Multipublished Author Lynette Sowell
This is one of my favorite Amish recipes to make. Yum!
Chocolate whoopie pies
For the chocolate pies:
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
For the filling:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup marshmallow creme
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Make the chocolate pie crusts:
In a large mixing bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup white sugar. Add the egg, evaporated milk, and vanilla, then mix well. Combine flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder in another bowl. Add dry mixture slowly to sugar mixture. Mix just until all ingredients are combined.
Drop the dough onto greased cookie sheet by rounded tablespoonfuls. Leave at least 3 inches between each spoonful.
Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until firm. Allow to cool before filling.
Make the Filling:
In a medium bowl, blend 1/2 cup butter, confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract, and marshmallow creme. Mix until smooth. Make the pies by spreading 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling on the flat side of one chocolate crust, then cover with another crust.
A Walk Through Pinecraft
Pinecraft is the setting of my current book series, Seasons in Pinecraft. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit, not once, but twice as I was writing my series. Come with me on a virtual tour of the village.
Hop a flight with me to Tampa, Florida, and let's rent a car and go Pinecraft in Sarasota, Florida. Better yet, let's hire a driver from Pinecraft to pick us up at the airport. Because once we get to the village, the best way to get around is to ride a bicycle or walk.
Even before we turn onto bustling Bahia Vista Avenue, we know we're not in a place where you'd expect to find an Anabaptist settlement. We're in Sarasota, Florida, a lively city of 52,000 on the Gulf Coast.
Breathe in the fresh air, bask in the sunshine, and see the palm trees wave here and there in the breeze. The sandy beaches of Siesta Key are a short 15-minute drive away.
Once we get to Bahia Vista, we start to see something interesting. Bicycles here, there, everywhere, and many more in the winter time.
The village's high season of visitors runs from November until around Easter time, during which the population swells to three or four thousand. The village's boundaries are about three-fourths of a mile west to east, and about one-half mile north to south at its widest points.
Translate: That's a lot of Anabaptists all in one place.
The hotspots in Pinecraft include places like Yoder's Restaurant, an ice cream shop called Big Olaf's, along with other establishments like Village Pizzas by Emma and Der Dutchman Restaurant.
My favorite things to eat include the pie from Yoder's, especially the peanut butter pie; the maple walnut ice cream from Big Olaf's; and a slice of pepperoni pizza from Emma's.
When you step into Pinecraft, toss out your preconceptions about the Amish and Mennonites. You'll see Old Order Amish ladies from Lancaster County, their black aprons fastened with straight pins. You'll see men with long beards waving in the breeze, much like the Spanish moss does from the nearby trees.
A highlight for me was meeting Lydia Fisher, a snowbird from Pennsylvania. Lydia is Old Order Amish, but she has a laptop.
I'll let that sink in for a moment.
Lydia is allowed to have a laptop because she's the editor of Ladies' Journal magazine, which has subscribers in the Amish communities and beyond.
They might be Plain, but there aren't any wood stoves or homes without electricity in Pinecraft. Since the majority of those who stay in Pinecraft are visitors, they're permitted to stay in homes and small apartments that have electricity.
You'll see all kinds of head coverings among the women, too. Some will be small, lacy coverings that remind one of a doily. Others where the sheer, heart-shaped kapps of the Old Order. Still others wear a white, starched, pleated covering.
But not all people attached to Pinecraft “look” Plain. There are more liberal Mennonites who live in the area as well, and like other ladies, some even wear their hair short and wear capris, or even shorts.
Pinecraft Park is a hubbub of activity from morning until late night, with a playground for the kiddos, fishing in Phillippi Creek. You'll hear the clank-clank of shuffleboard players, the grunts and discussion of men playing bocce (they measure to the nearest inch!).
The youth play volleyball at the court—if they're not at the beach nearby, that is. Siesta Key Beach, voted the Best Beach in America, is only 15 minutes away and last winter, the city set up a bus stop in Pinecraft. The girls love to change out their sturdy plain shoes for snazzy flip-flops and they stock up on the suntan oil to get a tan before heading back north.
I will always treasure my visits there, and I look forward to going back again someday.
A Path Made Plain
Betsy Yoder lives with her great aunt in Sarasota’s Pinecraft neighborhood, far from her family in Ohio. Heartbroken by a man who left her—and the Order—to marry someone else, Betsy instead pours her time and energy into her bakery, offering the village of Pinecraft delicious desserts from her Amish heritage, and is content in her hard-working yet peaceful life.
Enter the formerly Amish Thaddeus Zook, a pastry chef who has moved to Pinecraft after working in restaurants among the Englisch. While Betsy nurses a hesitant heart, Thaddeus shows a similar hesitancy about rejoining an Amish community. Though neither can deny the attraction between them, Thaddeus is hiding a past that could threaten their future together. Betsy has lost one love already; dare she risk loving another who has adopt Englisch ways? Or will Thad listen to the call of the open road
Lynette Sowell is the award-winning and best-selling author of more than 20 titles for Barbour Publishing, Heartsong Presents, and Abingdon Press. In 2009, Lynette was voted one of the favorite new authors by Heartsong Presents book club readers. Her historical romance, All That Glitters, was a finalist in ACFW's 2010 Carol Awards. When Lynette's not writing, she works as a newspaper editor and columnist for the Copperas Cove Leader-Press. Lynette was born in Massachusetts, raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, but makes her home on the doorstep of the Texas hill country with her husband, their dog, along with a duo of cats who have them well-trained. She loves reading, cooking, watching crime dramas, and is always up for a Texas road trip.