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I Love Chocolate

by Stephanie Zonis

 

Whoopie Pies

About 2 dozen sandwiches

 

Two soft, cake-like chocolate cookies enclose a creamy filling in these goodies. These are a project, and they might be frustrating to a beginning baker. Having told you that, I can also add that people adore them. You store whoopie pies in the refrigerator (or the freezer), but I think they taste better if brought to room temperature before serving. A big glass of milk is almost mandatory with these—you'll certainly need something to drink with them.

The cookie dough chills overnight before baking. The base for the filling, which should be cold when it's used, can also be chilled overnight; if you don't like coffee, simply omit it here. Originally, this recipe made twice the amount here, but I have cut it in half so that it will be easier to manage. If you want a less-involved filling for these, check out the variation.

Cookie Dough:

2 cups + 2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. flour
1/3 c. Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/8 tsp. baking powder
3/8 (1/4 + 1/8) tsp. baking soda
Pinch salt
2/3 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, graded "large"
2/3 c. sour cream

Filling:

1/3 cups + 1 tsp. sifted flour
1 c. whole milk
1 c. unsalted butter, divided
2-1/2 tsp. instant coffee
Pinch salt
2-3/4 c. sifted or strained confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

For cookie dough:

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In large bowl of electric mixer, combine softened butter, sugars, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed for a minute or two, until well-combined and fluffy. (Scrape bowl and beater(s) with rubber spatula as necessary throughout mixing in order to ensure thorough blending of ingredients.)

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. At lowest speed, add sifted dry ingredients in thirds and sour cream in halves, beginning and ending with dry ingredients and beating after each addition just until incorporated. Remove from mixer.

If you wish, turn dough into medium bowl. Cover top of bowl with a layer of paper towel, then cover tightly with aluminum foil (if any condensation forms on the underside of the foil, the paper towel will absorb it before it can drip into the dough). Chill overnight.

Next day, adjust rack to center of oven. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil cut to fit; lightly grease foil with vegetable shortening (I've tried baking parchment, too, but the cookies work better on lightly greased foil).

Have ready nonstick cooling racks and a nonstick metal spatula with a broad blade (you could use a nonstick pancake turner, too). If you don't have nonstick equipment, spray regular cooling racks and a regular broad-bladed spatula/pancake turner very lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

Bake 2 or 3 "test" cookies, using a heaping teaspoonful of dough for each cookie and keeping their shapes as round as possible. Make sure you leave room for the cookies to spread as they bake!

Bake 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie emerges with only a few moist crumbs still clinging to it. Do not overbake.

Continue forming and baking cookies; I place only 12 mounds of dough on a 15-1/2" by 10-1/2" sheet. Form a sheet or two of unbaked cookies, then, while they bake, replace the remaining dough in the refrigerator.

This dough is somewhat difficult to work with, but it's a bit easier to handle when cold. Bake only one sheet at a time. Allow baked cookies to stand on sheets about 2 minutes before removing to prepared cooling racks. You will need to scrape off the spatula/pancake turner after removing every cookie or two from the sheet; use the back of a flat knife, if you like.

Cool the cookies completely, then store airtight with wax paper between the cookie layers. Do not omit the wax paper, even if you're only going to store the cookies for a short while before filling them.

Note that it is best to fill these cookies within an hour or two of storing them. They can wait a while longer, but the tops become stickier, and eventually (overnight) the cookies become limp. Note also that there should be about 48 cookies.

To make the filling:

Set 2 tablespoons of the butter out near your stove (reserve and refrigerate the remainder). Place sifted flour in heavy-bottomed, one quart saucepan. Very gradually, whisk in the milk, making the mixture as smooth as possible (there will likely still be some lumps--OK).

Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture boils. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Mixture will be very stiff and probably somewhat lumpy--OK.

Remove from heat. Immediately add instant coffee and salt, whisking in. Add the 2 tablespoons butter and stir in with whisk until melted. If mixture has any lumps (mine always does), strain through a fine strainer into a small bowl, pressing through as much as possible.

Immediately cover with plastic wrap that has a few small holes poked through it (I use a toothpick to do this); place the plastic wrap right on the surface of the mixture (this prevents a skin from forming). Cool briefly, then chill until cold (overnight is fine).

When ready to complete filling, soften reserved butter (do not melt) and place in large bowl of electric mixer (fitted with paddle beater, if available).

At medium speed, beat butter till smooth. Add 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar and the vanilla. Beat at a low speed to incorporate. Add another cup of the sugar; beat to incorporate, then beat at medium speed until fluffy.

Stir the flour-milk mixture to soften it (it will still be very stiff). By large spoonfuls, add the flour-milk mixture, beating at low speed to incorporate (filling may look slightly curdled--OK), then at medium speed until smooth.

Finally, add remaining 3/4 c. sugar; beat at medium speed just until fluffy and well-mixed. If room is very warm, filling may need to be chilled for about 20 minutes. It should be fluffy and light-textured, but it must not be runny.

Just before you are ready to fill the cookies, lay out several long sheets of wax paper on a flat work surface. Place cookies, flat side up, on wax paper. Try to pair up cookies that have approximately the same size and shape.

Place a very heaping teaspoon of filling on one cookie in each pair (there will be a generous amount of filling), then sandwich the pairs, flat side together. Very gently flatten slightly so that the filling comes out just to the edge of the cookie sandwich (if you press too hard, the filling will squish out and your hand will stick to the top of the cookie).

Wrap each cookie sandwich tightly in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for up to a few days (freeze for longer storage). If desired, allow sandwiches, still wrapped, to come to room temperature before eating.


Variation

Ice Cream Sandwiches
About 2 dozen sandwiches

Make cookies as above, but omit filling. Instead, use a favorite, good-quality ice cream--you'll need about 2 quarts. I suggest using an ice cream that isn't rock-hard at freezer temperature, just for ease in eating. For me, this means a variety of Starbucks ice cream, but use what you like.

Place a wax-paper-lined cookie sheet or two in the freezer (DO NOT omit this step! If the sheets are not lined with wax paper, the cookies will stick to them). Lay cookies out in pairs as described above.

Working quickly, place a scoop of ice cream (about 1/3 c.) on top of one cookie in a pair. Sandwich the two cookies together, flat side down. Now, place a piece of wax paper on top of the sandwich, and press down to flatten somewhat so that the ice cream comes just to the edge (MAKE SURE you use wax paper here, or the cookie will stick to your hand and tear).

I make one sandwich at a time and transfer each to the freezer as soon as it's completed. Freeze for an hour or two, then wrap each sandwich tightly in plastic wrap. Once these are frozen and wrapped, you can place them in a freezer bag, if you wish. Remove from freezer just before serving. There are, of course, all kinds of possibilities for serving these, including my favorite-- hot fudge sauce.

 

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Copyright © 1999 Francesca Chocolate Productions. All Rights Reserved.

Stephanie Zonis provides the above information to anyone, but retains copyright on all text. This means that you may not: distribute the text to others without the express written permission of Stephanie Zonis; "mirror" or include this information on your own server or documents without my permission; modify or re-use the text on this system. You may: print copies of the information for your own personal use; store the files on your computer for your own personal use only; and reference hypertext documents on this server from your own documents.

 
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This page created September 1998


 


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