Monday, April 23, 2012

Whoopie! Chocolate Whoopie Pies

The Sur La Table store that opened in December at Columbus Circle has put a slight dent in my wallet. Instead of trekking down to NY Cake, this awesome cooking and baking superstore is within walking distance of my apartment. When I stopped in awhile ago while killing time after work, I noticed a clearance display and wandered over for a look. One can never have too many kitchen gadgets! And sitting on the display was a shiny new Wilton Whoopie Pie pan for under $5. A steal. I'd seen the pans before, but had no desire to spend $12 on one. The new pan made it back to my apartment, where, of course, I now had to bake Whoopie Pies!

Growing up in the Midwest, I experienced this comfort treat. Traditionally, Whoopie Pies are a staple in Amish areas and contain two mini cakes sandwiched together with a marshmallow frosting/filling.

The recipe I followed is from the book, Whoopie Pies. While there are many cake and filling variations, I decided to stick with the classic chocolate with marshmallow filling. 
The cake is really simple to make. I mixed all the ingredients in my Kitchen Aid and then scooped the batter into the pan. 
I realized after I scooped the batter into the pan that I forgot to grease the pan. Even though I knew the pan was non-stick, I still worried the little cakes would stick. Not to worry though, as they popped out with ease. If you don't have a Whoopie Pie pan (which honestly is probably only good for making Whoopie Pies... or maybe some other soft cookie), just drop the batter on a Silpat and bake. Ones the cakes have baked, it's time to make the filling.
Whip up the filling ingredients and then make sure your cakes are completely cooled before filling and sandwiching. 
For a truly classic look, just take a butter knife and spoon some filling on the bottom (flat side) of a cake. I decided to be a bit fancy and used a piping bag and tip.
Top the sandwich with a second cake and you're good to go!
The recipe yielded about 20 Whoopie Pies. I did try to make some of the cakes on a cookie sheet instead of the pan, and noticed that they came out a bit flatter (which I think is more authentic). Be generous with the filling, as the cakes themselves are a little dry.


Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Marshmallow Filling

Adapted from Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell

1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Classic Marshmallow Filling
1 1/2 cups Marshmallow Fluff 
1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°. Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt onto a sheet of wax paper. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening and brown sugar on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.
Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk to the batter and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining flour mixture and the remaining ½ cup milk and beat until completely combined.
Using a spoon, drop about 1-1 1/2 tablespoons of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets; repeat, spacing the rounds at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes each, or until the rounds spring back when pressed gently. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the Marshmallow Fluff and the vegetable shortening, staring on low and increasing to medium speed until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low, add the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes more.
Using a knife , spread the filling onto the flat side of a cooled cake. Top with another cake, flat side down. Repeat with the remaining cakes.

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