Friday, March 4, 2011

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

I love Valentine's Day, for multiple reasons, one being that it gives me an excuse to make fun Valetntine's inspired goodies and to cook a wonderful and tasty meal for me and my sweetie!  Some people don't care as much for this particular holiday because they think it's another "Hallmark" holiday that the card companies created to make more money, but I'm definitely NOT one of those people.  Although I don't really need an excuse to spend more time with my sweetie, it's nice to have a day that is designated specifically to that.  It's a day that we slow down and recognize the person we love, do something special for them and spend just a little more time with them.  Either way I love this holiday and I look forward to making fun treats inspired by it.

There are many desserts and candies that are popular to give on Valentine's but red velvet cake has to be one of the most popular, cliche' and overdone desserts of them all.  Although I love red velvet cake and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it, it's a wonderful cake but it's always a pleasant surprise to see a classic favorite with a new spin on it.  Better Homes and Gardens did just that with these red velvet whoopie pies.  It's a great way to celebrate Valentine's as well as putting this all time favorite in a more finger food friendly form.  These cookies are the perfect size to pick and snack on without requiring a fork and plate.  This is a fun way to brighten anyone's day and to give your Valentine your heart!

These are so much fun and to stick with the Valentine's theme I made these in the shape of hearts.  This dough is a perfect dough to pipe into whatever shape you would like, it's thin enough to be piped but thick enough not to run everywhere.  I have made whoopie pies a coupld of times now, I am no way an expert at whoopie pies, but the first time I made them I tried to spoon them and spread them with a knife and it was a hastle and basically just a big mess.  This time, however, I placed the dough in a piping bag and piped the dough in the shape I wanted and it worked so much better, I would highly recommed piping these rather than spreading with a knife.  These were absolutely delicious, it didn't take long at all for these to disappear! 

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

For the cookies-

2 Cups all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup butter, softened
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1/2 Cup buttermilk
1 1-oz bottle red food coloring (2 Tablespoons)

For the filling-

8 ounces cream cheese frosting
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 Cups confectioner's sugar, sifted

For the cookies-

Preheat oven to 375. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk ingredients together and set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 30 seconds.  Add the brown sugar and mix until incorporated and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined.  Add the flour mixture and buttermilk; alternating from flour to buttermilk, beating well after each addition.  Stir in the food coloring until batter is completely red.

Place the batter in a piping bag fitted with a round tip and pipe the desired shape on the prepared baking sheet.  Pipe the dough at least 1/2 high.  To ensure each cookie is the same size, cut a template from card stock and trace the desired shape on the parchment paper. 

Bake for 7-9 minutes, or until tops are set.  Cool completely on baking sheets then remove to a flat, clean surface to be filled. 

For the filling-

Cream the cream cheese, butter and vanilla on medium-high speed.  Gradually add the powdered sugar to the cream cheese mixture, beating until combined.  Once all the powdered sugar is added, beat on high until desired consistency is reached.
*To stiffen the icing add a little more powdered sugar 

To fill-

Pair each cookie with a cookie that is similar in size and shape.  Turn one cookie from each pair where the flat side is facing up.  Place the filling in a piping bag fitted with a round tip.  Pipe the frosting on the flat sided cookie from each pair, leaving a clean edge.  Sandwich the cookies together, so the flat sides are facing one another and gently press to expand the filling to the edges.

To store, place cookies in an air tight container and refrigerate.       

Recipe Source: Cookies from Better Homes and Gardens, filling from  Confections of a Foodie Bride who adapted it from The Gourmet Cookbook

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