Contrary to what my long hiatus from blogging might suggest, I am, in fact, still alive, baking and well! I've been in DC since May 16th interning in the area, but when I made the trek up here I didn't bring any of my baking supplies (what was I thinking?). Thankfully, I have now sufficiently frightened my roommate by lugging up far more chocolate chips, pans and types of cocoa powder than anyone should ever need. I don't think she knew what she was getting herself into when I asked if I could bring up some bakeware.

Anywho, this post isn't like my other posts. This post is announcing/showcasing my entry into my first baking contest ever!

These little sandwiches of deliciousness are my entry for North Carolina into the Better Homes and Gardens State Cookie Contest. The second I was asked to participate in this contest I came up with about a million different ideas of what I would make. Then I hit the problem: just because something is one of my favorite ingredients, or even a southern ingredient, does not mean it has any relation to North Carolina. We have some darn good food in North Carolina, but thinking of a dessert that was in cookie form was quite a challenge. It's probably just because I love both North Carolina and desserts so much that I'd hate to do either of them injustice.

Well, I finally arrived at the decision that I would have to make a pie in cookie form. After a bit of googling I found the Neely's recipe for sweet potato pie cookies. Apparently (according to my brother-in-law who, unlike me, actually has culinary training), North Carolina produces about 90 percent of US sweet potatoes. Who knew?! So with a few changes of my own I made sweet potato pie sandwich cookies with a maple cinnamon marshmallow filling and a cinnamon glaze on top. That's a mouthful. 

Any southerner knows that the key to the perfect sweet potato casserole is a marshmallow topping, hence why I had to add that on my pie-cookies. The frosting on top has shortening in it, and something about shortening screams "southern"...maybe because we're the only ones still using it. I ended up a little pressed for time with these (read: ran to the Watergate Safeway at 5:45am to buy JetPuffed to sandwich the cookies before work), but they turned out delicious. Unfortunately it was raining for the pictures, but I like to think it was sunny in NC on the day I made them.

BHG sent me a pan for the baking (another plus for a broke college student), and let me tell you, I don't think I've ever baked with something that was so nonstick. Literally, right out of the oven these cookies could've slid from one side to the other. Goodbye parchment paper. So there we go, that is my honest to goodness endorsement, and trust me, I wouldn't give that if I didn't like it.

To close this LONG post I will ask that if you have a second, please vote for North Carolina in the cookie contest---even if you're not from NC, don't have any connection to the state, or just don't particularly like us, it would mean a lot to me to get any votes you're willing to dish out! and then go to State Cookie Contest and North Carolina.

Thanks and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Pie Cookies
Recipe adapted from Down Home with the Neelys
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes *
    • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
    • 1 tablespoon butter melted
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
*To make mashed sweet potatoes, wrap sweet potatoes in foil and place them in an oven heated to 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven, peel off skin (it should slip right off), and put in food processor with the 1 tablespoon maple syrup. You'll only need 2 or 3 sweet potatoes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and adjust racks to the middle position. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. in the meantime mix the pecans with the melted butter and brown sugar and toast until glaze begins to set on pecans.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and salt.
Using a hand held mixer (I used my stand) cream together the butter, granulated sugar and the brown sugar until light and fluffy and the volume has increased. Add the egg and the vanilla and mix until incorporated. Stir in the sweet potato puree and blend until smooth. Beat in the dry ingredients in increments and combine well. Stir in the pecans.
Drop in small mounds onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between each cookie. Bake until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges and they spring back from the touch, about 12 minutes. Let cool completely on the cookie sheets

Maple Cinnamon Marshmallow Frosting
Recipe adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow fluff
1 1/2 teaspoons maple extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add marshmallow fluff, cinnamon and maple extract; beat until blended and smooth. 

Cinnamon Frosting
Recipe adapted from Group Recipes 
1/4 cup butter shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2-1/2 cups confectioners sugar 
3 tablespoons milk 
    In a small mixing bowl, cream shortening, vanilla and cinnamon. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar. Add milk; beat until light and fluffy.

    To assemble: 

    Wait for cookies to cool. When cool, either pipe on a tablespoon or so of frosting or spread on with a spoon or spatula. As a side note, I don't have my piping bags with me so I used a ziplock back with the tip cut off and it worked perfectly (tried and true trick). Drizzle the icing over the top of the assembled cookies with either a piping bag or spoon. The frosting may have to be slightly heated if using a spoon.

    Of course it was a rainy day when I had to take the pictures!