Saturday, June 4, 2011

Holy Cow, is that a Whoopie Pie?

My friend Lynn, owns cows like these, they are so regal looking, They are Highland cattle or an ancient Scottish Breed, actually very distinguished in my opinion.

     Today, was the "Strolling of the Heifers" Parade, in my "Lil ole neck of the woods" and, I already hear you asking "Pray tell, was is "The Strolling of the Heifers"?  Well, in a nutshell, it is when we parade the cows down the center of town, but don't let that be the only definition. This the tenth year of the event, and I can honestly tell you, I have missed all 10 years, only because I am in the hospitality industry, and well watching cows walk, can make a person hungry and or thirsty.

     The Friday before, is spent with pre-heifer activities like the sandwich competition. HA HA,I  should have entered that, but well, I get tired, and parking downtown really is more tiring. Quite frankly, I would rather stand in line at the The Big E, for a Maine Baked Potato, there is at the very least a prize at the end of the journey. But don't let me and my parking issues stop you, because there is also a Gallery Walk(which is a collaboration of the Arts Council of Windham County, featuring artist like Tasha Tudor) and a Street Festival

     But really that is just the kick off to Saturday, the Parade that starts at 10 am. It is when the local farmers, the town, and the tourists come together to celebrate the Farmer, which really is what allows Vermont to thrive.

     This year the Commonwealth Dairy, is combining with the Coombs Family Farms (seventh generation Vermont maple syrup producers) to make the largest maple-yogurt smoothie, along with local cider and apple producers. The target is to measure 335 gallons, which will beat the current record of 264 gallons, that was set in Toronto, Canada, placing the Commonwealth Dairy and Coombs Family Farms in the Guinness Book of World Records. The estimation is 200 gallons of yogurt, 15 gallons of maple syrup, 200 pounds of crushed apples and 15 gallons of apple cider.....HOLY COW~and, I meant that little euphemism!!!!!~ the greatest part is everything has come from the State of Vermont. Lots and lots of people have worked together to make this happen, and big shout out to all the time and hours that went into the planning!!!

     The festivities end with a Royal Farmer's Breakfast, which happens, just down the street from me. It is where the farmer's come together with a historic landmark The Chelsea Royal Diner (a vintage 1938 Worcester Diner, with the long-forgotten Blue Plate Specials, healthy portions, and prices that don't drain your wallet). Then when it is time to work off that generous breakfast, there is the Tour de Heifer, where bike riders from all over New England are invited to enjoy our gentle, but rigorous(hills, lots of them) countryside, that meander through the local farms and food producers that made the whole Parade possible. The routes are geared for the the novice and the serious, ranging from 6 miles to 60 miles. If you are not into rugged bike climbing up steep mountains or gradual hills, there is the Windham County Area Farm, Food, and Fiber Tour, which is a self guided tour set at your own pace, exploring what makes Vermont so rich. My personal favorite is Elysian Farms the only place for our Christmas Trees.
This is where my husband and I pick out our Christmas tree every year. Thank you to Elysian's for making our Christmas's so special each year! 

Classic Whoopie Pies(and or Cow pies), pictures to follow at a later date

1/2 cup shortening Crisco will do, and butter flavored Crisco (EVEN BETTER)
8 ozs by weight brown sugar
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sifted cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tsps(you can get frivolous) pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease some cookie sheets, or if you have parchment paper, no need to grease. In a bowl combine the flour,baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sift the cocoa into the dry mixture, mix lightly with a whisk and set aside. In a standing mixer, cream the shortening, brown sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy add the egg and mix well. Alternately add the wet and dry ingredients until incorporated. * Important secret to a perfect Whoopie~you must pull the bottom of the mixing bowl up into the top so the sugar is well incorporated, otherwise the whoopies will have pools of sugar and not rise properly. Drop by the 1/4 cup(or 1/2 of and ice cream scoop, smooth out a bit, BY NO MEANS FLAT OR FLATTER LIKE), bake about 15 minutes or until firm to the touch. Or if that is vague, with a toothpick poke the top, if it comes out clean, with no batter, you are good to go. Remove and cool completely.

Marshmallow Filling

8 ozs softened butter
1 pound powdered sugar
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
healthy squirt pure vanilla extract (if you want to get Froggy~here is where you add you flavorings, 1/4 peanut butter, peppermint, raspberry, almond~~~it is your pie, you invent it )

Whip the softened butter and marshmallow fluff until lightened in color, add the sifted powdered sugar at low speed, otherwise you got a big mess, and way more clean up time. Mix until incorporated and add vanilla and your other flavorings that you would like to add. *Important note~if you want a chocolate filling add 1/4 cup melted unsweetened chocolate to the finale product slowly until well incorporated.
Take you whoopie cookie and pipe your filling, top with another cookie and decorate~have fun, there are no rules!!!

There are two kinds of people in the world:  those who love chocolate, and communists.  ~Leslie Moak Murray


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