Thursday, December 24, 2009

Paula Deen's Lean: Holiday Whoopie Pies

I was formally introduced to Whoopie Pies about 2-1/2 years ago. And life hasn't been the same ever since. Talk about a favorite indulgence. These things top the charts! Although I have eaten many a Whoopie, I have never actually attempted making my own. The real reason is that my Aunt Carla makes the most amazing cookies you will ever eat. They are so wonderful, that family and friends encouraged her to start a business making them; therefore Carla's Cookies was born. Do yourself a favor and check them out sometime.

If you have ever had one, then you will agree that Whoopie Pies are great in the original style. It's difficult to imagine one tasting any better. But when I saw these Holiday Whoopie Pies on Paula's website, I absolutely had to give them a try.


PEPPERMINT CRUNCH WHOOPIE PIES
Yields 18-21 large whoopie pies or 33-38 medium



INGREDIENTS:

For Cookies...

3 cups SPLENDA
1 cup "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter", softened
1 cup Egg Beaters (4 large eggs)
½ cup apple sauce
1 tablespoon vanilla
3.5 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups Whole Wheat flour
2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups 1% milk


DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two half-sheet pans with Silpats or lightly grease.

In a large (at least 5 quart) bowl of stand mixer, cream sugar and butter with paddle attachment for 3-5 minutes. Add eggs, beating well after each. Add vegetable oil and vanilla and beat.

In a large separate bowl, sift dry ingredients together.

With mixer on very low speed, gradually add half of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture. Blend well. With mixer running on low, add 1 1/2 cups of the milk. Mix until blended. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and milk.

Using a standard 1/4-cup ice cream scoop, place batter on baking sheets, spacing 2-3” apart. Bake 12 minutes, rotating pans (move lower pan to top level and top level to lower level) after the first 6 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and transfer to cooling racks. Repeat with remaining batter. Don’t worry if some are a little cracked on the top – that’s normal! Cool completely prior to filling.


For Filling...

1 1/2 cups "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter"
1 1/2cups vegetable shortening
9 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 cups marshmallow creme
4 tablespoons 1% milk
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 lb hard peppermint candies



DIRECTIONS:

Combine first 7 ingredients in large bowl of mixer and beat until fluffy with paddle attachment.

Place peppermints in heavy plastic bag and crush with hammer or flat side of meat tenderizer. Sift crushed mints through fine sieve to separate dust from bits of candy. Fold ½ of candy bits plus “dust” into the filling. Reserve other half of candy pieces for garnish.

ASSEMBLY: Place a scoop of filling on the flat side of one cookie. Place another cookie, flat side down on top, pressing down gently. Roll edges of icing in remaining crushed peppermints. Package immediately in clear cellophane bags and tie with ribbon.

RESULTS:



WHOOPIE! These things were really good! I strongly suggest using a cookie dropper (or something smaller than an ice cream scoop). I used an ice cream scoop and they were HUGE! I ended up slicing my first batch in half and filling them that way. I got wise after round one and made them a lot smaller for the remaining pies. They didn't turn out as neat as I had hoped, but this was my first time ever making them. Hey, it's fun to get messy every now and then. Next time I'll know how to make them smaller. Overall, they still taste fantastic and that is what matters most.
This is a really fun baking recipe and the peppermint adds that little bit of a festive punch. I think my Aunt Carla would be proud.

I would also like to mention that although this recipe came from Paula Deen's site, it actually belongs to Juliann Mathews. Thank you Juliann!
Happy Holidays! ENJOY!!


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