whoopie pies

It’s Valentine’s Day, and despite the fact that Adam and I got engaged on V Day back in 2006, we’re actually not very big Valentine’s Day people. It is my least favorite day of the year to go to a restaurant, so we usually do something cozy at home. Actually, Adam’s proposal came after we’d bailed on plans to go out to dinner in Manhattan and decided to stay home watching CSI in our pajamas instead. And that was way more us, and way more awesome.

But, let it never be said that I am not still filled with the joys of love and sugar on this pinkest of all days. So, it seems like a pretty great day to share these whoopie pies I made from a book I bought in Maine last year. Whoopies! by Susanna Tee is adorable and tons of fun, and the recipe for this classic chocolate and vanilla whoopie was amazing.

It was most amazing the day the pies were made; they were still a little crisp around the edges, chewy in the middle. They were still delicious the next day, but by then the cake had softened all over and become more like the store-bought whoopie pies I’ve had. We definitely preferred the slightly crispy day-of magic.

I had a momentary existential crisis over the marshmallow filling recipe, which calls for Fluff (which obviously I had). The day I made these pies my Instagram feed was especially full of everyone’s paleo-, no artificial anything-, grown by kosher monks on an organic hillside-meals. To admit that I own and occasionally use Fluff felt like I needed to permanently hand over my reusable Whole Foods bags.

But, I got over it.

Very quickly, because you really need to use the right ingredients for things. And sometimes only Fluff will do. There is an alternative recipe that uses light corn syrup, but I didn’t see that as being much better. Commit, that’s what I say.

And it was so worth it.

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Classic Marshmallow Filling
Makes 12 pies, unless you are me and actually make 8 ginormous pies

For the cake
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
1 cup dark brown sugar (or light, which is what I had, and they were still awesome)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 extra large egg (I used a large egg, it’s what I buy, the texture was still excellent–I live to break the rules)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (Dutch process all the way for me)
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup buttermilk (1 Tbsp lemon juice in the bottom of my 1 cup measuring cup, then fill the rest with whole milk and leave it for 10 minutes

For the filling
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or vegetable shortening (ick), softened
2/3 cup Marshmallow Fluff
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 and line 2 or 3 or 4 (took me 2) large baking sheets with parchment paper (or grease a whoopie pan if you have one).

Make the cakes: Put the butter, sugar, and vanilla in an electric mixer bowl (or handheld mixer) and beat together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg.

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Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into the butter mixture and mix until combined.

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Add the buttermilk and mix until combined.

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Use a heaping tablespoon or (the book’s recommendation) a 2″ ice cream scoop to make 24 halves. My friend Audrey says an ice cream scoop you can level off is best, finding matching halves is the big challenge with whoopies. I did not have a flat-topped ice cream scoop, so I did my best with a curved one.

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The book says to put the batter onto the baking sheets in 2″ rounds about 1 1/4″ high; that was incredibly specific, I was not that gifted. Leave at least 3″ between rounds.

Bake in the oven 10-12 minutes, until firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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While the cakes bake and cool, make the filling: Clean out your mixer bowl and fill it with the butter and Fluff. Beat together for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a separate bowl. Put your mixer on low speed and gradually add the sugar in spoonfuls. Add the vanilla extract and beat together for 3 more minutes.

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Take your cooled whoopies and match the halves as best you can.

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Use a palette knife, pastry bag, or plain old knife to cover the flat side of a whoopie with marshmallow filling. Top with another half, flat side down, and eat them immediately.

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