Lemon HEL-LO!

Ever had a ‘nagging idea’?  The kind that just won’t get out of your head?  Well, a few weeks ago I had one…not the first & pretty sure it won’t be the last…this one came in the form of a recipe.  Now, I’m pretty sure that if you’re reading this (unless this is your first visit), you know that I love to cook…but ‘original’ recipes are not really my thing.  There have been a few (most involve uses for shredded chicken…a.k.a what to do with a rotisserie chicken)…but I’m pretty sure that this is a first: a baking ‘original’.  I use the term ‘original’ very loosely because this is for a Whoopie Pie…and there are so many of those out there, that there is likely a version of this somewhere in cyberspace :). 

I need to tell you a quick story first (shocking, I know).  Prior to my pregnancy with Baby Girl, I did not care for citrus-y desserts…or drinks (other than an occasional lemonade and OJ…fresh squeezed please)…this includes margaritas.  Yes, I was one of the 1% of women that didn’t like margaritas (that is a totally made up number).  I don’t know if it was a  Vitamin C deficiency, or what…but I couldn’t get enough lemon bars, lemon cake, and I craved margaritas (I refrained…calm down!).  During a portion of those 9 months, Costco carried The Cheesecake Factory’s Lemoncello Cream Torte, I had to have this…regularly.  My wonderful neighbor, Suzanne introduced me (I called her the human rubber band…you know those women…they can wear their skinny jeans home from the hospital after a baby…I am NOT one of those women LOL).  I was hopelessly addicted.  I was fine spending the $17 every other week (I said I was addicted!)…but when Costco stopped carrying it, I had to resort to other measures (a slice was like $7 at The Factory…couldn’t afford that habit).  So I researched how to duplicate it…pretty successfully I might add.  My nanny at the time, Miss Brannan, got the first one as her birthday cake.  I got a text from her saying she was eating her ‘to-go portion’ (she wouldn’t take the whole thing) in her car…with her hands…still makes me laugh!  Now that’s finger licking good!

So I had this nagging idea…for a whoopie pie inspired by that Limoncello Creme Torte!  The handheld version…it would have made Miss Brannan’s drive a little less messy!  As I said in an earlier post, the dreary days of January & February have me longing for spring…my daffodils are making their debut, and I wanted to brighten up my kitchen.

The Factory douses theirs with Limoncello, but I didn’t want these to be cost prohibitive, so I am using Lemon Simple Syrup.  I found some Meyer Lemons to use…they are beautiful & very flavorful!  I used 3 for this ‘recipe’, but removed the peel from only 2 (no pith please).

This also utilized one of my most used ‘obscure’ kitchen tools…the citrus reamer…go get you one, they are cheap & and make juicing lemons & limes SO much easier!

See what a great job it does?  I heart this little booger!

I’m using equal parts sugar & water (2 cups of each)…this will make a lot, you can reduce the amount if you want…or it will keep in the fridge for like a month :)…use it in some tea!

Combine these in a saucepan, bring it to a boil (make sure sugar is completely dissolved), then set aside to cool.  Add in the juice of 3 lemons (approx ¾ cups) once it has cooled off a bit.  Don’t worry about getting seeds in the juice, you’re gonna need to strain the whole mixture anyway :).

These pieces of peel would’ve probably been good if I had rolled them in some sugar & let them dry…but I was trying to focus on the whoopie pies…

These are the supplies I purchased…important to note:  I planned on using mascarpone cheese for this, but for $8 for 8 ounces, I decided to try a sub…the new Philly Cooking Creme is absolutely perfect!  I was concerned about using regular ‘block’ cream cheese (which is usually the recommended substitution)…the consistency was just not the same…but the ‘cooking creme’ IS!  Plus, it is new on the market, so there was a handy dandy coupon…I got it for like a dollar!  Total SCORE!

I used a cookie dropper (looks like a small ice cream scooper), so my cakes would be uniform in size.

I got 8 on a cookie sheet, didn’t want to overcrowd & have them run together.

I was afraid to let them cool too much before brushing on the lemon syrup, so these stuck a little bit…next time I will let them sit longer…one batch sat while I assembled & there was NO sticking :).

Now for the lemon creme filling…I made freshly whipped cream (almost forgot to add the sugar…cooking in chaos will do that).

Whip it until stiff peaks form…but don’t take it to the butter stage :).  My pictures of the peaks didn’t turn out…sorry.  Then I scooped this into a bowl,  and in went the lemon curd and cooking creme (no washing necessary between these steps…the whipped cream is going back in shortly)…I used the entire container of each.

YUM!  Go ahead…you’ll want to sample this…mmmmmmm.  Then fold in the whipped cream, don’t go crazy…be gentle with it. 

It just needs to be blended, not homogenized…

Now, scoop it on!

Add a lid (or lib, as Emma says)…

And try not to eat…every…single…one…in one sitting ;).  You will most likely have some creme left-over…it is good for dipping apples in…or just eating with a spoon :).

How spring-y does that look, garnished with a bit of fresh meyer lemon & some of that candied peel???  Sinfulicious, I say.

Want the recipe?  Go over to my Facebook page…I will post the link for the printable pdf there…don’t forget to “LIKE” my page :)…THANKS Y’ALL!

Today’s secret revealed…I didn’t save the mixer whisk, mixer bowl, or the spatula for the kids to lick…took care of that myself!

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