Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting

By Julie Van Rosendaal on October 24, 2014

Cupcakes don’t ever seem to lose their popularity – people adore cakes loaded with buttercream frosting. (I know I do.) And whoopie pies are the best of both worlds - think of them as cupcake tops - the best part of the cupcake - sandwiched with frosting. Right? They're like big, cakey cookies, easier to make than a cupcake, with as much potential in terms of flavour variations. For the holidays this year I'm thinking gingerbread whoopie pies with penuche frosting, and chocolate whoopie pies with peppermint. Or try pumpkin spice! or red velvet with cream cheese frosting! The possibilities are endless, and they're far less fussy than cake pops.

It's coming up quickly to the 26th annual Christmas in November at the Jasper Park Lodge – on November 7th I'll head up to present along with Lynn Crawford, Anna and Michael Olson, Bob Blumer, Emily Richards and Elizabeth Baird – the week-long party sets me up with holiday decorating and entertaining ideas, and warms me up for a season of entertaining with 10 days (three packages) of eating, drinking and partying. Seriously, it's a total blast.

Last year at the welcome reception the JPL's awesome pastry chef Dimuth Sepala made (along with wee cheesecakes and mini doughnuts doused in four different sugars) chocolate whoopie pies with cream cheese frosting and a chunk of soft caramel that oozed subtly down the filling. Brilliant. I smuggled a few back to my cabin for breakfast, and whoopie pies will return this year to my holiday repertoire.

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting

You want your cookies to be cakey and soft, so that the frosting doesn’t squish out the sides when you bite into a pie. You’ll know they’re done when the cookies are domed and springy to the touch, like little cakes.

Cookies:
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

Filling:
1/2 8 oz. (250 g) pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
2 – 2 ½ cups icing sugar, plus extra as needed
2 Tbsp. milk or water

Preheat oven to 375°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 1/2 cup 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. The batter will be quite wet, almost like cake batter.

Drop large, round spoonfuls of batter 2” apart on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Try to keep the mounds similar in size and shape so they will make even sandwiches. 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.

To make frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until smooth; add about a cup of icing sugar and beat until smooth, then add more, and 2 tablespoons of water, and keep beating until you have a smooth, spreadable frosting.

Spread or pipe the bottoms of half the cookies with frosting, then sandwich with the remaining cookies.

Makes 1 dozen pies or 2 dozen cookies.

 


By Julie Van Rosendaal| October 24, 2014

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