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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Recipe Review - Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies

Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies

During story time last week, my son decided to "read" a cookbook.  He found my book Whoopie Pies and he begged and pleaded with me to make one.  We decided on the Chocolate Chip with Marshmallow Cream filling.  True to my nature, there was trial and error and we adjusted a few methods or ingredients to what worked best for us.

First we made the cookies.

Chocolate Chip Whoopie Cookie Recipe PDF HERE

Start with preheating your oven to 375*.
With all my cookies I don't do the mixing flour, salt and baking powder/soda together thing.  I always cream my shortening/butter (always at room temp) with sugars first.  Then I add eggs, vanilla and my little powders, salt/baking soda/baking powder.  I find that if you add them in with the liquid of the eggs and vanilla they get combined just as well as when blending with the flour first.  Except this way, you create less dishes.  I am all about less dishes.  I haven't met a recipe yet where doing this caused trouble.

But back to the baking.  In my Kitchenaid mixer (what would I do without that thing?!) I beat together
4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. shortening
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar.
I let the mixture run a few minutes until it was light and creamy.

The next step calls for buttermilk.  I don't keep buttermilk as a standard in my kitchen.  Very rarely do I ever buy it, because I find, when baking, a simple mixture of vinegar and milk is a much cheaper way to achieve the same results.  So the recipe calls for 1/2 c. buttermilk.  Instead I pour 1/2 Tbsp. vinegar into a measuring cup and then fill with milk until the total measures 1/2 cup.  I let this sit for a few minutes and it "sours."

So to my bowl, I added
2 large eggs
1/2 c. poor man's buttermilk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
I mixed this until thoroughly combined.

In a separate bowl I combined 2 Tbsp. milk, 1 tsp. baking soda and 1 tsp. white vinegar.
When you do this, it will start to rise and foam so make sure you put it in a bowl or measuring cup larger than what is needed.  This is what gives it that light and airy texture.  Anyone remember the working volcano from science class in elementary?

I alternately added the milk mixture and 2 1/4 c. flour and beat just until combined.  Don't overbeat!
Then I handmixed in 1 cup of mini chocolate chips.

Now it's time to bake.  I love my stoneware.  I use it for all my cookie baking. They are always baked perfectly even, no burnt bottoms and doughy middles. I lined my stoneware pans with parchment paper.  Then I used a cookie scoop (mine scoops about 1 Tbsp. balls) and dropped 1 Tbsp of cookie dough onto the parchment paper with enough room for rising.

I baked only one sheet at a time at 375* until the edges began to turn brown.  Mine took about 11 minutes.
If you are using metal cookie sheets it will probably be less, maybe 10 minutes.  If you are using dark metal even less.  Know your baking equipment!  If most cookies are overdone at 10 minutes, either your oven runs hot or the pans you use heat faster, adjust the time as necessary.  I know stoneware takes a while to warm up, unless my pans are already preheated I always need to add a minute or two to most recipes.

Remove from oven and let stand on pans for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Cool cookies completely before assembling whoopie pies.  

While the cookies were cooling, I began with the filling.  We went with a traditional Marshmallow Cream filling.

Marshmallow Cream Filling Recipe PDF

The original recipe calls for Marshmallow Fluff but I'm all about store brand knock offs and mine came out great.
I used my hand mixer (my kitchenaid was dirty from the cookies ;) to beat together
1 1/2 c. marshmallow cream (a 7.5oz container = 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/4 c. shortening
I beat this until it was smooth and fluffy which took a few minutes.
Then I added
1 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
I kind of mashed the sugar into the cream mixture with the beaters so when I turned them on the sugar didn't poof everywhere.  After it was mashed down I beat it for a few more minutes.   It took about 3-4 minutes to get it fluffy, but I got a great forearm workout out of it.

Once the filling was ready and the cookies were cooled.  I put the filling in pastry bag fitted with a large open circle tip.  I piped the filling on the flat side of one cookie covering the whole bottom and then topped with a second cookie.

These were delicious and my kids couldn't be more pleased with the results.
I tried using a whoopie pan for these and I wasn't as pleased with the results as I was with my stoneware.  With my stoneware I definitely had to wait til it started to brown at the edges before removing them from the oven.  One batch I pulled out too quickly because it hit the 10 minute mark and they deflated almost immediately and we really enjoyed the puffy version better although taste wise both were good.

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