Before Borders went broke, massively on sale and then shut its doors, I used to love going in there and spending hours sitting in the comfy armchairs and looking through all the baking books, deciding whether they were worth buying or not (I guess that’s why it went bankrupt – everyone sat around and read the books, no one bought anything). About a year ago, a book called Whoopie Pies caught my eye. It was really the photos on the front of the book that got my attention – I had never seen whoopie pies before. They looked like cookie sandwiches (and we know I love cookies). I had to try whoopies! Then recently, I started seeing whoopie pies everywhere. A food magazine I was reading featured a recipe. Then Masterchef went to Brooklyn, NY and whoopies were attempted. The whoopie pies were calling – it was time to make them.
They are a cross between a cake and a cookie, or some say they are the best parts of a cupcake (the top and the frosting). The recipe that appealed to me most was from Baked Explorations by Brooklyn bakery, Baked. The whoopie pies looked damned delicious and didn’t use any shortening (a bit yuck).
As for the frosting, I decided to give BabyCakes one more go. I crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t fail me again. The frosting had just been on my mind because Erin McKenna claimed that it was so amazing that people took shots of it. So I gave it a go using normal milk instead of soy (as I’m not dairy intolerant). That was a massive fail. The frosting only set when it was frozen and once I put it on the whoopies, this happened:
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER WHOOPIE PIES
Adapted from Baked Explorations.
For the whoopie pies
I use wholemeal flour in place of plain flour in some of my recipes. This is both for texture and because it is better for you. If you don’t have any or don’t want to use it, then feel free to substitute it with plain flour.
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat the oven to 180 C and line 3 trays with baking paper.
Put the cocoa and coffee in a large mixing bowl. Pour over the hot water and whisk until smooth. Whisk the sugar and oil together separately, then add it to the cocoa mixture and whisk to combine.
Add the egg and vanilla and keep whisking till its smooth, then do the same with the buttermilk.
Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Gently fold it in using a rubber spatula.
Use tablespoons to scoop 5cm rounds onto the baking trays, leaving room for spreading. Alternately, pipe 5cm rounds of batter onto the trays.
Bake the whoopie pies for 8-10 minutes, until the centres are just set. Careful not to overbake these as they can become dry and cakey. Trust me, I learnt the hard way (see what I did with my cakey whoopie pies here).
For the filling
You can use a range of frostings to fill these, such as cream cheese, swiss vanilla or this yummy peanut butter one.
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
3/4 cup icing sugar
Put this all in the bowl of your electric mixer. Beat on medium-high for 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Then its ready!
Once the whoopie pies are cool, match them all up with their friend of the nearest size. Spread a generous amount of filling on the flat side of one of the pairs.
Sandwich his friend on top and take a big bite. Whoopie! Makes 12 whole whoopie pies.