May 13, 2012

Chocolate Heart Whoopie Pies

For those of you who aren't into the baking trends, whoopie pies may be new to you. So what is a whoopie pie? It's basically two cookie-like cakes sandwiched together with a delicious creamy filling. They are a combined version of cookie and cake and are taking over the baking world by storm, becoming increasingly popular among bakers. Traditionally, whoopie pies are made with a marshmallow filling but I decided to give it a modern twist and use classic buttercream instead. No one likes bland food, especially when it comes to sweet treats. And what's my version of whoopie pies without a little surprise inside?

Thanks to Not Quite Nigella's recipe, I was able to reproduce some delicious chocolate whoopie pies. It was the first time I've ever made these treats, and I'm glad that I did! They however, came out a bit too large for me so I decided to cut out heart shapes with my cookie cutter and split each in half, which explains why there are so many crumbs. You can cut out other shapes or have these in their regular circle shape and fill them with your favourite frosting or filling. You could even try strawberry and cream whoopie pies like the traditional scones!

I wanted to surprise my tasters with a strawberry-flavoured marshmallow hidden inside, surrounded by the creamy buttercream. It was a delicious treat with a nice chocolatey moist crumb which was complimented by the filling and heart-shaped marshmallow. The dark chocolate chips added in the batter were a nice addition and took the whoopie pies to another level. Next time I might try adding in white or milk chocolate chips, or even sprinkles for a funfetti version.

They may not be too pretty or fancy, but they are certainly tasty and worth to try. There are so many flavours and versions of whoopie pies from pumpkin to red velvet to choose from, that it may be time to try another one soon!

Chocolate Whoopie Pies adapted from Not Quite Nigella.
Makes about 12 whoopie pies

125 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 cup of milk
1 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of plain/all-purpose flour
1 and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
1/3 cup of chocolate chips

Classic Vanilla Buttercream from Savory Sweet Life.

226 grams (2 sticks, 1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 to 4 cups of confectioners' (icing, powdered) sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
2 to 4 tablespoons of milk/cream

To make the whoopie pies,
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F). Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat well until creamy.
2. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt and set aside.
3. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating in three parts with the milk and mixing well after each addition. Stir in chocolate chips and mix to combine.
4. Use a greased whoopie pie pan and fill the moulds with batter, OR use a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop and drop 12 balls of batter, about 6 inches apart, onto a baking paper lined baking tray. You can also pipe them with a piping bag if you're a neat baker.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle is clean or they spring back when lightly pressed. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack before filling or decorating.

To make vanilla buttercream,
1. Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for a few minutes until pale and creamy. Turn the mixer to a low speed and add 3 cups of the icing sugar and mix until incorporated.
2. With the mixer at a medium speed, add the vanilla extract, salt and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. Add another cup of icing sugar for a more stiff consistency or add the rest of the milk/cream a tablespoon at a time.

Assemble the whoopie pies by piping or spreading some buttercream on one cake and sandwiching it with another. Decorate as you like with icing, sprinkles or sifted cocoa/icing sugar on top!

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