Oh My, Whoopie Pies


Whoopie pies seem to be all the rage these days (at least for dessert addicts like me). I have never had a packaged whoopie pie but on Top Chef Just Desserts they seemed to want to make them every other challenge. I told my friend I was going to give whoopie pies a whirl yesterday, and she told me she had just listened to a story on NPR that morning about Maine wanting to change their state dessert to the whoopie pie. Coincidence or sign? I don't know but I decided to see what the fuss was about and modified a recipe from my new favorite baking cookbook "Baked Explorations" by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. The result of this pretty labor-intensive effort was pretty delicious - two moist chocolate pillows sandwiching a ridiculous vanilla buttercream layer with a thin layer of chocolate ganache thrown in for good measure (recipe wasn't quite chocolaty enough for me - of course). Try these out - Maine might be on to something.

Whoopie Pies (adapted from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito)

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

3 1/2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup hot coffee

2 cups brown sugar

3/4 cup oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup buttermilk

For the filling:

5 egg whites

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 cups butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

For cookies:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.

In another large bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, hot coffee and 1/2 cup hot water until powder is dissolved.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and oil. Add this to cocoa mixture and whisk until combined. Add egg, vanilla, and buttermilk and whisk until smooth.

Use rubber spatula and fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients until combined.

Drop dough by heaping tablespoons one inch apart and bake for ten minutes. Cookies should just start to crack and should still be a little soft - do not overbake, or they will be too dry.

For the chocolate ganache:

Melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 3 tablespoons cream. Stir until smooth and let cool to room temperature.

For the filling:

Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in a medium bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Heat the mixture until sugar is totally dissolved and color is milky white - 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on medium high until smooth and fluffy - 5 minutes. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with the paddle attachment, add the cubed butter, and beat on medium high speed until smooth and fluffy - 5 minutes. Add salt and vanilla and beat for 5 seconds.

To assemble the whoopie pies, cool cookies and turn upside down (flat side up). For each pie, spread about 1 teaspoon chocolate ganache on one cookie. Spread about 1 tablespoon filling on another cookie and sandwich the 2 cookies together. Continue with the rest of the cookies. Store in fridge for up to three days - let come to room temperature before serving.

Makes about 20-23 whoopie pies