Monday, September 5, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

In college, the girls and I had a habit of buying holiday edition Reese’s peanut butter cups whenever we went to CVS. The problem was that it was always Halloween, or Valentine’s Day, or Easter and there was always an excuse for a jumbo sized Reese’s. I’ll keep the rest of my thoughts on this bad habit to myself. The bottom line is, we clearly love the chocolate peanut butter combo, so for Cara’s birthday this seemed like a good starting point.

Certainly birthdays should be celebrated with cakes; however, sometimes transporting cakes or cupcakes is a bit too cumbersome. Traveling with a large cake tuperware isn’t the most convenient and certainly doesn’t work if you are going to a restaurant or bar. For such occasions I am a big fan of sandwich cookies. They can be stacked, and you can put a candle in them. So, a search for a good chocolate peanut butter cookie began… I found a recipe for Whoopie Pies on Epicurious (originally from Gourmet), that sounded delicious. With a bit of adjusting the filling became peanut butter and Cara’s insanely rich birthday “cookies” were created.

These were huge and shareable. So good that the few leftovers I had at home got given to the doormen so I wouldn’t be tempted by the gluttonous cookies.

Happy Baking. Whoop it up!

Whoopie Pies

For cakes: 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour  
  • ½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder 
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 1 large egg 
For filling (adapted from multiple recipes and my own noggin):
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened 
  • 1 – 1½ cups confectioners sugar 
  • 1 cup marshmallow fluff 
  • 1 – 1½ cups smooth peanut butter 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
Make cakes:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until combined. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.

Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a handheld, then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.

(Even when I mix slowly, I find that flour tends to get everywhere – especially noticeable when it is cocoa. Since I don’t have a shield for my Kitchen Aid I simply hold dish towel around the bowl as a mix in the dry ingredients – quite helpful during cleanup!)

Spoon ¼ cup mounds of batter about 2 inches apart onto 2 buttered large baking sheets (I always opt for parchment paper instead). Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack to cool completely.

Make filling:
Beat together butter, confectioners sugar, marshmallow, peanut butter and vanilla in a bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Assemble pies:
Spread a rounded tablespoon filling on flat sides of half of cakes and top with remaining cakes.

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