Bonus Post: Pink Grapefruit Whoopie Pies

Whether you’re baking for a lovebird or a lonely heart this Friday, these Pink Grapefruit Whoopie Pies — sweet and tart — are perfect for Valentine’s Day!photo-99

Ingredients:

For the Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Zest of 1 pink grapefruit
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup fresh pink grapefruit juice
  • 3 drops red food coloring

For the Filling

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 
 Zest of 1 pink grapefruit
  • 
3/4 cup fresh pink grapefruit juice

Instructions:

For the Cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) baking sheets.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, and zest; set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine milk, grapefruit juice, and vanilla; set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, alternating with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the flour.
  • Gently mix in food coloring.

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  • Drop 2-3 tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets. (Leave 2 to 2 1/2 inches between each cookie if using traditional cookie sheet.

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Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes; transfer to a rack to cool completely.

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For the Filling:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter, powdered sugar, and grapefruit zest on medium speed.
  • Add grapefruit juice, increase speed to medium high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.

Putting It Together:

  • Pipe filling onto bottom of one cookie, top with a second cookie, and gently press together to form a sandwich.
  • Roll in sprinkles, if desired.

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This recipe yields 15 whoopie pies.

Cape May & Mini Berry Crumble Pies

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I stopped for coffee on my way to work this morning and was saddened to see an urn of Pumpkin Spice coffee next to my 100% Columbian brew. I’m not ready to let go of summer and weekly trips to the shore. On one recent trip, I visited a shore town that also clings to the past, Cape May. Located at the southern tip of New Jersey, Cape May is the nation’s oldest seaside resort.

In the early to mid- 18th century, Philadelphians began vacationing in Cape May, some staying at Congress Hall, first constructed as a boarding house in 1816. Reconstructed in 1879, four U.S. Presidents vacationed at Congress Hall, with Benjamin Harrison even making it his official Summer White House.

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Still an operating hotel, Congress Hall mixes old with new

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and offers a fantastic lunch at the Blue Pig Tavern! It’s the perfect place to take a break from exploring the nearby shops.

Though there’s now a promenade that runs along the beach

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and a 157-foot lighthouse to climb,

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Cape May retains its historic charm.

With a storied history dating back as far as the early 1600s, the entire city is considered a National Historic Landmark, largely due to the prevalence of Victorian architecture — nearly 600 preserved buildings. In fact, Cape May has the second largest collection of Victorian houses in the United States after San Francisco.

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Many of the homes have been converted into Bed & Breakfasts, and one great example of the architecture has been converted into a museum.  The Emlen Physick Estate, a Stick Style 18-room mansion, was designed by Frank Furness.

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Photography isn’t allowed on the museum’s guided tours, but I managed to sneak a couple of photos of my favorite rooms in any home:the dining room

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and kitchen.

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The photo above is the baking area of the 1880-era kitchen, which got my wheels turning, thinking of desserts fit for a proper Victorian summertime picnic. (Incidentally, I learned on the tour that such outings would traditionally be held in cemeteries!) I settled on Mini Berry Crumble Pies. Baked from scratch in a cupcake tin, these pies are surprisingly easy to make and a perfect way to use the last berries of the season.

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Click Here to Print This Recipe.

Ingredients:

For the Filling

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pound strawberries, sliced
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 6 ounces blackberries

For the Topping

  • 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

For the Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces and then frozen
  • 6 tablespoons shortening, chilled
  • 8-10 tablespoons ice water

Instructions:

For the Filling

  • In a large bowl, mix all ingredients; set aside.

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For the Topping

  • In a medium bowl, mix flour, oats, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
  • With your hands, work in butter until small clumps form. Mixture will feel like wet sand.

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For the Crust

  • Place flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine.
  • Add frozen butter cubes and pulse 5 times until butter looks like corn meal with pea size pieces of butter.
  • Add shortening and pulse 4 times.
  • Place flour mixture in a large bowl; pour half the ice water on top. Mix together until medium-size clumps form. Add the rest of the water and mix until just combined. Use palm to fold and press dough until dough forms one large mass and just comes together. Do not overwork dough.
  • Split dough in two equal portion discs, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes to one day. (One disc will be left over.)

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Putting It Together

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly flour pastry mat and roll out dough. Cut small circles and line muffin tin with dough.

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  • Fill each cup with berry mixture.
  • Top with crumb topping.
  • Bake 30-40 minutes.
  • Remove to wire rack to cool before serving.

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DISTANCE TRAVELED FROM PHILADELPHIA TO CAPE MAY: 93 miles

Stanford Theatre & Peach Cobbler

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In the heart of Silicon Valley, a hub for technology and innovation, is a tribute to days gone by. Opened in 1925 and restored by the Packard Foundation in 1987, the Stanford Theatre on University Avenue in Palo Alto is an institution.

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The theater, which seats close to 1200 with the balcony,

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presents only classic Hollywood films made between 1920 and 1965. In fact, many of the films shown actually played at the theater during their original release! In an ode to tradition, each Christmas Eve the theater presents It’s a Wonderful Life. And even in our digital age, the theater exclusively shows 35 mm prints using carbon arc projectors.

Ticket prices are something of a throwback as well. Visitors pay only $7 for a double feature, and popcorn prices start at just $1.

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The management also graciously allows guests to bring their own snacks, candy, and beverages, giving the perfect excuse to stop in nearby Rocket Fizz: Soda Pop & Candy Shop!

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Filled with more types of candy and soda than a person can imagine, I decided on a few retro candies to indulge in during the Audrey Hepburn double feature playing on the night of my visit.

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You can’t help but feel excited when you hear the mighty Wurlitzer theater organ played live before and after the 7:30pm show.

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It appears from and returns to the orchestra pit just as the curtain opens and the feature begins.

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Not far from the Stanford Theatre is another Palo Alto institution, the Creamery Fountain and Grill.

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Opened in 1923, the ever-crowded and popular restaurant is known for its milkshakes. With more than two dozen flavors, I faced a difficult choice, until I saw that they offered a seasonal flavor. Ever one to opt for something I won’t be able to have later, I went seasonal and was rewarded with a peach cobbler milkshake, complete with bits of crust!

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I loved my nostalgic experiences in Palo Alto, slurping up every last bit of my milkshake and laughing out loud during Roman Holiday. The sole disappointment was that I only made it through half of Sabrina before jet lag and a long day of meetings got the best of me. And while I knew that streaming the rest of the movie in my condo wouldn’t come close to recreating the theater experience, I was certain I could make a peach cobbler to rival the Creamery’s!

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Click Here to Print This Recipe.

Ingredients:

For the Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

For the Peaches

  • 6 large peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

For the Biscuit Topping

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup boiling water

For the Cinnamon Sugar

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions:

    Prepare the Crust

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 13×9 baking dish.
    • Using an electric mixer, blend flour, coconut, powdered sugar, and salt. Add butter; beat on low speed until moist clumps form.
    • Press dough onto bottom of baking dish.
    • Bake until golden brown (edges will be darker), about 25 minutes. Set aside to cool and prepare peaches.

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    Prepare the Peaches

    • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
    • In a large bowl, toss peaches with sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, vanilla, and nutmeg.
    • Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.

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    Prepare the Biscuit Topping

    • While peaches bake, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is blended and coarse in texture.
    • Stir in water until just combined.

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    Putting It Together

    • Pour peaches over crust. Drop spoonfuls of biscuit topping over peaches. Sprinkle entire cobbler with cinnamon sugar mixture.
    • Bake until topping is golden brown (it will spread as it bakes), about 25 minutes.

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    DISTANCE TRAVELED FROM PHILADELPHIA TO PALO ALTO: 2,549 miles

    [This recipe uses the coconut shortbread crust from my lemongrass bars and adapts the peach cobbler recipe from Epicurious.]

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