I've been reveling in the picture perfect weather here in sunny California, and the kitchen at Chez SoCal is definitely open for business once again. One of my favorite food blogs to frequent is also a local LA gal, Sara, over at Culinerapy. Perusing her site a few nights ago, I was delighted to see a recipe for a New England staple, the whoopie pie. I've been pondering, mulling, and plotting this recipe ever since.
I've had this recipe for Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes bookmarked from Smitten Kitchen for entirely too long. Variations have popped up around the web, found here and here among others. Yesterday, in a search for inspiration, I revisited my overflowing folder of bookmarked recipes and ran across this very recipe. I now believe this was an act of divine victual intervention. Conveniently, Guinness, Jamesons and Baileys happen to be the go to trifecta of libations in our household. Why, you ask? It just so happens that Mr. SoCal happens to be Irish. Really, really Irish. I'm talking red hair and green pointy shoes short of a leprechaun Irish. In the spirit of full disclosure, I also enjoy Baileys in a piping hot cup of coffee on a Sunday morning. There's nothing wrong with having some liquid deliciousness in house, and it worked to my full culinary advantage today. The following is what happens when two amazing concepts unite in a brainstorm, complete with a dash of the hooch for good measure.
Moonshine Whoopie Pies
Makes 9 - 10 whoopie pies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup butter, salted (softened)
2 cups Guinness stout
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, salted (softened)
8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3-4 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa. In another large bowl, mix together brown sugar, butter and oil until well combined. Add egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add coffee and half of the Guinness. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet mixture, one cup at a time. After adding half of the dry ingredients, add the remaining Guinness. Mix in remaining dry ingredients.
Using an ice cream scoop, scoop batter onto baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.
Beat softened butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, until fully incorporated. Add vanilla, then add Bailey's until desired flavor level is achieved. Spoon into large zip top bag or pastry bag, and refrigerate.
Making the whoopie pies:
Remove filling in bag from fridge for 10 - 15 minutes prior to assembling whoopie pies. Lay half of cookies flat side up on a large cutting board or clean baking sheet. Working from the outer edge of the cookie towards the center, pipe a spiral of filling, covering entire flat surface of cookie. Top with remaining cookies. Wrap whoopie pies in plastic wrap (individually or between stacked layers) and refrigerate before serving.
I simply cannot get over the pillowy, light texture of the whoopie pie batter. Its akin to a more dense version of a meringue, that's the only thing I can compare it to. These whoopie cookies are delicate little flowers, though. Do take extra care in their storage after they cool. In my attempt to clean the cocoa-laden, sugary booze bomb that went off in my kitchen in the process of making these, I layered the nearly cooled cookies in a zip top bag. After the cleaning frenzy had passed, I found my beloved whoopie cookies a bit worse for wear. Stuck to their neighbors and painfully eager to fall apart, I humbly salute the 6 dearly departed whoopie cookies who are no longer in their intended form. Good thing there was leftover filling, or their crumbling would have been in vain.
Make sure to have plenty of ventilation when you whip these guys up. I was amazed with how, well, perfumed my kitchen was when these were baking. In plain English, when these cook, the Guinness cooks out and makes the air ripe with the aroma of beer. And chocolate. Strange, but a welcomed aroma in my house from here on in, if these awesome whoopie pies are the end product. Cheers and enjoy!