Friday, July 26, 2013

Whoopie Pies

Some people like to read or watch TV when they're bored. The really good ones clean the house or work on long-postponed projects. Me? I bake. We aren't exactly having what you'd call baking weather here in Seattle, but the idea of having a pie or a cake or cookies is too powerful to resist. The idea of having whoopie pie, even more so. So when there was nothing else to do the other night, I decided to bake whoopie (sorry, couldn't resist). I'm rather proud of these, as the flavor is pretty much right on. If you're a vegan who misses whoopies, this recipe is just what the doctor ordered.

Whoopie pies are an Amish creation, so it's not totally true that they don't have a decadent streak. Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Maine all loudly proclaim that they are the official home of the whoopie pie. Maine even went so far as to codify in law that the whoopie pie was their official state treat (they already had an official state pie and didn't want to rock the boat, I guess).

The "cookie" part of this is more cake-like, which is why it has more ingredients than normal cookies. That also means they'll expand and spread quite a bit while baking. I hadn't thought about that and put 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheet before popping them into the oven. The result was a giant whoopie pie, just a bit smaller in diameter than a McDonald's cheeseburger. They're filling, so you may want to dial the size back a bit, especially if you want more pies out of a batch (this made about six). You can make little mini whoopie pies with no more than a tablespoon of dough for each cookie.


For the cookies:
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup Earth Balance butter, softened
1/4 cup evaporated cane sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp vegan sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup vegetable shortening, softened
3 tbsp soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Make the cookies: In a small bowl, whisk together the soy milk and vinegar and set aside for a few minutes. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars, making sure they're completely combined and creamy. Mix in the sour cream.

Stir your soy milk mixture (it should be thicker now) and add the vanilla. Beginning with the wetingredients, add both wet and dry to the butter/sugar mixture with the mixer running, scraping down the sides as necessary. Beat everything together at a medium speed until it's just combined.

Scoop out balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets. You can do 1 or 2 tablespoons for each, depending on how big you want them to be. Give them at least 2 inches of space in between as they will spread quite a bit.

Bake them for about 10-12 minutes, until they've flattened out and crackled a bit on top.

Make the creme filling: Start with the mixer on low and beat the powdered sugar and shortening together. Add the soy milk and vanilla and continue on low until they are incorporated. The filling will be sort of limp and dull-colored at this point, but don't panic.

After the ingredients are all incorporated, throw the mixer into high gear and let it whip the filling for 2-3 minutes. It will turn fluffy and bright white.

To assemble the pies, choose two cookies that are similar in diameter. Turn on over so the flat side is up and drop a healthy dollop of creme filling on it. Press the other cookie down on it, pushing the filling out to the edges. These will keep in an airtight container for a few days, but they probably won't be around that long.

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