T’was the perfect morning – I had slept in until noon and had a few hours to spare before work, so I took comfort on my couch with an oversize furry blanket, a cup of piping hot coffee and this month’s Bon Appetit. I figured I would probably stumble upon a few yummy recipes, maybe find an idea or two, but by page ten, I had found the impossible. It was an advertisement for the promotion of Bon Appetit through facebook, twitter & four-square. The title inside the big bubble on the page? Sweet Bytes. It wasn’t italicized or bold on the page, but HOLY CRAP. Seriously? I felt like allanabytes was famous. All kidding aside, if one of the nation’s greatest food magazines could coin the word “bytes,” well then … WOW. I could hardly contain any coherent thought at that moment and now, writing about it, I am hardly making any sense. So I’ll move on. But really – WOW!
With my mind buzzing “bytes,” I soon stumbled upon another title that left me, frankly, pretty pissed off. It read, “Which one is the new cupcake?” Hold the damn phone. I’m sorry, Bon Appetit, but I was blissfully unaware there was a new cupcake in town. I’ll have to disagree one million percent with your macaroon/whoopie pie debate. You declare the macaroon the winner? Well, then I doubt you’ve tried Sprinkle’s Vanilla Peppermint cupcake. Maybe after you sink your teeth into one of those bad boys, we can talk. Now, the runner up in this “sweet smackdown,” for Bon Appetit was in fact, the whoopie pie. I’ve never had a whoopie pie before, so I figured why not? The name made me giggle uncontrollably as I repeatedly yelled “whoooopie pie” in a thick southern accent. Plus, I can’t deny a mint filling, ya’ll.
Whoopie Pies with Mint Filling and Chocolate Ganache (Recipe Courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazine)
Cookies : 2 cups all purpose flour, 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 & 1/8 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 stick unsalted butter (or 1/2 cup nonhydrogenated solid vegetable shortener), 1 cup sugar, 2 large egg yolks, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 cup whole milk
Mint Filling: 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated solid vegetable shortener (or unsalted butter), 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 cups plus 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, 1/4 cup egg whites (from about 2 large eggs), 3 to 4 drops green food coloring
Chocolate Ganache: 3 tablespoon heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips.
Cookies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda into a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer beat together the shortening, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended (2 minutes ish). Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternately with milk in 2 additions, beating until well blended.
Drop the dough by very rounded tablespoon-fuls onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake 1 sheet at a time until the cookies are slightly puffed and spread, but still soft, about 8-10 minutes. Cool on the sheets for 10 minutes and then carefully transfer the cookies to racks and cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
Mint Filling: Using an electric mixer, beat together the shortening, peppermint extract and vanilla in a large bowl until combined. Add the powdered sugar, egg whites and a pinch of salt and beat until light and fluffy. Add the food coloring drop by drop for the desired shade of green.
Ganache: Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy, small saucepan. Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Cool until lukewarm but spreadable, about 15 minutes.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of ganache onto the bottom (flat side) of half of the cookies. Place the cookies, ganache side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Spoon the mint filling into a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip (but if you don’t have one, like me, you can use a resealable plastic bag, squeeze the filling into 1 corner of the bag and cut 1/4 inch of the plastic bag corner to allow for piping).
Now, the directions told me to “start at the outer edge of the bottom (flat side) of the remaining cookies and working toward the center, pipe mint filling in a spiral manner.” I tried that and it didn’t work. I guess I don’t know my spirals from my spoons. So I just spooned as much filling as I wanted to in the middle, placed that side of the cookie atop a ganache filled side cookie and pressed together to adhere both fillings.
Results? Just imagine what would happen if some beautiful mint frosting hooked up with a chocolately, rich, very sexy cookie. It was absolute heaven. Kind of like a thin mint.