Thursday, April 8, 2010
When my big son was quite small, I brought home a can of Crisco from the grocery store. To my puzzlement he was very excited about it and wanted to open it right away. Then when I did open it, he was quite disappointed. Unlike the enticing picture on the label, it contained no fried chicken at all!
I feel that way about shortening, too. It's deceitful. Going by looks alone, it should be creamy and delicious, but it's just grease. So why is it a major component in so many frostings? Because it makes them look creamy and delicious, although they're actually disgusting. If you're unfortunate enough to have to choke down a piece of "happy special occasion" cake from the grocery store, you'll know that it makes you feel wretched, too.
That's why I've put off making Whoopie Pies for so long. I love the idea of a big cookie, cakey in texture, filled with frosting. Basically, it's a piece of chocolate cake, to go. But if the frosting part is nasty, why bother? And all the recipes that I'd seen called for a lot of shortening in the filling.
But then, I saw a recipe in Martha Stewart's Cookies for Whoopie Pies with peanut butter frosting. Yes! Peanut butter deliciousness, and zero shortening! I dove face first into that one and came up with these delicious beauties. Can you resist?
(If you're a purist and really must have your black and white Whoopie Pie, check out this recipe for amazing, shortening-free Whoopie Pies. They're in my "to bake" queue.)
Peanut butter Whoopie Pies
- adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling:
1-1/3 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1- Preheat oven to 400 deg. F. with shelves dividing the oven into thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
2- Sift together the flour, cocoas powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat until well combined. On low speed, slowly add dry ingredients; mix until combined.
4- Drop batter onto the prepared cookie sheets, 1-1/2 Tbsp at a time, 2-inches apart. Bake until set, about 8 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway though. The cookie is done when it feels soft on the top, but not wet. Cool completely on a wire rack.
5- To make the filling, place the peanut butter and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on high speed until smooth. Reduce speed to low . Add confectioners' sugar and mix until combined. On high speed, mix until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Season with salt, if desired.
6- To assemble the cookies, spread 1 heaping tablespoon of the filling on the flat side of 1 cookie. Top with another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Cookies can be refrigerated in single layers in an airtight container up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.