August 23, 2011

whoopie pies

It's a rainy day.

The kind where the rain just falls silently outside and the whole world is dim and sleepy and quiet.
The kind where you want to curl up with a cup of steaming tea (or perhaps a brownie...same same) and read a book on your impossibly quaint window seat.
The kind where you stare aimlessly out the window for periods of time.
The kind that makes you sleep the day away.
The Norah Jones kind.
This kind:

What all this has to do with whoopie pies, I couldn't tell you.

...But here's something: Days like today are rather comforting. And so are whoopie pies. See? Very similar.

The other day I walked into Penzey's Spices for their some of their insanely great Madagascar vanilla beans (the smell of those alone is enough to put me in a tizzy). As I made my way to the back of the store where they're kept (Just know that I'm onto you, Penzeys...making me walk through your whole store like that), I passed by a table of chocolate. Wait...what? A TABLE OF CHOCOLATE?! 

There lay bags and jars of cocoa in all their glory, looking all tempting and probably displayed in a very attractive manner. I can't really remember, because once I saw this recipe card for whoopie pies, I grabbed it and a bag of High Fat Dutch Process Cocoa before you could say Madagascar Vanilla Bean. Then the voice in my head said Madagascar Vanilla Bean and I picked those up too and left the store before that table of all different kinds of honey could jump in my way. (I paid first)

 I added the vanilla bean to the filling and I must say I think it made it absolutely irresistible. (Though I've never had it the other way.) First of all, the texture of the filling is exactly what I want in a whoopie pie-sturdy yet creamy, if that makes any sense at all-and once the vanilla bean specks sat in there for awhile and permeated everything, mmmmboy. Squish that in between two fluffy yet perfectly chocolate-y pillows and you're in for it.

Whoopie Pies
Recipe slightly adapted from Candy Johnson

1 egg
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2  cup Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt (I used kosher)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or grease them). 
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a measuring cup, combine buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the egg and butter. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until pale yellow in color. 
While mixing, alternate adding the dry ingredient mixture and the buttermilk/vanilla to the egg and sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
Drop the batter by tablespoons onto the baking sheets.  (About 6 per sheet)
Bake 8-10 minutes, until top springs back when lightly touched. Remove to wire racks to cool. Repeat until all batter is used (I only used one pan at a time so it took a few batches).

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup marshmallow fluff
1 tsp. vanilla extract
One 2-inch section of vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out

In a medium bowl, beat the butter. Add the sugar, marshmallow fluff, and extract and mix. Add the vanilla seeds/specks to the bowl and beat until light and fluffy. 

When cookies are all cool, make sandwiches using add a generous dollop of filling for each one.

Hello, gorgeous...