Makin’ Whoopie (Pies)..

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No, stop being rude. Another Valentine’s Day and still not managed to be in a relationship on this day, so whilst I spent Valentine’s Day last year with a slab of belly pork to make Dong Po Pork, I decided to make something to mark Valentine’s Day this year. I also haven’t baked anything for the office in recent months because of all that’s gone on so to slowly get my baking mojo back, I thought it would be ironic for a single woman to make Whoopie Pies on Valentine’s Night to be eaten by the office.

Deciding what sort of whoopie pie to make was pretty easy once I saw this recipe, but in all honesty, the recipe looked a bit faffy but I loved the idea of the salted peanut cream cheese filling so whilst I would use that recipe for the filling, I used this recipe from the ol’ trusty BBC website for the whoopie pies themselves. I was actually intrigued by the idea of melting marshmallows as the filling and in my head, had the idea of something akin to the marshmallow whippy fluffy stuff you can buy sandwiched between what looks like 2 ice cream wafers, and tasting like the marshmallow in a Tunnock’s Teacake.

So, I made the filling first as it needed to chill in the fridge a bit before being piped as a filling. Not wanting to blitz everything in a food processor as they suggest in the recipe, I went old school and crushed the peanuts in my trusty pestle and mortar before whisking the cream cheese and icing sugar together, then added the crushed peanuts and softened butter and whisked everything together again. The mixture was then put into a piping bag and left in the fridge to set slightly whilst I got on with making the Whoopie Pies.

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Looking at the recipe for the Whoopie Pies, you basically melt the chocolate with the butter in a bowl (recipe suggests over a pan of boiling water, but I nuked it in the microwave as I do when making brownies). In a separate bowl the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract are whisked together until fluffy and well combined, before the chocolate mixture is added and everything combined together. In a separate bowl, the flour, cocoa and baking powder are combined together and then gently folded into the wet mixture. Spoonfuls of the mixture are then placed onto a baking sheet and baked in the oven for about 8 minutes, the idea is to get something a bit like a soft cookie so whilst there is a hard shell, the inside of each pie should be soft and yielding.

The marshmallow filling was simple; turn over half of the cookies, place 2 or 3 marshmallows on the flat side and back in the over for 2-3 mins to melt the marshmallows so that when you take them out and top with the other cookie to make the Whoopie Pie, the marshmallow is soft and sticky enough to glue the 2 cookies together. Well, that was the idea… What actually happened was that because the outer surface of the cookies were uneven, any marshmallows placed on the flat underside would tip the balance over and thus when I brought out the cookies from the oven after a couple of minutes, what I saw was a pool of melted marshmallow cascading from each lopsided cookie. Furthermore, the marshmallow was a bit too soft so when I did sandwich the 2 cookies together to make the Whoopie Pie, it continued to leach out of the sides, rather like an ice cream in them oyster cones you can get. Any attempts to either scoop up the molten marshmallow from the baking sheet or whatever leached out ended up in a very sticky mess with stands of marshmallow looking wild over each Whoopie Pie as if some spider had a deranged fit and started spouting strands of marshmallow as if it were spinning a web, not to mention the damage it can cause to hands when trying to handle molten sugar.. The resulting marshmallow Whoopie Pies didn’t look too appetising as a result and I didn’t really want to take them into the office, but mindful of not wasting any food, I took them in as although they didn’t look too great, they still tasted good. Besides, you should never be ashamed of failures.

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The salted butter cream cheese filling was much more of a success – Mainly because the filling had been given time to chill and harden in the fridge by the time it was needed. So even though I applied the filling a bit too soon which meant the filling would melt (and so another patchwork job was required), it was solid enough anyone so it didn’t lose too much of its shape. This filling was much nicer to handle and actually made the Whoopie Pies look half decent (!) and I was quite proud of these ones!

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Given that they were wolfed down by the office, I’m guessing they were quite popular. However, I will try to be a bit more dainty next time (I said try), otherwise you’ve not only got a massive size from 2 cookies, but I also was a bit heavy on the filling too so it was a substantial effort to take in the whole thing and bit into it. There’s all sorts of talk about how Whoopie Pies are the new cupcakes and I can certainly see why – They’re light and fun and appeal to men a bit more as they don’t appear to be as girlie as a cupcake. Personally speaking, they’re just as easy to make (well, if you avoid melting whole marshmallows like I tried to) and the results are just as much appreciated by the office as anything else!

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