As a kid, I begged my mom for Hostess Cupcakes and their Canadian counterpart, cream-filled chocolate Jos Louis cakes. (She rarely relented.) I've since figured out how to make my own version - essentially whoopie pies, these are made with soft, cakelike cookies (much like cupcake caps) filled with billowy whipped frosting or jarred marshmallow creme. They're fun to make, great to pack into lunchboxes (include some wet wipes for sticky fingers!) and make an indulgent after school snack.
Rolled in sprinkles, they'd also make a great alternative to cupcakes for a birthday party.
Homemade Jos Louis (Whoopie Pies!)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1 batch Seven Minute Frosting (below) or 1 jar Marshmallow Crème
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar for a minute or so, until well combined. It will have the consistency of wet sand. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa and salt. In a small bowl, stir the baking soda into half a cup of very hot water until dissolved.
With the mixer on low or stirring by hand, add about a third of the dry ingredients, then half the buttermilk and half the baking soda mixture, mixing each time just until blended. Repeat with another third of the dry ingredients, the rest of the buttermilk and baking soda mixture, and then the rest of the dry ingredients, mixing each time just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. The batter will be quite wet, almost like cake batter. (You want them to be cakey and soft, so that the filling doesn’t squish out the end when you bite into it.)
Drop large, round spoonfuls of batter (use a large scoop, if you have one) 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12–15 minutes, until the tops no longer appear wet and just spring back when lightly touched. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
When completely cool, spread the bottom of one cookie with frosting or marshmallow cream, then sandwich with a second cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies and cream. Store extras individually wrapped in plastic wrap.
Makes 1 dozen pies or 2 dozen cookies.
Seven Minute Frosting
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. light or golden corn syrup or honey
1/3 cup water
2 large egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla, coconut, maple, mint, or other flavored extract
In the top of a double boiler or in a clean stainless steel bowl set over a pot of simmering water, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and egg whites. Make sure the simmering water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl or double boiler – you only need an inch or two of water in the pot. Beat the sugar mixture with an electric mixer on high speed for about 7 minutes, until it stands in billowy peaks. Remove it from the heat and beat in the vanilla.