Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pies
A dark, deep cake-like exterior sandwiched together with a billowy, marshmallow interior.
A day before Christmas, I got my weekly amazon.co.uk subscription e-mail that I never signed up for and usually just ignore. But for some reason, I didn’t delete it immediately. And good thing I didn’t. Because I ended up finding an awesome deal and bought two Hummingbird Bakery cookbooks for 12 pounds total! Woot woot!
Today’s recipe is adapted from Cake Days by the Hummingbird Bakery (HB). I’ve wanted to do whoopie pies for a while now, and even though you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, I definitely judged this cake-like cookie by its photograph. When I was recipe testing, I tried several versions of this American favorite, but it came down to HB and this one from Food.com. The reason I went with HB is simple. It was deep, dark and delicious, pairing perfectly with its billowy marshmallow interior.
If you prefer a sweeter version, I’d go with the Food.com recipe. While I love HB’s original version, I did make several adjustments and totally reworked the filling by using this recipe from the company that produces marshmallow fluff. The end result was possibly one of the most addictive cookie/cake/pies that I’ve ever succumbed to.
Whoopie pie essentials :
Cups vs. grams
The original recipe is listed in grams and mL. I have converted the cups to grams, and let me tell you- this process was not easy, as I measured and weighed the ingredients manually. The cocoa powder was where it got tricky, because it varies from brand to brand in addition to how much cocoa is packed within the cup. For the most accurate results, I would stick to following the gram measurements if possible.
The effect of the espresso:
Optional but necessary. Brings out the flavour in chocolate. Doesn’t compromise the taste at all.
Substituting the Buttermilk:
HB calls for 25 mL of milk and 125 mL of yogurt. I replaced these ingredients with buttermilk. Plain and simple. You could go with the milk and yogurt version. Alternatively, you could mix 1 tbsp of vinegar with 2/3 cup of milk to create a sour milk, perfect for replacing buttermilk.
Substituting the marshmallow fluff:
I love the thick, airy texture the fluff adds to the whoopie pies. However, I did find that the taste was very similar to a classic buttercream. If you can’t find any fluff, I replace it by beating together 1 cup of butter, 3 cups of confectioner’s sugar and 2-3 tbsp of milk/heavy cream until thick and smooth.
Because I like my desserts to be more or less symmetrical, I chose to roll the batter into perfect spheres using my hands and a little oil for grease. While this method worked for me, it is a little messy and if you don’t care much for perfectly circular whoopie pie halves, I would just use two spoons or a 2-inch in diameter ice-cream scoop.
Yes, I’m done. Yes, you can move on to the recipe.
- For the pies:
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar (brown, granulated or raw work great)
- 2/3 cup (150 mL) buttermilk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup (75 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp instant espresso powder
- 1/2 tsp salt (I didn’t add this in the video, but a touch of salt never hurts)
- 2/3 cup (80 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (or Dutch processed cocoa)
- 1 and 1/2 cups (200 g) all-purpose flour
- For the filling:
- 1/2 cup (110 g) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 cup (125 g) confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup (85 g) marshmallow fluff
- In a bowl, beat together the egg and sugar until thick and pale in color.
- Stream in the buttermilk, vanilla and then the melted butter, and continue to mix until well-blended.
- Stir in the baking soda, baking powder, instant espresso and salt.
- Gradually add in the cocoa and the flour until just combined. Over-mixing will result in a tough, dense whoopie pie.
- Cover the bowl with some cling-wrap and chill for 20-30 minutes.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 325 F or 170 C and line two cookie trays with parchment paper.
- Grease your palms with a little flavorless oil and roll 2 tbsp sized mounds of the mixture.
- Place about 2 inches apart. You can alternatively spoon the mixture if it is too sticky, or just use an ice-cream scoop.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until puffed and springy when touched, then let the pies cool completely.
- Beat together the butter, vanilla and sugar until smooth.
- Stir in the marshmallow fluff using a whisk and a spatula. This stuff is sticky, so beware!
- I like to chill the filling for 30 minutes so that it is firm to pipe.
- Pair each whoopie pie half up with another half based on size and shape.
- Place the filling in a piping bag with the end snipped off, and pipe 1-2 tbsp sized dollops atop one of the halves.
- Sandwich with the other and press down slightly.
- Chill the pies so that the filling can glue both halves together, then serve.
- These are great at room temperature or cold, and store well for a week if tightly sealed.