A hearty Halloween meal and dessert! First, a soup perfect to fuel your family before trick-or-treating, or to warm up with after. And then, the perfect fall dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth. Tinky Weisblat, the Diva of Deliciousness from Tinkycooks.com, showed us how to make Pam’s Country Ham and Potato Soup, and Paula’s Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.
Pam’s Country Ham and Potato Soup
3 cups diced potatoes
5 slices bacon
3 leeks (mostly white part), cleaned and diced
2 tablespoons flour
1 quart warmed chicken broth
2 cups chopped ham
pepper to taste
1 cup milk
cream to taste
In lightly salted water bring the potato pieces to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the potatoes for 10 minutes. Leave them in the water while you prepare the bacon.
In a heavy Dutch oven fry the bacon until it is crispy and brown. Remove the bacon pieces from the pan and set them aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat, reserving the remaining fat as well.
Use the bacon fat in the pan to sauté the leek pieces until they soften.
Push the leeks to the side of the pan and add 2 to 3 additional tablespoons of bacon fat. Whisk the flour into this fat to make a roux. Whisk for at least a minute or two to let the fat and the flour combine.
Gradually stir in the chicken stock; then stir in the ham, the potatoes, and 1 cup of the potato water. (You may discard the remaining potato water now.)
Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1/2 hour. Add the milk and a little cream to thin and lighten the soup.
Serve with the bacon (crumbled) as a garnish.
Paula’s Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
for the cookies:
1 pound light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1-3/4 to 2 cups pumpkin puree (freshly cooked and mashed, or a 15-ounce can)
1 teaspoon each cinnamon, cloves, and ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
for the filling:
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter at room temperature
1 8-ounce brick cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups confectioner’s sugar, more or less to taste
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the cookies: Combine the sugar, oil, the eggs, the pumpkin, and the spices in a large bowl, mixing well. Add the baking soda, the baking powder, and vanilla, mixing well. Stir in the flour 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Lightly grease baking sheets or line them with parchment or silicone. Drop rounded 2-tablespoon portions of dough onto the sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies are firm. (A slight indentation where your finger tests them is allowable.)
Cool the cookies completely; then get ready to fill!
Beat together the filling ingredients, and spread them between whoopie layers. If you like, use additional filling to make a spiderweb pattern on top of the pies. This recipe makes about 20 filled pies. If you wish, you may make your whoopie pies bigger or smaller than indicated. If you make them bigger, you will have to cook them a little longer; smaller, a little less time.