Monday, February 14, 2011

Heart Whoopie Pies

I've been making whoopie for my pies. Not that heavy sweet stuff, but light of heart whoopie. The traditional New England Whoopie Pie is filled with a powdered sugar frosting mixed with Marshmallow Fluff. It can be just a little too much of a good thing. One of my favorite frosting and fillings for chocolate cake is an Italian Meringue. It is light and delicately sweet and leaves you asking for more. Heart shaped Whoopie Pies and Meringue filling sounded like a perfect marriage to me. And it was. I think it is the only broken heart I've ever looked forward to. They are so pretty that they can be served atop a tutu-like pink carnation and eaten with a spoon or tucked inside a cellophane bag for your sweet Valentine. I've never had wine with my cake, but hey, this is Valentine's Day. I found a Californian Merlot wine and couldn't resist trying it. Any wine named Cupcake is my cup of tea! It is described as,

"Decadent flavors of rich black cherry, supple mocha and wonderful sweet oak mingles into a plush, full finish. In other words: sinful."

The label even suggests serving it with chocolate cake. Cheers!

Soooo....Make a little whoopie this Valentine's Day....
and remember...All there is, is Love, Love is all there is ♥♥♥ Happy Valentine's Day!

Whoopie Pies
(Cakes adapted from Gourmet)

For the cakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
* to substitute buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup milk. Let stand 10 minutes before using.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl until combined. In a small bowl stir together buttermilk and vanilla. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat together butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add egg and beat until well blended. Reduce mixer speed to low and alternatively add the flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down sides after each batch, and mix until smooth.

For round cakes, spoon batter into 2 1/2 inch circles onto a parchment lined or buttered baking sheet. Space about 2 inches apart. Bake until puffed up and spring back when lightly touched, about 10 minutes.

Using a spatula, transfer to a baking rack to cool. Once cool, fill one with filling and top with another.

Makes about 16 3-inch filled cakes.

Heart Shaped Cakes:
To make heart shapes, make a 3x3 inch heart template on light cardboard. On a sheet of parchment to fit your baking sheet, use a pencil to trace around the template making heart shapes. Leave 1-2 inches space between shapes. Turn the parchment over, pencil side down onto baking sheet.

Fill a large pastry bag fitted a large tip or just the coupling, and pipe inside of the heart shape leaving 1/4-1/2 inch space all around to allow for spreading. Try and accentuate the tail of the heart since it spreads while baking. If necessary, use your fingertips to give it more shape.
Bake and once cool, match up pairs of hearts that are similar shape and size. Fill pastry bag with filling and using a large tip, generously pipe filling on one cake and top with its matching cake. Lightly press together. Makes about 16 heart shaped filled cakes.

Meringue Frosting

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
3 egg whites
pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the sugar and water in a heavy medium saucepan and bring to a boil without stirring. Boil until it reaches the soft ball stage, 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.

While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites with the salt and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. When the syrup reaches 240 degrees, pour 1/4 cup of the syrup into the stiffly beaten egg whites, drop by drop, beating at high speed. Gradually add the rest of the syrup in a fine stream and beat for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the mixture is cool. It should be glossy and thick, but not dry.
If coloring the meringue pink, add a few drops of red food coloring and continue beating until it reaches a light-medium pink.
Makes about 3 cups.

Love Notes: Add a 1/2 teaspoon of rosewater or other flavoring to the meringue frosting for a variation. Since I am lazy and cheap, I mean clever, I re-used the parchment paper by just scraping off any remaining cake bits on it. If you are putting the Whoopie Pies in bags, it helps to freeze them individually before placing in the bag. This keeps the filling from smearing. They can also be placed back in the freezer at this time until ready to give away.

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