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 fun, delicious and creative whoopie pies! Delicious little cake-like cookies sandwiching luscious filling in any flavors we chose... What else is there to say but "Whoopie!"
I was so excited to see this month's challenge. Despite living not so far away from Amish country, where whoopie pies are everywhere to be found, I have never had one, much less made them. But I have always wanted to. So this challenge was the perfect push I needed to finally make some whoopie! Pies. Ahem.
A whoopie pie, for anyone unfamiliar, is essentially a sandwich cookie, but the "cookies" are more cake-like than cookie like, and the filling is usually a soft, fluffy cream. The "traditional" whoopie pie is made with chocolate cakes and a marshmallow cream filling.
For my whoopie pies, I only went half traditional. With the chocolate cakes.
The batter comes together super easily.
And is scooped pretty free-form onto a parchment covered cookie sheet.
The recipe calls for these to be pretty big, with each scoop consisting of 1/4 cup of batter. That just sounded huge to me, so I went with a smaller option, making single tablespoon sized scoops.
Perfect cakey goodness. (Seriously - they feel and taste like cupcake tops. You know, if you just cut the rounded top off of a chocolate cupcake.)
For the filling, I went non-traditional. Because of little man's egg and dair allergies, traditional cream fillings are a no-no. So instead I made a vegan (aka: allergen free) chocolate chip cookie dough filling. Yup. Chocolate-choclate chip cookie dough whoopie pies.
I didn't get too many pictures of making the filling of assembling the finished pies because I had a few people clamoring for a taste.
Oh. My. Gosh. These were outstanding. And very rich. I am super glad that I went with the smaller sized cookies, because these are decadently rich and filling. Little miss and I actually had to share one for dessert. And that should tell you something!
The next day, however, they made the perfect after school snack.
I have so many other flavor combinations I want to try now, with different flavor cakes and fillings - you can make themed whoopie pies for every season and never repeat yourself!
Bourbonnatrix, thank you so much for th epush I needed to make these amazing little treats.
To see the full challenge as presented to us this month, you can check it out here.
And to see the other delicious whoopie pies baked up in the kitchen this month, you can check those out here.
For the cakes:
(from the challenge)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon espresso coffee powder, optional (I omitted, but added a sprinkling of cinnamon instead)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa, sifted
2 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, espresso coffee powder (if using - I added the cinnamon here), baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Add the egg, again beating until smooth.
Add the cocoa, stirring to combine.
Add the flour to the batter alternately with the milk, beating till smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and beat again briefly to soften and combine any chunky scrapings.
Drop the dough by the 1/4-cupful onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving plenty of room between the cakes; they'll spread. A muffin scoop works well here. Alternately, you can make smaller ones, as I did, using a 1 tablespoon measure to scoop and shape your cakes.
Bake the cakes in a preheated moderate oven for 15 to 16 minutes, until they're set and firm to the touch. For the smaller sized cakes, check them at about 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pans. While still lukewarm, use a spatula to separate them from the pan or parchment; then allow to cool completely.
For the filling:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup butter or suitable substitute (I used coconut oil)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/4 cup milk of choice (I used coconut milk)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Place flour in a non-stick pan and heat, stirring constantly, until it starts changing color. Immediately transfer to another bowl because, if you live it in the pan, the flour will continue cooking and it could easily burn.
Add butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt and mix to combine.
Let cool to room temperature.
Gradually add milk until you get the consistency that you like.
Stir in chocolate chips.
To assemble the whoopie pies:
Spread or pipe the prepared filling onto the flat side of half the cakes. Top with the remaining cakes, flat side towards the filling. Wrap individually, in plastic wrap, until ready to serve.