Dessert of the Month- Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Hi Everyone!  I hope you all had a good Valentine’s Day yesterday and got some fun treats to celebrate!

For the February Dessert of the Month I thought it was only appropriate it went along with the holiday and after some online searching I settled on Red Velvet Whoopie Pies…with cream cheese frosting filling:) Courtesy of the blog, Annie Eats.

To start up, I whisked together my dry ingredients; flour, salt, cocoa powder and baking powder and set aside.

adding vanilla

I creamed together the butter sugar until fluffy.  Then added in the egg and  vanilla one at a time making sure each was incorporated before moving on.

Next up, added about a third of the dry ingredients followed by half of the buttermilk.  I repeated until both the dry and buttermilk were gone.

Then I added in my 1 oz. of red food coloring.  Handy little tip: you can buy food coloring in that size at the grocery store.  It’s easier to do that than useing the little guys you can buy in packs of 4.

Once the batter was mixed together the real fun began.  Obviously I had to go for the heart shapes so I loaded up my pastry bag with red velvet dough, laid out my parchment paper and went to work.

I started with a round tip.  It was way to small of a tip.  The dough didn’t come out easily and took too long to pipe out and make a heart shape.

Next I tried a star tip.  The dough came out a little better but I didn’t like the texture I was getting.  So I took out the metal tips and just used the cut end of the bag.  Much, much easier.

I didn’t use a template that was recommended by Annie.  However, if I were to make it again, I would.  The hearts were pretty easy to do, but without the template they were a little lop sided.

The cookies baked pretty quickly, only about 7-9 minutes and the pans had to be turned halfway through. Then I let them cool for a bit before moving them to cooling racks.

While they were cooling I started on the cream cheese frosting.  It goes really quickly.  First, you cream together the cream cheese and butter until it’s nice and smooth.  Make sure you don’t have any lumps.

Next up, add in your vanilla.  Then you start gradually adding powdered sugar.  I sifted in half a cup at a time letting it get fully incorporated before adding in the next batch.  You’ll end up with A LOT of frosting.  Not that it’s a bad thing:)

With the frosting done and the cookies cooled, I started pairing up my ‘hearts’ to make sandwiches.  Here I had another realization on why the template was so important.  Besides the fact that a lot of my hearts ended up looking more like kidney beans, it was hard to get good matches for even sandwiches with the cookies back to back.  I fudged it a little and had some cookies face up just to make them even and keep frosting on the fingers to a minimum.

I used a second pastry bag to pipe frosting on for each tiny sandwich.  I didn’t go all the way out to the sides when I piped it on.  This kept the frosting from spilling all over the place when you press on the top.

And there you go!  I put them in the fridge over night to let the cream cheese frosting firm up a bit.  I brought some to work the next day.  They got good reviews and it was fun to make something so mini and bite sized and I like giving out something homemade for holidays.  I think I’ll also use the cream cheese frosting again for cakes or some other treats.  I’m sure you could just do little rounds or go really crazy and try some other shapes for cookies too.

Give it a try and have some fun!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
Recipe from AnnieEats.com
(Source: cookies adapted from Dinner and Dessert, originally from Better Homes & Gardens, December 2008; frosting frosting adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride)

Yield: approximately 18 sandwich cookies, but depends entirely on the size of hearts you make


For the cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 oz. red food coloring

Ingredients:

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.

Using a heart template cut out from card stock, trace evenly spaced hearts onto pieces of parchment paper sized to fit two cookie sheets.  Place the parchment on the cookie sheets so that the side you have drawn on is facing down; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the egg until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Blend in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, beat in about a third of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk, beating each addition just until incorporated.  Repeat so that all the buttermilk has been added and then mix in the final third of dry ingredients.  Do not overbeat.  Blend in the food coloring.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip.  Pipe the batter onto the parchment paper using the heart tracings as a guide.  Bake 7-9 minutes or until the tops are set, rotating the baking sheets halfway through.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets at least 10 minutes, until they can be easily transferred to a cooling rack.  Repeat with any remaining batter.  Allow cookies to cool completely before proceeding.

To make the cream cheese frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.

Transfer the frosting to a clean pastry bag fitted with a plain, round tip.  Pair the cookies up by shape and size.

Flip one cookie of each pair over so that the flat side is facing up.

Pipe frosting onto the flat-sided cookie of each pair, leaving the edges clear.  Sandwich the cookies together so the flat sides are facing each other and press gently to help the filling reach the edges.  To store, refrigerate in an airtight container.

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