Whoopie pies. Sounds like a slip of the bottom, doesn’t it? You know – like a pump?! However, they tasted heavenly. Like little rounds of sunshine.
I don’t like the name whoopie pies – only because of the British connotations linked to ‘whoopie’… you know, ‘whoopie cushions’ etc. I think I prefer the idea of ‘cake sandwiches’. Well, that’s what they are, are they not? Little cake sandwiches. With lush middles. What a thoroughly British description…maybe I’ll change the title.
However, whilst pouring scorn on the US name for cakes, I’d like to wish everyone there facing Hurricane Sandy all the best – I know my dad and Ameri-mum are battening down the hatches as we speak…Funny saying, that. Where does it come from?
Apparently it comes from nautical origins. Ships’ hatches, (or ‘hatchways’), were common on ships and were normally either open or covered with a wooden grating to allow for ventilation of the lower decks. When bad weather was apparent, the hatches were sealed with tarpaulin. This covering was then edged with wooden strips (battens), to stop it from being blown off. This was known to sailors as ‘battening down’.
Our thoughts are with you over the pond…
So, as for whoopies, the recipe I used was from the Joy of Baking website…
They were delicious. Quite heavy – I wished I’d piped them smaller, but still, they really were delicious. Chocolatey and indulgent, filled with pillowy Italian buttercream, which is the rapture of buttercreams. It really is. Imagine soft Mr Whippy without the brain freeze…Mmmmmmm.
I have to admit, I had a whoopie pie for breakfast. OH Yeah! That testimony to a recipe, don’t you think? Cereal? Noooo. Porridge? Nooooo. Grapefruit? noooooo. Whoopie pie? YES, WHY DIDN’T YOU ASK SOONER?!
Chocolate Whoopie Pies
230g (1 & 3/4 cups) self raising /all purpose flour
75g (3/4 cup) cocoa powder
1/4 tsp (1 teaspoon if using US flour) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (omit if using self-raising flour)
170g (3/4 cup) lightly salted butter, room temperature
150g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
60ml (1/4 cup) buttermilk (50ml milk with 10 ml lemon juice added and left for 5 minutes)
120ml (1/2 cup) lukewarm strong coffee OR 1/2 cup (120 ml) lukewarm water
* Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
* In a large bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda.
* In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
* Add the egg, beating well.
* Beat in the vanilla extract.
* In a measuring cup, mix the buttermilk and coffee (or water).
* With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk/coffee mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
* Pipe 2.5 – 3 cm of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. With moistened fingers or with the back of a spoon, smooth the tops of the cookies.
* Bake for about 9 -10 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when pressed gently. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
Italian Meringue Buttercream
Taken from Ruth Clemens at The Pink Whisk
2.5 large egg whites
25g (2 tbsp) caster sugar
125g (2/3 cup) caster sugar
50ml (just under 1/4 cup) water
250g (1 cup) butter, softened
* You will need a sugar thermometer and electric mixer, (preferably a stand mixer – it makes life easier when handling hot sugar).
* In a large clean bowl place the egg whites and whip. When they reach the soft peak stage (foamy but won’t hold their own shape), add the 50g sugar a spoonful at a time. Keep whipping until they reach the firm peak stage. Leave to one side.
* In a pan, add the 250g caster sugar and 100ml water. Heat over a low heat, encouraging the sugar to melt to a syrup. When the syrup has turned clear turn the heat up to medium. Boil the sugar syrup to 121c, this takes around ten minutes.
* When the syrup reaches 121 degrees C, remove from the heat. Turn the mixer back on to slow and and pour the sugar syrup down the sids of the bowl into the egg whites, gently, in a steady stream. TAKE CARE – it is very very hot…
* When the sugar syrup is fully combined keep the mixer running whilst the mixture cools. This will be about 8 minutes.
* When the bowl is cool to the touch, start adding the butter. Add it very gradually, in small chunks. It will start to look as though it hasn’t worked – almost curdled, but keep going. Persevere – you want the consistency of thick cream. It suddenly changes – be patient!
* Pipe buttercream onto one half of the whoopie pie, then sandwich it with another on top…