Sunday, December 21, 2014

Better Than Whoopie Whoopie Pies

Better Than Whoopie Whoopie Pies
I got some shiny new baking pans for Christmas, so I decided that I needed to make something new and fabulous. Whoopie pies are always good, but I wanted to ramp them up a bit. That got me to thinking about Better Than Sex Cake. I think there are several versions of that cake out there, but the one I am familiar with is a 9 X 13 inch chocolate cake, doused in caramel sauce and sweetened condensed milk, frosted with Cool Whip, and sprinkled with toffee or Heath Bar bits. I haven't made that cake in a while, but I thought the whoopie pie would be a great form for that cake, so this is what I did. Initially I thought I would include the sweetened condensed milk, but I didn't want to waste a whole can of it on an experiment. Next time, I might go ahead and add the sweetened condensed milk. We'll see. For now, though, these things are fantastic. I don't know that they live up to their name, but I enjoyed one and half of these this evening, and I probably could have enjoyed more. The cookie/cake part is moist, tender, and chocolatey. The caramel is sticky sweet layer, but it also makes the mascarpone frosting fabulous. The toffee bits around the edge add texture and just that yummy buttery brown sugary goodness. 
So, thank you Lori and Mark, for the pans and the inspiration for this sweet creation. 

Better Than Whoopie Whoopie Pies
    --adapted from Martha Stewart 's Whoopie Pie recipe

  • 1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 recipe Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce (recipe below)
  • 1 recipes Vanilla Bean Caramel Mascarpone Frosting 
  • 1 cup (approx.) toffee bits
Make the caramel sauce first so it has time to cool. (See recipe below.)
Sift together flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light-colored and fluffy. Add egg, buttermilk, and vanilla and beat until combined.  Slowly add dry ingredients, mixing until combined. Scoop into an airtight plastic container and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Using a medium sized cookie scoop (I used the medium Pampered Chef cookie scoop, which is about 2T), drop 2 inches apart onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until puffed and cracked on top.
Allow to cool a couple of minutes on the cookie sheet and then carefully move to a wire rack to finish cooling. You should end up with 32 cookies.
Once all cookies are baked and cooled, work on the filling.
Once cookies are cool and frosting is made, turn half of the cookies over and drizzle enough caramel sauce on it to almost completely cover the bottom of the cookie. Place frosting in a large zip-top bag and cut one of the bottom corners 1/2 inch.  Squeeze about 2 tablespoons of frosting on each of the 16 cookies that do not have the caramel sauce. Place each frosted cookie on top of a cookie with caramel. Place toffee bits on a plate and roll the edge of each whoopie pie in the toffee bits. If they don't seem to be sticking, pick some toffee bits up and sprinkle/press them into the edge of each whoopie pie.
They taste best at just about room temperature, but store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Makes 16 pies.  

Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoon butter 
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon Karo Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla paste
Combine the sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan, pouring the sugar into the center of the pan to prevent the sugar crystals from sticking to the sides of the pan. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, uncover and continue to boil until the syrup is thick and straw-colored, about 7 minutes (it will register 300° on a candy thermometer). Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until the sugar syrup is golden and just begins to smoke, 1 to 2 minutes (it will be 350°).
Meanwhile, bring the cream, butter, vanilla, salt, and corn syrup to a simmer over medium high heat in a small saucepan. (If the cream mixture reaches a simmer before the syrup reaches the proper stage, remove from the heat and set aside.)
As soon as the sugar syrup reaches 350°, remove it from the heat, pour about half of the cream mixture into it, and let the bubbling subside. Add the remaining cream mixture and whisk until the sauce is smooth. Pour 1/4 cup into a small bowl, and then pour the remainder into a heat-proof container and set both bowls aside to cool.

Vanilla Bean Caramel Mascarpone Frosting 
  •  8 oz. mascarpone cheese
  •  1/4 cup Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce, cooled 
  •  1 cup heavy whipping cream
Vanilla Bean Caramel Mascarpone Frosting Instructions:  In a mixer bowl, cream mascarpone and Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce.  Add cream, and mix on low/stir until combined. Then whip on high until stiff.
Toffee Bits

  • 1/4 cup packed C & H Light Brown Sugar 
  • 1/2 cup C & H White Sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
1. Line a square Pyrex pan (8X8) with parchment paper or non-stick foil. 
2. In a heavy saucepan heat butter and sugar to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil over medium heat until it reaches 300° on a candy thermometer. Pour into prepared pan and evenly spread with a silicone (not rubber) spatula. Allow to cool completely.
3. Break toffee up into big chunks with your hands and then on a clean cutting board, chop into smaller bits. Be sure to taste some to see if it's good.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of toffee bits. Store extras in an airtight container.

I inadvertently over cooked the caramel sauce,
so this is quite a few shades darker than I'd
intended. Still good, but not perfect. 

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