*Or, It’s almost Valentine’s Day–time for bad puns!
When I was a teenager, I believed Valentine’s Day was all about romance–and the fact that I didn’t have a sweetheart with whom to be romantic. I’d sit at home listening to (Rod Stewart’s version of) The First Cut is the Deepest on my parents’ console stereo in our living room, fantasizing about tall, dark, handsome strangers who’d present me with a dozen long-stemmed roses; or dashing, rakish strangers (who happened to own their own chartered jets) who would sweep me off my feet and fly me to Paris for brunch. In reality, I was spending the evening alone, feeling sorry for myself and, mostly, wondering why I didn’t have a boyfriend. My parents, of course, were out for the evening, with each other–since it was Valentine’s Day.
Once I met my friend Sterlin in grade nine, she and I began to spend our Valentines Days together, watching old movies on TV and ruminating about why neither one of us had a boyfriend. One of our best February 14ths was the year they decided to broadcast that old Susan Hayward classic, I Want to Live, on TV. (You see, Oh Younger Readers, those were the days before the advent of PVRs–or even VCRs–in every home, and we were dependent upon the whims of the Great TV Programming Gods for our show selection.) We sat on the faux leather sofa in my parents’ basement hunched over a big bowl of Doritos, alternately munching and sobbing uncontrollably–especially when the laywer character (not realizing he is defending his own mother) remarks to the Susan Hayward character (who is going to face the gas chamber after being wrongfully accused of murder), “If I had a mother, I’d want her to be just like you. ” Oh, boo hoo hoo hoo!! (Crunch, crunch).
Nowadays, although I have a sweetie with whom to share the Day of Hearts and Roses (and let’s not forget Chocolate), I still bemoan the lack of romance in my life on Valentine’s Day. The HH, you see, is many things (witty, kind, generous, incredibly artistically talented, a human trivia database, in love with our Girls), but “romantic” is not one of them. His idea of romance is reading aloud to me. . . from his “Polywell Fusion Reactor” article.
Normally, for special occasions like Christmas or my birthday, I’ve learned to let the HH know in advance what I might like so that, at the least, he’ll show up after work with something gift-wrapped under his arm. This year for Valentine’s Day, however, I decided not to put in my usual request for chocolates (not ACD-friendly) or champagne (ditto) or flowers (I’d probably be allergic to the ones he chose) and just accept that he expresses his love in other ways. A few weeks ago, for instance, when I was feeling a little under the weather, the HH marched out into the snow and -22C (-8 F) weather with The Girls every evening to spare me having to go. And when I slowly rotate my head from side to side in an attempt to release some of the stress in my neck, he’ll often magically appear behind my desk chair and provide a mini neck-and-shoulder massage, no prompting necessary.
I hope I’ll be pleasantly surprised on Valentine’s Day, whether or not the HH’s contribution to the day is classically “romantic.” For my part, I’ve got a special celebration in mind, and it involves making Whoopee. (Pies, of course. Silly!). We’ll have chocolate, we’ll have cake, we’ll have sweetness and a light filling. And, of course, we’ll have each other. And that’s romantic enough for me.
Whoopie Pies: Sugar free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Nut Free (ACD Stage 3 and beyond)
When I first developed this recipe, I put out a note on twitter asking folks about the texture of “authentic” whoopie pies, because I had never tasted one before. I was told they were halfway between cake and cookie, slightly denser than a cake but softer than a cookie–and that’s just how these turn out. Even if they don’t taste “authentic,” I don’t mind. They’re delicious in their own right.
2/3 cup (160 ml) unsweetened plain or vanilla soy, almond, rice or coconut milk (the type in a carton, not a can)
1/3 cup (80 ml) coconut sugar
30-40 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid, to your taste
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) apple cider vinegar
2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
2 Tbsp (30 ml) tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) finely ground flax seeds (meal)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp (90ml) teff flour
1/3 cup (50 g) millet flour
1/4 cup (60 ml) potato starch
1/4 cup (60 ml) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 ml) baking soda
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) xanthan gum
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) fine sea salt
one batch of ACD-Friendly Chocolate “Buttercream” Frosting, from here, or your favorite thick frosting
Make the pies:
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment or spray wtih nonstick spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, coconut sugar, stevia, vinegar, vanilla, oil, tahini and flax until smooth. Set aside while you measure the dry ingredients, or at least 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, sift together the teff flour, millet flour, potato starch, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until combined. Using an ice cream scoop or 1/3 cup (80 ml) measuring cup, scoop out batter and place in mounds on cookie sheet. Wet your palms and flatten the mounds so that they are uniformly about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick all over.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, then rotate cookie sheets and bake another 5-7 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.
Assemble the pies:
Once cooled, cut each cookie in half horizontally (as if cutting a sandwich roll). Spread 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) of frosting (or more, to taste) on the cut side of the bottom of each cookie; replace the top of each cookie over the frosting. Enjoy! May be frozen, either as-is or after they’ve been filled with frosting. Defrost, well-wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator. Makes 6 large whoopee pies.
“Mum, we wouldn’t mind staying home watching a movie on Valentine’s Day if we could munch on those Doritos, too. . . or else maybe we could make our own canine form of whoopee by just playing outside. As in, ‘It’s snowing–Whoooopeeeee!'”
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