Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cake of the Week: Chocolate Peppermint Whoopie Pies

It Feels Like Christmas
It's in the singing of a street corner choir
It's going home and getting warm by the fire
It's true
Wherever you find love
It feels like Christmas!
A cup of kindness that we share with another
A sweet reunion with a friend or a brother
In all the places you find love 
It feels like Christmas!
It is the season of the heart
A special time of caring
The ways of love made clear
It is the season of the sprit
The message if we hear it
Is make it last all year!

That song sounds like Christmas, and with just 3 more doors on my advent calendar and a flight home tonight, it’s feeling like Christmas.

And these Chocolate Peppermint Whoopie Pies, well Holy nutcracker! They taste like Christmas!

I’ve always been a big candy cane fan. My first candy cane of the season is somehow special. The rule is that it must be given to me - in the spirit of the season of selfless giving I just can’t buy myself a candy cane!

That sweet and minty taste signals the coming of Christmas like no other flavor can (well ok, maybe gingerbread). So make these whoopee pies and give them to the people you love, they’re densely chocolaty and very minty – delicious!

Chocolate Peppermint Whoopie Pies (from Playing House)

3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
½ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Combine the flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl; whisk together to blend.  Set aside.  Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition.  Blend in the buttermilk and vanilla and peppermint extract until incorporated.  Mix in the dry ingredients, blending just until combined. Mix in chocolate chips.

Using a 1-oz dough scoop, drop the batter onto the prepared baking pans, 12 cookies per pan.  Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Allow to cool on the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Repeat with the remaining batter. 

Fluffy Mint Frosting (from An Edible Mosaic) (I ended up needing to make another batch, so double this recipe to do all the whoopie pies at once)

6 TB unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch salt
1/2 to 1 tsp pure peppermint extract (depending on how strong you like it)
A few drops of red or green food coloring
6 oz powdered (confectioner’s) sugar (about 1 1/2 c)
1 1/2 c Marshmallow Fluff

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and creamy; mix in salt, peppermint extract, and a few drops green food coloring (to reach your desired shade of green).  Gradually beat in powdered sugar, then beat in fluff. 
To make whoopie pies, once cookies are cool, pipe or spoon some frosting onto the bottom of half the cookies, then top with the remaining cookies to form sandwiches.