Making Whoopie

Making Whoopie

It’s that time of year again… birthday season! My husband Stephan and I have a very unusual coincidence when it comes to our birthdays. His is today (Christmas Eve) and mine is tomorrow (Christmas Day.) What are the odds? It is honestly not fun to have your birthday on or close to Christmas. You get combo presents… you get birthday presents wrapped in paper with Santas on it. Lastly, your birthday is overshadowed by someone else’s birthday. :P However, I do like that we get to celebrate together. This year I bought Stephan a really big expensive present and made it a……. combo. Yes, it is a faux pas, but Bose makes really expensive man toys! Sorry honey! Actually, we both received the best present ever this year, a wedding we photographed this summer was just published in InStyle Weddings!!!

Instead of making a traditional cake, I made Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with Peppermint Filling. Our photography studio has been very busy this month with last minute photo shoots and holiday cards and there just wasn’t the time to make a real birthday cake. It’s OK, though. Stephan really doesn’t like traditional birthday cake. I only made them in the past because it seemed like the right thing to do. So this year, I not only combined his birthday and Christmas present, but I combined his birthday cake and a Christmas cookie. Yeah, I know… not cool. I’m definitely not winning the wife of the year award! Thankfully, the whoopie pies are really yummy and made up for the lack of birthday-ness!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with Peppermint Filling Recipe
(adapted from Better Homes & Garden Magazine)

1/2 c butter, softened
1 c packed brown sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c buttermilk
1 1-oz bottle red food coloring (or enough paste to color it dark red)

6 oz cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
3 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 and line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until well combined, at least 1 minute. Scrape bowl occasionally. Add the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and beat until combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined, again scraping bowl. Alternately beat in the flour and buttermilk, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Stir in the food coloring.

3. Drop batter by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto prepared sheet pan. Bake in oven for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are set. Do not overcook, as the texture should be like cake, not a cookie. Cool for 2 minutes on the pan and then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. If you’re reusing the same sheet pan, make sure to let it cool completely before baking the next batch.

4. While the cookies are baking beat the cream cheese, butter and peppermint extract until light and fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating well. If necessary, stir in a few drops of milk to make the filling spreadable.

5. Spread filling on bottoms of half of the cookies. Top with the remaining cookies, bottom side down. If desired, sprinkle with small broken pieces of candy cane before serving.

Makes about 40 sandwich cookies.