about an hour and preheated the oven.

I scooped the dough using my #30 scoop and popped them into the oven (a much cooler oven than recommended) and baked them for 12 minutes. I did pull them out at 10 but they were still liquidy in the center, but 2 minutes more did the trick.

I wish they weren’t SO golden around the edges, but I’m not sure I can really correct that with my current set up. This recipe made 22 using my normal pan and the first batch I cooked at the recommended temperature and at 8 minutes they were starting to have a hump but they were already looking pretty dark. So the second batch was done at a lower temperature for longer and next time I make them I’ll try that same method!

We really enjoyed the flavour of these. I put in extra rosemary and I could have easily added more, I love the flavour so much. I have one more recipe for this book this month, and it’s an absolute beauty.  That’ll be up on Friday!