Saturday, December 25, 2010

December's Cookie of the Month: Whoopie Pies

I figured for my last Cookie of the Month I should make one of the cookies in the subtitle to the book The Ultimate Chocolate Cookie Book: From Chocolate Melties to Whoopie Pies, Chocolate Biscotti to Black and Whites, with Dozens of Chocolate Chip Cookies and Hundreds More. Having made a version of Whoopie Pies from the New York Times back in March of 2009, I thought that would be a solid choice.

The cookie part was quite easy, though I might have made the cookies a little more messy than necessary. Using the back of a spoon to smoosh the dough into 3 inch circles might make a smoother sandwich. But they bake up the PERFECT consistency for Whoopie Pies.

The Whoopie Pies I made back in March of 2009 used a buttercream filling. This made them more appealing to the slightly less sweet of tooth. These Whoopie Pies use a less fancy pants, more accessible filling. However, I had a bit of vanilla trouble. The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, but that was pretty overpowering. But 1 teaspoon might be too little, so it doesn't seem like a typo. Maybe my vanilla extract is too alcoholic. I think I saw an episode of Family Ties about that. But really, it almost tasted like my Mom's hard sauce. Which is cool, if that's you're thing. Actually, a pumpkin or gingerbread version of these with a hard sauce filling might be the perfect substitute for a plum pudding, which Mom only made as a hard sauce delivery substrate. Ponder this for December 2011.

Whoopie Pies adapted from The Ultimate Chocolate Cookie Book: From Chocolate Melties to Whoopie Pies, Chocolate Biscotti to Black and Whites, with Dozens of Chocolate Chip Cookies and Hundreds More by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

For the Cookies

  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 C cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 C solid vegetable shortening (4 oz.)
  • 1/4 C granulated sugar
  • 1 C packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C buttermilk (regular or low-fat, but not nonfat)
For the Filling

  • 1/4 c solid vegetable shortening (2 oz.)
  • 3 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 C confectioners' sugar
  • 1 T vanilla extract (add one teaspoon at a time and taste it - or maybe give it a breathalizer test - before you add more)
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/3 C Marshmallow Fluff


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.

2. Beat the shortening, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the signs of the bowl, then beat in the egg and vanilla. Beat in 1/4 C of the buttermilk until smooth. On low speed, stir in half of the prepared flour mixture until just combined, then stir in the remaining 1/4 C buttermilk. Finally add the rest of the prepared flour mixture and stir until just combined. The dough will be thick and wet. Do not overmix.

3. Scoop up 1/4 C of the dough and place it on a baking sheet lined with a non-stick mat. Use your fingers or a wet rubber spatula to flatten it gently into a disk about 3 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch high. Continue making these disks, spacing them about 3 inches apart on the two baking sheets. You should have enough dough for about 16 unbaked cookies - make an even number so you can turn them all into sandwich cookies.

4. Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and back to front. Bake for another 7 minutes, or until the cookies are dry on the surface but still soft to the touch. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

5. Once the cookies are cooled, make the filling: beat in shortening and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until uniform. Beat in the confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in the vanilla and salt. Finally, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the Marshmallow Fluff.

6. Place 2 T of this filling in the center of the flat side of one cookie. Drag the icing toward the cookie's edge using an offset spatula, taking care that the cookie is completely coated with the filling. Top the iced cookie with a second cookie, flat side down. Continue until all the Whoopie Pies are made, placing them on a wire rack for about 30 minutes, until the filling firms a bit.

Previous Cookies of the Month:
January's Cookie of the Month: Soft Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
February's Cookie of the Month: Chocolate Cream Sandwich Cookies
March's Cookie of the Month: Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
April's Cookie of the Month: Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
May's Cookie of the Month: Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies
June's Cookie of the Month: Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies
July's Cookie of the Month: Big Soft Chocolate Cookies
August's Cookie of the Month: Viennese Chocolate Pepper Cookies
September's Cookie of the Month: Potato Chip Chocolate Chip Cookies
October's Cookie of the Month: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
November's Cookie of the Month: Chocolate Caramel Pockets

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