While browsing at Williams-Sonoma, I came across a new pan, just in time for my theme this week, Whoopie Pie Pan. It sells for $24.95 and, as my daughters would say, "do you really need it?" Well, I have to say "Yes" for two reasons; I liked the size of the "whoopies" and I liked the uniformity. When I it came to filling the "Better Off Red" Whoopie Pies, I had to try and match up like-size pies so they fit together. Takes a little time and you still get those odd ones that are good enough to eat, but maybe, not give as gifts. A recipe comes with the pan (it's on the backside of the package), but I adjusted a few things, so I'm going to give you my version of these chocolate treats.
Preheat oven to 325F-degrees. I sprayed the pan with a "Professional Bak-Klene" that I purchased at Williams-Sonoma. It doesn't gunk up your baking sheets like Pam will. If you don't use it, grease and flour the pan.
In the bowl of the KitchenAid and using the paddle, beat:
12 Tablespoons of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 1/3 cups of light brown sugar
1Tablespoon of vanilla
1 tsp. Espresso powder
Beat until fluffly, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl.
In another bowl, combine:
2 cups of flour
1 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Add the flour mixture, in three additions, alternating with:
2 cups of buttermilk
Start and stop with the flour mixture. Also, when it came time to add the third addition of flour mixture, I stirred it in with a spatula. If your batter looks thick, you can add 1 or 2 Tablespoons of additional buttermilk.
I used a two-tablespoon scoop to put batter into the wells, then, tap the pan on the countertop to evenly distribute the batter and release air bubbles. Bake for 8-10 minutes in preheated oven.
I wiped the pan with a paper towel between batches and resprayed. This recipe made 2 1/2 dozen Whoopie Pies.
For the filling, I made my own Buttercream: In the KitchenAid, beat:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, until fluffly
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 Tablespoons of Vanilla Crush (or a good vanilla)
3-4 Tablespoons of heavy cream.
Beat again, whipping it to a fluffly consistency.
Spread or pipe approximately 2 Tablespoons of filling on the flat side of one half, then, top with another half. Press down carefully (I put the cakes in the palm of my hand to press so I don't split them). I experimented with rolling the edges in different toppings: crushed peppermint, candy-coated chips, and chocolate sprinkles. What kid wouldn't love one of these with a cold glass of milk to do their homework by. I bet you could even get them to clean their room for one of these.
Now, I thought you'd like a little history of Whoopie Pies since I seem to be obsessed this week with making them. Actually, the origin of them is in dispute between food historians. Some believe they are a Pennsylvania Dutch or Amish creation, while others, think their roots are in New England. However, there isn't an Amish bakery (or even cookbook) that doesn't have Whoopie Pies on their list. And, it was the Amish who experimented with a variety of other flavors, including pumpkin (Kelly's favorite), peanut butter, and spice. Finally, it's said they got their name from Amish children shouting "Whoopie" if they found one in their lunch pail. Whatever the history, they are certainly one of my favorites and I'm sure they will be yours. Enjoy!