Monday, October 31, 2011

At Home: Chocolate Whoopie Pies

I recently watched a very learned debate- no, not those debates. This one centered on the merits of Halloween candy, specifically fruity candies versus chocolate ones. Everyone chimed in with their own opinion, until someone confessed that they didn't really care for candy. "I'd rather have cookies or cake than candy." 

For those of you who feel the same way, this is the perfect recipe. Whoopie pies are cookie and cake all rolled into one, moist and chewy with marshmallow fluff-based icing to hold them together. They make great party favors; simply put them into small clear bags and tie with ribbon. Even the candy lovers won't be able to resist!

Chocolate Whoopie Pies

1/2 cup solid white vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup milk

1 (8-oz) package cream
1 (7 1/2- oz) jar Marshmallow Fluff
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
orange food coloring (optional)

Note: I added these steps to make all the cookies the same size, so tops and bottoms match. You can skip this step, as well as piping the batter, but keep in mind that the whoopies will look more rustic. It's hard to get a uniform shape when spooning onto the sheet. Also, see below for directions on mini whoopie pies.

1. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit your cookie sheet. Trace a small glass or bowl (the diameter of my circles is a little more than two inches) making sure you leave 1 1/2-2" between each. Repeat on a second sheet on paper.

Parchment tends to roll up, so measuring cups make handy paperweights.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

3. Cream together the vegetable shortening and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.

5. Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk into the large bowl. Beat the batter until the flour and milk are fully incorporated.

6. Fill a large pastry bag or plastic bag with the batter. If using a plastic bag, cut off the tip. Making sure the pencil side is down, pipe a circle inside the line and then fill by going in a spiral to the center. 

7. Bake for 25 minutes. My oven seemed to get them done a tad faster, usually 20-22 minutes. 

8. Let cool. In a medium size bowl, blend the cream cheese and Marshmallow Fluff together and add in the vanilla and food coloring.

Mini Whoopie Pies

I didn't draw circles for the mini pies, but the diameter was about 1 1/4". Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. These bite-size pies are great for kids!