Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Making Whoopie Pies
Actually, I should have titled these “whoop-see” pies because this was one word I yelped out while putting the ingredients together on Sunday morning. You see, I mistakenly added one full cup of both buttermilk and hot water into the mix instead of the one-half cup of each that it called for. I guess that’s what happens when one is trying to conserve energy and cooks in semi-darkness. When I noticed how liquidy the batter became and yet the directions said I was supposed to “roll” the “dough” into a ball (??!)…yeah, right. Well, that’s when I turned on the kitchen light and noticed my error. Whoops.
In any case, I did what any other wise-minded baker would—I doubled the amount of flour and baking soda, said a little prayer, and proceeded on. Don’t ask me why I didn’t double up the sugar; maybe I was trying to make it a healthier whoopie pie. As far as the cocoa powder was concerned, I ran out so I had no choice but to leave the amount as-is. Yes, call me a risk taker! And sometimes risks do pay off in life because guess what? My whoopie pies turned out just as moist, luscious, and chocolaty as I had hoped. My boyfriend took a bite and commented that it reminded him of a Hostess Ding Dong (minus the chocolate frosting), which were my sentiments too. My cousin tasted one and said it tasted like a Devil Dog cake. Well, in case you haven’t tried either a Ding Dong or a Devil Dog in your life (and I’m sorry if you’ve been deprived of such childhood experiences), think of these as a cross between a brownie and a chocolate cupcake. I think I knew I really hit the whoopie-pie-baking-jackpot though when my five year old niece joyfully consumed her pie, ran over to me with a big, chocolate smile on her face, gave me a huge hug, and said “thank-you for baking this”! She knows just what to say to her old Auntie! So,
despite my almost near miss with ruining this recipe, I learned a couple valuable lessons: first, never cook in the dark, especially when your electricity is working fine; and second, there are really no hard and fast rules when it comes to baking. Just have fun, experiment a little, laugh at your mistakes, and maybe, just maybe, things will turn out okay.
Here's my adaptation of Whoopie Pies based on Tish Boyle's Recipe:
ingredients for chocolate cookie--
4 cups AP flour
1 cup non-alkalized cocoa powder
3/8 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup hot water
1 cup buttermilk
ingredients for creamy filling--
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
directions for the cookies--
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, preheat oven to 400 degrees F; butter or use non-stick cooking spray on two baking sheets.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt; set aside
3. In a bowl of electric mixer, using the paddle attatchment, beat the butter and the sugar together at med-high speed until well mixed, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolk and beat until well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla extract. Stir the baking soda into the hot water. Adding one-third ingredient at a time, alternately add the hot water mixture, buttermilk, and dry ingreds, ending with the dry ingredients, and mixing just until well combined (dough should be somewhat thick at this point).
4. Using wet hands, shape the dough into 1-inch balls and arrange them 2-inches apart on the baking sheets. Moisten your palm with water and flatten each ball into a 1 and 1/4-inch disk. Bake the cookies for approx. 7-9 minutes, until the surfaces are cracked. The cookies will still be quite soft but will firm up as they cool. Immediately transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
directions for the filling--
Using an electric mixer, beat the powdered sugar with the butter at medium speed until the mixture is crumbly, about 1 minute. Add the heavy cream and beat at high speed until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and salt and beat until blended.
assembly of whoopie pies--
Using a small offset metal spatula, spread the bottoms of half of the cookies with 1 heaping teaspoon of filling each. Top with the remaining cookies and press them together gently. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Yields about 15 medium sized whoopie pies.