Saturday, September 11, 2010

Black Forest Whoopie Pies

The story behind this recipe is in three parts; sharing the combination of chocolate and cherries that inspired me to come up with this creation.

First, on special occasions, my Dad would bring my Mom a box of Whitman's Chocolate-Covered Cherries.  These were her favorite (at least until I introduced her to Godiva :)) and the look on her face  when she opened the box was memorable.  She would share with us and I would bite just half of the confection so I could see the ooze of the creamy filling surrounding the cherry.  I don't particularly like chocolate-covered cherries because I find them very sweet, but I always took one, hoping to discover how they got that creamy, pink liquid around that cherry and not messing up the chocolate.  It was only when I was taking a pastry course that I discovered the secret.

The next story of this creation centers around Erin's first Mountain Day at Mount Holyoke College.  It was the Fall of 1988 and Mountain Day was a special day, that no one knew when it was coming.  It was a surprise occurrence when the bells rang signaling the start of a day off from studies, even if a test was scheduled.  Erin, along with several friends decided to drive up to Vermont and tour the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream factory.  Tasting the different flavors and deciding on their favorite was the only thing they had to worry about on a beautiful fall day.  Erin fell in love with Cherry Garcia, a mixture of cherry ice cream with chocolate chunks in it.  Today, still one of her favorites.

The last part of the story involves Kelly.  In 1991, I wanted to bake a birthday cake for one of my dear friends I worked with at Kaiser Permanente in Mission Viejo.  Addie loves Black Forest Cake which is a rich chocolate cake, cherry filling and topping that is surrounding by whipped cream.  If you're picturing doesn't make for the most stable cake for transport!  Since we lived less than 15 minutes from the clinic, I begged Kelly to hold the cake and come with me, then I'd take her to school.  We were almost there, taking back roads instead of the freeway, when a car pulled out in front of us.  Kelly quickly grabbed the cake, but with braking, it slid back towards her chest.  In other words, she was wearing Black Forest Cake!  I delivered it and quickly had to take Kelly home to change before dropping her at school.  When I returned, everyone had dug into the "ugliest" cake I ever made, but the taste was so incredible, no one cared.  Kelly would appreciate these "little cakes" and I can hear her saying, "why couldn't you come up with this idea almost 20 years ago!!

Black Forest Whoopie Pies

Chocolate Cookie:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cherry flavoring 
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup mini dark chocolate chunks or Nestle's Mini Chips

In the KitchenAid, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter until fluffy.  Add the brown sugar and beat 1-2 minutes until fully incorporated.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beat to combine.  The dough will look a little bit curdled, but not to worry.  Add the vanilla and cherry flavoring and beat again.  Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Add to the batter, alternately with the buttermilk.  Beat until fully incorporated, being careful not to over beat.  Fold in the mini dark chocolate chunks.
Preheat oven to 375F-degrees.  Spray a whoopie pie pan with a non-stick spray or if you're doing a free-form, use a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Use a 2-tablespoon size scoop to measure out dough.
Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched.  Let cool slightly, then, remove to a rack to cool completely.

Mix up the Cherry Filling:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 T shortening
1 small jar (7 oz) Marshmallow Fluff
5 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 c chopped maraschino cherries
1 oz Cherry concentrated syrup*

*As an alternative, you could use 1 ounce of the maraschino syrup from the jar; the flavor isn't as intense, but it will add a "boost" of cherry flavor to the filling.

In the KitchenAid, using a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening until fluffy.  Add the Marshmallow Fluff and 3 cups of the confectioners' sugar and beat well.  Add the chopped cherries and syrup.

Scrape down the bowl and then add the remaining 2 cups of confectioners' sugar.
Use a 1-tablespoon scoop to measure out the filling.  Top with another half and press together lightly.

To finish off, I melted some semi-sweet chocolate chips in a plastic sandwich bad, snipped the end and piped some chocolate stripes across.  Then sprinkled them with deep pink coarse sugar.

So this is what has inspired me to bake, yet another whoopie pie today.  If you have a story to tell, especially if it involves cherries and chocolate, I would love to hear it.  Food makes the most wonderful memories, especially those surrounding family.  Enjoy!


  1. Your original whoopie pies were delicious... I can only image these ones are even better! :)

  2. Oh my! Those look really good! Wonder what my personal bake thinks about these? Does she have the correct size Whoopie pan?

  3. That should be BAKER!!! I really can spell.

  4. Libby~She does, but I'm sending her some of these to try. xoxo

  5. Oh no!! I expect Libby will be camped out in my driveway waiting for the arrival of the Whoopie Pies!! Thank you for the goodie package--I know we (Dick and I and Libby!!) will enjoy them.

  6. Barb, Sorry, but I plan to camp out at the entrance of the driveway and be back home before you realize you missed the delivery!
    Susan, Ignore her Thanks since she will not get the delivery. I Thank You very much! I will let Barb and Dick know how good they are!!

  7. These look amazing, however the cake you made 20 years ago was one I will never forget. For me I can't see a Black Forest cake and not think of Kelly and smile.

  8. She was such a trooper to help me complete my mission to deliver the cake to you. We talked about it for years, which lead to uncontrollable laughter knowing physics states..."what goes forward suddenly will come back when brakes are applied." LOL

  9. These are super!!! Can't get much better than cherries and chocolate!!! I really appreciate your sister sharing with me!

  10. She's always been a very generous sister and friend. We're both lucky!