The December Daring Bakers’ Challenge had us all cheering – the lovely and talented Bourbonnatrix of Bourbonnatrix Bakes was our hostess and challenged us to make delicious and creative whoopie pies! Delicious little cake-like cookies sandwiching luscious filling of any flavor, whoopie pies are a cross between a cookie and a cake (not a pie!), with two round, mound-shaped halves with a sweet creamy filling. According to Wikipedia, Whoopie pies are considered a New England phenomenon and a Pennsylvania Amish tradition. It is also Maine’s official state treat. The traditional Whoopie consists of chocolate cake and vanilla marshmallow filling, but pumpkin and gingerbread are also common.

CLASSIC CHOCOLATE WHOOPIES WITH MARSHMALLOW CREME FILLING

Ingredients:

For the Whoopie Pies

1/2 cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (115 gm) butter

1 cup (240 ml) (7 oz) (200 gm) brown sugar, firmly packed

1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) espresso coffee powder, optional

1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon (3 gm) baking soda

3/4 teaspoon (4½ gm) salt

1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

1 large egg, room temperature

1/2 cup (120 ml) (1½ oz) (45 gm) Dutch-process cocoa, sifted

2 1/3 cups (560 ml) (10 oz) (285 gm) unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour

1 cup (240 ml) milk

For the Marshmallow Creme Filling

1 cup (240 ml) (6 oz) (175 gm) vegetable shortening

1 cup (240 ml) (7 oz) (4½ oz) (125 gm) confectioners’ sugar or glazing sugar

1-1/3 cups (320 ml) (4 oz) (115 gm) Marshmallow Fluff or marshmallow creme

¼ teaspoon (1½ gm) salt dissolved in 1 tablespoon (15 ml) water

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugar, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla till smooth.

  • Add the egg, again beating till smooth. Add the cocoa, stirring to combine. Add the flour to the batter alternately with the milk.
  • Beat till smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and beat briefly to soften and combine any chunky scrapings.

  • Drop dough by the 1/4-cupful (60 ml) onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving plenty of room in between; they will spread.
  • Bake the cakes in a preheated moderate oven for 15 to 16 minutes, till they’re set and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven.

  • Cool on the pans. While still lukewarm, use a spatula to separate them from the pan or parchment; then allow to cool completely.
  • To make the filling, beat together the shortening, confectioners’ sugar, and marshmallow fluff or crème until it is well combined.

  • Dissolve the salt in the water, and add to marshmallow mixture. Add vanilla, and beat until smooth. Add more sugar if too thin.
  • To assemble, spread filling onto the flat side of half the cakes. Top with remaining cakes. Makes 8 large or 16 small whoopies.

RED VELVET WHOOPIES WITH CREAM CHEESE FILLING

Ingredients:

For the Whoopie Pies

2 1/2 cups (600 gm) (10 ½ oz)) (300 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour

3 tablespoons (45 ml) (3/4 oz) (22 gm) dark unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1/2 teaspoon (2½ gm) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon (2½ gm) baking soda

1/2 teaspoon (3 gm) salt

1/4 cup (60 ml) canola oil

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 ml) buttermilk

2 tablespoons (30 ml) liquid red food coloring

1/2 cup (1 stick) (120 ml) (4 oz) (115 oz) butter, softened, cut into pieces

1 tablespoon (15 ml) (12½ gm) vegetable shortening, at room temperature

3/4 cup (180 ml) (5-1/4 oz) (150 gm) dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1/4 cup (60 ml) (2 oz) (55 gm) granulated sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Filling

3 cups (750 ml) (13 ¼ oz) (375 gm) confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup (120 ml) (1 stick) (4 oz) (115 gm) unsalted butter, softened

8 ounces (225 gm) cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon (1½ gm) salt

Method:

  • Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk oil, buttermilk and food coloring separately.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and shortening until smooth.

  • Scrape down the bowl and add the sugars. Beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract.
  • Beat until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.

  • Do not over mix. Turn the mixer to low. Add flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk mixture, in 3 separate additions.
  • Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds. Cover with plastic wrap.

  • Chill the batter in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to measure out dough.

  • Drop tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets about 1-inch (25 mm) apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  • The cookies should just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean.

  • Let the cookies cool completely on the pan while you make the filling. To make the filling, sift the confectioners’ sugar.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is completely smooth.

  • Add the cream cheese and beat until combined. Add the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat until smooth.
  • Be careful not to over beat the filling or it will lose structure. To assemble, turn half of the cooled cookies upside down.

  • Use an ice cream scoop to drop a large dollop of filling onto the flat side of the cookie. Place another cookie on top.
  • Press down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges. Put them in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up.

VANILLA WHOOPIES WITH VANILLA FILLING

Ingredients:

2 ¾ cups(660 ml) (11-2/3 oz) (330 gm) flour

1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking soda

¾ teaspoon (3¾ gm) baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

½ cup (1 stick) (4 oz) (115 gm) butter, softened

1 1/3 cups (320 ml) ( (10-2/3 oz) (300 gm) granulated sugar

2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla

1 large egg, room temperature

2/3 cup (160 ml) buttermilk

For the Old Fashioned Vanilla Filling

1 cup (240 ml) (8 oz) (225 gm) granulated sugar

1/4 cup (60 ml) (1 oz) (30 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour

1 cup (240 ml) whole milk

1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream (about 35%)

1 cup (2 sticks) (8 oz) (225 gm) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch (15 mm) cubes

1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract

Method:

  • Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar and vanilla.
  • Beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy; add egg. On low speed, beat in flour mixture in 3 batches.

  • Alternating with the buttermilk in 2 batches; beat until just combined. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Scoop 16 mounds of batter onto the baking sheets, about 2 inches (50 mm) apart (about 2 tablespoons batter per cookie).

  • Gently form into rounds with damp fingers and smooth the tops. Refrigerate the mixture until firm, about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6. Bake for 10-12 minutes until they spring back when pressed.

  • Cool for 5 minutes, then move to a rack to cool completely. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together.
  • Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until it comes to a boil for 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool, at least 7 minutes.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high.

  • Beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and continue mixing until combined. Chill slightly till firm.
  • Pipe jam in the centre of half of the cookies and pipe the filling around. Top with remaining cookies. Makes 8 whoopies.
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