Sunday, November 1, 2009


The end of October signals several things: an extra hour of sleep, the beginning of November and only five more weeks until my papers are due (!), and most importantly-- HALLOWEEN! Its a pretty big deal around UVA as far as parties go, I try to steer clear of campus because the frat parties are in full swing this weekend. While graduate students generally hole ourselves up in the library, reading until our eyes are sore, we do go out sometimes and Halloween is one of those nights that we tear ourselves away from our books long enough to attend some sort of social event. Last night, (actually Halloween eve) there was a party for all graduate students at a local restaurant. It was a really great time and I've included some pictures below of myself and friends. I dressed as Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn's character in Breakfast At Tiffany's). I don't have brown hair, but I had the rest of the stuff and it was a pretty straightforward costume. Aaron was Vampire Bill from True Blood, but his fangs kept falling out so he really ended up looking like a normal guy. My other friends (below) dressed as a Queen bee, Sisyphus, and Medusa. For more pictures see my flickr site.

Do not fear, I also had a chance to bake some special Halloween goodies. This time, one of my colleagues and I collaborated for our archaeology class, bringing snacks (the class is from 3:30-6pm so we are all pretty tired and hungry by that point). I made "whoopie pies" (also known as "gobs" if you're from Pennsylvania, apparently).  Basically, they are sandwiches of mini cakes with icing in the middle. I made chocolate whoopie pies with white icing in the middle and they were very moist. I added some orange sprinkles (at the recommendation of Martha Stewart) to add some festivity.

Whoopie Pies
from Martha Stewart

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned and leveled)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar
Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat until smooth. With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture and applesauce, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix just until smooth (do not overmix).

Drop dough by heaping tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto two baking sheets. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cookie comes out clean, 10 to 14 minutes. With a thin metal spatula, immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make filling: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat vanilla and remaining 1/2 cup butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add confectioners sugar, beating until smooth.

Spread bottom of half the cookies with 1 tablespoon filling each; sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing gently so filling oozes out slightly. Sprinkle exposed filling with nonpareils. Let rest 15 minutes to set. (To store cookies, keep in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 days.)

NOTE: I spooned the batter onto the cookie sheets, but next time I'm going to use a big piping tip in order to make them all a consistent size. I think this will also allow me to make smaller pies, which makes them more bite-size and perfect for parties. I think I might also try a Swiss Meringue Buttercream next time.

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