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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Whoopie!! I Did It!

I finally got on the whoopie train... the whoopie pie train, that is. Don't you know, they're all the rage. The whoopie pie is the new cupcake, and they're popping up all over the place. Even Crate and Barrel is selling a whoppie pie cookbook, whoopie pie mixes, and a special whoopie pie pan. But I used none of those... I'm hard core like that. 
In case you live under a rock or don't happen to DVR the Martha Stewart show, these are whoopie pies.
Picture from Crate&Barrel
Some of you may remember that I make cookie box gifts each year for Christmas. It's a (relatively) inexpensive thing I do at the end of the year to thank those that I've worked with or to give to special friends. As is tradition, I typically pull out the big guns each year, creating the most advanced and multi step cookies for the treat bags. Like these that I made 3 years ago:
Each one of these cookies involved layering 9 rolls of dough together to create a checkerboard design and then slicing the dough for the cookie... Don't worry if you don't follow that, the recipe is rated Advanced.
Picture from Martha Stewart.

I decided to do the whoopie pie this year... and I know what you're thinking. It's not as easy as it looks. I was concerned about 2 things. One being how I would achieve the perfect circle shapes with my batter and the second being how I would fill the cookies and not make a mess all over the place. I will tell you how I prevented both of these things from happening. First of all, I used this recipe for the chocolate cakes from, which is a great website to find tried and true recipes. It's basically a compilation of recipes from Bon Appetit Magazine, Gourmet Magazine, and a few others. I always look on here when I'm searching for "the best" recipe. Another perk of epicurious are the reviews. Whenever I'm choosing my recipe, I look at the reviews as well, which will have tips and tricks from people who have made the recipe. For this particular recipe, I learned that many reviewers added more cocoa powder than the recipe called for to created a firmer cake. Since I was concerned about the cakes spreading too much and thus not creating that perfect circle shape I was after, I opted to add more cocoa powder too. I ended up doubling the recipe and adding about 1/4 cup additional. This was the look I was going for:
Picture from

After mixing up the batter, I used Reynolds parchment paper for baking to cover a cookie sheet, and then I sprayed Pam for baking on the paper to prevent sticking. This was a perfect combo.
Note, do not skimp on this step. I once used generic, and almost lit my oven on fire. 
Next, I used a 1 Tablespoon measuring spoon and dolloped the batter out on the cookie sheets, being careful to create equal sized blobs of batter in a neat little batter ball. Each cookie sheet held 12 cookies in a 3x4 grid. I modified the recipe to reduce the cooking time to about 9 min instead of 11-13 minutes. I did this because the recipe called for bigger pies, and I was making smaller ones. I used a toothpick when they came out of the oven to make sure they were cooked through.

While my cookies were cooling on a cooling rack on the counter, I made the filling. I wanted a peppermint filling, so I followed this recipe from epicurious for the peppermint filling. I made exactly as the recipe called for and left out the food coloring (doubling it as well). Then at the end, I added a bunch of ground up starlight mints.

I bought a 16 oz bag of the starlight mints, and unwrapped about 2/3 of them. I put them into my food processor and ground them up very very small... peppermint dust is how I'd describe it. The addition of the mint dust is what gives the pink color in my icing. No food coloring needed!
This was all that was left after the 16oz bag was used

Once my cakes were cooled completely, I used an offset spatula to spread the filling on one side of the pie, then just made a sandwich with the other half. And that's when my worst nightmare was realized... the filling was squishing out everywhere...

Gushing and oozing... makes me want to cry.

So after a mild panic attack and small pout fest, I got smart, and put each tray in the fridge to stiffen up the filling. Packaging them with out putting them in the fridge would not do. I actually tried this at first, and was disappointed to create a treat bag with pink filling all over the inside of the bag... definitely NOT professional looking. Refrigerating them did the trick, and the pies were ready to package after about 1 hour in the fridge. They looked like this:

Up close
 So that was my whoopie experience. After it was all said and done, I probably would make these again for a party at home... or for an event that did not require me to travel far and where these were served right away. I probably would not make them again to package up, but I think the recipients enjoyed them none the less.

Merry Christmas and sweet treats,

1 comment:

Jaime said...

delightfully delicious!