Saturday, November 26, 2005

Whoopie Pies

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies:


3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup lard (or can substitute vegetable shortening)
½ cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 teaspoons red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the rack positioned in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, lard (or shortening) and both sugars together on low until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and the red food coloring and beat until just blended.

Add half of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk to the batter and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining flour mixture and remaining ½ cup buttermilk and beat until completely combined.

Using a measuring cup, drop 1/4 cup of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 3 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 11-13 minutes each (check at 10 minutes, when done the cakes spring back with pressed gently). Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. (if you wish to bake together, bake 2 pans, in top third and bottom third of oven, swapping the positions halfway through the baking). Note: For mine, I used a generous 1/3 cup measure and baked a couple of extra minutes. Like any cookie or small bakery product I always recommend doing a test one to get your cooking time right.

Cream Cheese/Whipped Cream Filling
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

In a small chilled bowl beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form; set aside.
Cut vanilla bean in half and scrape into the whipping cream (or add vanilla extract to cream if not using the bean)

In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until smooth, then fold in whipped cream.

To assemble: Use use a pastry bag with a round tip (I used a #12 Wilton tip) to pipe the filling onto the flat side of one cake or simply spread on the flat side of one cake with a knife. Top it with another cake, flat-side down. Repeat with the rest of the cakes and filling.

Dark Chocolate Whoopie Pies

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/4 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
1 large egg
1/4 cup Scharfeen Berger unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup Hersey's Special Dark Dutch Process cocoa
2 1/3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 cup milk

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the 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, beating till smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and beat again briefly.

Drop the dough by the 1/4-cupful onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving several inches between the cakes.

Bake the cakes for 12 to 15 minutes, till they're firm just gently spring back when touched. Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pans.

Whipped Cream Filling:
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
3 Tablespoons plus two teaspoons white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Penzey's Vanilla sugar

Chill the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer. You can do this by placing in the refrigerator or in a room with your ex wife. Both would probably work.

Pour the cream in a medium sized bowl. Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape seeds into cream. Add remains of bean to cream and whisk to incorporate. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Strain cream mixture through a fine mesh sieve into the chilled bowl of your electric mixer, then beat with the chilled whisk attachment at medium speed for 1 minute.

With the mixer running, slowly sprinkle in sugar. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form. Use a pastry bag to pipe onto flat side of whoopie pie.

Storing: Remove the whoopie pies from the parchment paper with a spatula and then allow to cool thoroughly before filling. Assembled whoopie pies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If you need to stack layers, place a piece of wax paper between layers.

Note: Depending on how thick you fill them, you may have filling left over which can be used on a few cupcakes or to fill a couple pastries.

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