So needless to say this week was full of new things! New room, new books, new/much longer commute to work/gym/anywhere that I want or need to be in the city, and
! Whoopie Pies may not be new to y’all but they are to me, or were. Ariel was, once again, shocked when I told her I’d never had one. I’ve had plenty of
in my life, like a few hundred probably. At camp they fed those things to us like they were water. But I’d never tasted a Whoopie Pie. Well it was a week of new things! So I baked some WP’s. One thing that is not new to me: baking breakdown.
I’m fine, really, I made it out on the other side and now I’m writing this post. The pie part turned out fine, the chocolate cookie/cake outside is a perfect deliciously rich chocolate. The Salted Caramel Buttercream
filling…well, it was a process. After ONE HOUR of standing over a mixing bowl laboriously flinging my hand mixer around in a bowl trying in vain to whip egg whites into stiff peaks, I almost had a full scale conniption fit. Seriously, it was an hour, not an exaggeration. I watched an entire episode of “Chopped” on the Food Network (sans sound of course because I couldn’t hear the show over the roar of my mixer). The egg whites did not want to behave and after an hour of trying to beat them into submission, I quit. I was trying to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream–which I have made without beating eggs to stiff peaks before so I just continued with the process and creamed in the butter and it all turned out fine, but I was not a happy baker. Thank goodness for Em, The Repressed Pastry Chef
, who cheered me up via Twitter and assured me that all of us bakers get stumped by science at some point. So what did I do the next night? I tried again. I am a glutton for punishment, or really just more sugar.
I was so annoyed that I couldn’t get the whites to form stiff peaks that I had to do it again to get it right. I’m stubborn. I wish this story ended with me conquering my self-imposed challenge. It does not. This time I decided I’d go rustic, I whipped the egg whites by hand for a new flavor filling: White Chocolate
. Well, almost an hour later (I watched 3/4 of Top Chef so I’m estimating about 40 minutes) I had marshmallow fluff consistency egg whites. F that. I gave up again, I mean 40 minutes whipping vigorously by hand? That’s pretty darn good. As I said above, I am fine, I *almost* had a kitchen meltdown and I’m still really really irked that I couldn’t get stiff peaks to form BUT the Whoopie Pies tasted great. It is now my personal mission to conquer stiff peaks–perhaps it will help me work off the multitude of Whoopie Pies I ate out of frustration. I think I liked the White Chocolate filling better than the Salted Caramel because I am a sucker for white chocolate. But Salted Caramel is so full of flavor and it pairs really well with chocolate. Each sweet filling cut through the cakey outside of the Whoopie Pies and left me in dire need of some milk. Yum. I would say these were easy, because they would be for a normal person, but I had some difficulties which I’m still bitter about. I gotta face it: a stand mixer is a must right now, if only I had the funds! Ah well, there’s a time and a place for new things and I think I used up my week’s quota, probably solely on eating a new favorite treat of mine, the Whoopie Pies!
Oh yeah, and just for fun I colored some of the white chocolate buttercream blue to match our blue plates!
Chocolate Whoopie Pies
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Salted Caramel Buttercream and/or White Chocolate Buttercream (below)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease two large cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugars together, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and continue beating until fluffy, 1-2 minutes longer. Beat in milk and vanilla extract. Finally, beat in flour mixture to combine. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheets (you should get 12-14 cookies).
Bake for 10-14 minutes, until top springs back when touched. Cool completely. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of frosting on the flat half of one cookie, then top with another cookie. Repeat.
Salted Caramel Buttercream
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp + 2 tsp (40 mL) cream
2 egg whites
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Put 1/4 cup of sugar and water in saucepan over medium-high heat. Do not stir of you will get sugar crystals, but you can swirl the saucepan gently. It will bubble itself into a deep amber. Remove immediately from heat and add cream (careful – it will bubble up furiously). Stir until smooth and set aside.
Put the egg whites, salt, and 1/4 cup sugar in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture reaches 140 degrees. Transfer to bowl of standing mixer. Beat on high until stiff peaks form. Add butter a bit at a time, and continue beating on medium. Reduce speed to low, add vanilla extract, and then caramel (you may need to gently rewarm the caramel in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time until it is workable but not burning hot). Beat for 4-5 minutes.
White Chocolate Buttercream
From Whisk Kid
1 c sugar
5 egg whites
18 tbls unsalted butter, softened slightly and sliced
1/4 c white chocolate, melted and cooled
Cook the egg whites and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved (test by rubbing some between your fingers. If it’s completely smooth, it’s done). Pour into another bowl (a stand mixer is preferable) and whip on high speed until room temp. Then, on a medium-slow speed, add the butter, waiting until each piece is completely incorporated before adding the next. The buttercream may turn into a soupy curdled mess, but I assure you it will be ok; just beat it for a few minutes longer (for me this was really the case, I freaked out for a minute and then in a split second it turned into icing). It’ll come together! When the buttercream has reached the ideal consistency, add the melted and cooled white chocolate carefully. Try not to get any on the walls of the bowl as it will cool and harden there. Whip to incorporate.