Let’s face it, the chocolate whoopie pie is officially a classic American dessert. I am the first person to admit that the term “classic” is overused, abused, and on the verge of becoming meaningless; however, it would be a travesty not to give this dessert its due. The whoopie pie, essentially two cake-like cookies with a generous helping of a creamy filling sandwiched between them, has its roots in the Northeast. Pennsylvanians will tell you they originated in Pennsylvania Dutch country, and the people of Maine will argue that it comes from their state. This version features a very moist, deep-chocolate cookie and a light and fluffy vanilla filling (for good measure, we also provide an option for a peanut butter filling). Enjoy—and spread the whoopie religion. It can become as ubiquitous as the chocolate chip cookie and the all-American brownie with a little help from you.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, and set aside.
In another large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and espresso powder. Add the hot coffee and ½ cup hot water and whisk until both powders are completely dissolved.
In a medium bowl, stir the brown sugar and oil together. Add this to the cocoa mixture and whisk until combined. Add the egg, vanilla, and buttermilk and whisk until smooth.
Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Make sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as you fold.
Use a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar together (see note below and remember to substitute the sugar for the peanut butter filling variation). Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water but do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and the color is a milky white, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium-high speed (start slowly at first) until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with the paddle attachment. Add the cubed butter and beat on medium-high speed (start slowly at first) until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. If the butter-cream looks like it is breaking, don’t worry, it will eventually come together.
Add the salt and vanilla and beat for 5 seconds to combine.
* Peanut Butter Filling Variation: Replace the sugar with 1 cup granulated sugar and ½ cup light brown sugar (packed tightly). Fold in ¼ cup unsalted smooth peanut butter after adding the vanilla exract.
Turn half of the cooled cookies upside down (flat side facing up).
Use an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon to drop a large dollop of filling onto the flat side of the cookie. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up before serving.
The whoopie pies will keep for up to 3 days, on a parchment-lined baking sheet covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator. Bring the whoopies to room temperature before serving.
© 2010 All rights reserved. Published by Abrams Books.