Margaret Button | Kitchen Comfort: Special whoopie pies worth the effort

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I should have known better than to leave a cookbook devoted solely to whoopie pies out in the open when my son and his girlfriend visited last weekend ...

Mocha Whoopie Pies with Salted-Caramel Filling

Ingredients:

Cookies:

3 tablespoons instant espresso powder

2 tablespoons water

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 tablespoons shortening

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup whole milk

Vanilla buttercream:

3 cups confectioners' sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3-4 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Salted-caramel sauce

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons heavy cream

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

Large pinch coarse sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together the espresso powder and water in a small bowl. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. With a stand mixer, cream the butter, shortening and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla; beat for 2 minutes. Add half of the dry ingredients and half the milk and beat. Add the espresso mixture, remaining dry ingredients and remaining milk, and beat until combined.

Using a small cookie scoop, place batter onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 minutes or until the cookies spring back when gently pressed. Cool on pan for 5 minutes, then remove to cookie racks.

Salted-caramel sauce: Combine granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, DO NOT STIR, until caramel has a deep amber color, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cream, then butter and sea salt, until combined. Let cool completely.

Vanilla buttercream: Combine confectioners' sugar and the butter in bowl of mixer. Beat briefly on low, then on medium until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add 3 tablespoons heavy cream and the vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed about 2 minutes. Add the cooled caramel sauce and beat until light and fluffy.

Match the cookies in pairs. Place a small amount of the filling onto a cookie and top with another cookie. Press the filling to the edges.


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