Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese filling

Mar 21st

Because of PSSA testing, we have block days Monday-Thursday this week. That means that instead of 3 recipes we are making two. Today and tomorrow are pumpkin streusel muffins. I will post them tomorrow. They are SO good, almost more like cupcakes.

This weekend I had to make a dessert for a going-away party on Saturday night. I had never made whoopie pies, but had a recipe in my new cookbook that I am trying to make lots of things from :)

The recipe was for red velvet whoopie pies with a cream cheese filling. Yum. If you don’t know what a whoopie pie is, a whoopie pie is like a sandwich, but made with two soft cookies with a fluffy white filling. Traditional whoopies pies are made with vegetable shortening, not butter. The original and most commonly made whoopie pie is chocolate with a marshmallow type fiilling, but I have seen pumpkin whoopie pies as well as red velvet.

The recipe for whoopie pies has its origins with the Amish in Lancaster county, PA!These cake-like whoopie pies were considered a special treat because they were originally made from leftover batter. According to Amish legend, when children would find these treats in their lunch bags, they would shout “Whoopie!”

My husband didn’t shout “whoopie” when he partook of the pies I wasn’t bringing to the party, but he did eat 3. Eating three desserts in a row is his version of shouting “whoopie”.

First, a word about why it’s good to have a kitchen scale. I bought this butter thinking that under the wrapper it was cut into four peices. NOPE. So I got out my trusty scale that is REALLY old and really cracked, and measured this pound of butter into 4 oz amounts (or a typical stick of butter).

RED VELVET WHOOPIE PIES
from Baked Explorationsby Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

 Pies

Preheat the oven to 350ºF

First, sift 2½ cups all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda and ½ teaspoon salt into a mixing bowl.

My sifter has been annoying lately so I just put these ingredients into a sieve and shook it till everything was through. Then I whisked till totally combined.

Next, whisk ¼ cup canola oil and ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a measuring cup. I made my own buttermilk for this, like always (see below).

Now, cream your ½ cup (1 stick) butter (softened), 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening, ¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar and ¼ cup granulated sugar with the paddle attachment of your standing mixer. You could use a handheld electric mixer here as well. “Cream” means to beat together with electric mixer until light and fluffy. This is an important step. You should cream ingredients for at least 3 full minutes, up to 5.

Gorgeous. Now, add 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon red gel food coloring. I only had liquid red food coloring. I used it and used a TAD less vanilla in case the liquid threw things off.

SICK

Yep, that’s red.

Now, like a typical cake recipe, you will alternate adding your wets and dries. Always start and end with your dries. Looks like this…

1/3 of your dry

1/2 of your wet

1/3 of your dry

1/2 of your wet

1/2 of your dry

Finished, beautiful.

Now prep two cookie sheets with parchment paper and chill your batter for about 15 minutes.

Once your batter has chilled out about 15 minutes, plop batter down (I used two spoons, like the scoop and push off method) into tablespoon amounts, two inches from each other. I didn’t know how much it would spread so I put more space between them than was necessary.

Bake for 10 to 20 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean.  Let the cookies cool completely on the pan while you make the filling. Mine took 14 minutes to bake and I didn’t use a toothpick. I don’t like holes in my whoopie pies! 

For the cream cheese filling

First, sift 3 cups confectioners’ sugar into a bowl.

Next, beat ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, with electric mixer until totally smooth.

Add softened cream cheese and beat until smooth.

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.

Now beat at low speed until combined. Next, slowly add in powdered sugar.

Be careful not to overbeat the filling, or it will lose structure.  (The filling can be made 1 day ahead. Cover the bowl tightly and put it in the refrigerator.  Let the filling soften at room temperature before using.)

Meanwhile, cakes are cooking on their sheets:

Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Now, match them up so the most similarly shaped cakes will be joined together.

Assemble the Whoopie Pies- this is the easy part.

Use an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon (or just a regular spoon, like I did) to drop a large dollop of filling onto the flat side of the cookie.

Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling.   Press down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges of the cookie.

Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up before serving.

The whoopie pies will keep for up to 3 days on a parchment-lined baking sheet covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator.

You know, they SELL whoopie pie baking sheets now? Totally unneccesary. I hate having extraneous things in my kitchen that I don’t use often. You don’t need a whole cookie sheet for something you will only make occasionally.

To be honest, I had every single ingredient on hand to make these except for the cream cheese. I made the buttermilk myself (1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar and 1% milk for the 1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. buttermilk). I subbed liquid food coloring instead of gel, and I even had to cut and weigh my own butter! That’s why this is a great recipe! Pretty basic!

Stay tuned for the pumpkin streusle muffins tomorrow!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with cream cheese filling

2½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening, at room temperature
¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon red gel food coloring

For the cream cheese filling

3 cups confectioners’ sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt