Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dark Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Rainbow Toasted Almond Cream

Prior to this bake, I had never tasted a whoopie pie before. Seeing all these Betty Crocker Whoopie pies mix displaying at the supermarket shelves, I have been influenced to bake these Whoopie pies. And, this is the reason why I am suggesting "Whoopie pie" to Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena, from Frozen wings for this bake-along.

It seems to me that Whoopie pies has been a trendy thing to bake and eat in these recent years.  I wonder how and why the Whoopie pies trend started and surprised to see that a few highly-rated baking books that contain Whoopie pies recipes only. Assuming that Whoopie pie is an all-time American favourite, I tried to seek for an ultimate and authentic recipe within all my American-based cookbooks and was surprised that I couldn't find any... All that I gathered are many versions of Whoopie pies recipes from my food magazines and internet. Looking at the recipes in details, I found that all the Whoopie pies recipes that I have seen seems so different. Some are cakey while some are more biscuits-like. Some are light while some are buttery or creamy. Or some are as simple as being soft cookies sandwiches...

In fact, several magazines that I read say that some basic cake recipes in their tablespoonful sizes can be used to bake Whoopie pies. Interestingly, Jamie Oliver made his Whoopie pies by using the same cake batter from his chocolate boozy cake (the one that I baked for my Cook Like a Star event) and said that it works well for him.

Nevertheless, amongst all Whoopie pie recipes, I was deeply attracted to two specific recipes. One is classic Whoopie pies from a highly rated Whoopie pie specialised book, Whoopie Pies : Dozens of Mix 'em, Match 'em, Eat 'em Up Recipes by Sarah Billingsley and the second one is from from Food Network by Alex Guarnaschelli. After my serious consideration, a health-freak me have decided not to bake the first one because it uses vegetable shortening in both its pie rounds and fillings. Unlike most recipes, the second recipe doesn't use any marshmallow filling. Instead, this milk-based filling reminds me a lot of the pastry cream that I made for my classic fruit tart. This filling uses no butter or shortening and doesn't contain as much sugar as most typical marshmallow filling. Having more flour in this recipe, this almond infused filling is slightly thicker than the fruit tart one and hold its shape and both pie rounds very well.

To add a cheerful look to my whoopie pies, I have coloured my pie filling into rainbow colours. To be able to "feel-good" eating my pies, I have used natural colourings to create my rainbow colours - except blue because blue doesn't exist naturally - LOL!

I do feel-good baking and eating these rainbow Whoopie pies and I reckon the best thing of this bake is to see the "true colours" of my husband and son enjoying these pies. These pies have great cakey texture with nice chocolaty-brownie taste. Not too sweet and not too creamy, yet moist and satisfying with every single bite.

Now, I know why Whoopie pies is such a trendy thing to bake...

chocolate whoopie pies rainbow toasted almond cream
My Dark Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Rainbow Toasted Almond Cream
Here's my source of inspiration - a view from my kitchen window.
Making the chocolate rounds
Baking... It's like magic!
Making the almond infused filling
The filling absorbed the colour of the toasted almonds.
Colouring the filling
chocolate whoopie pies rainbow toasted almond cream
The ultimate finale - eating the pie with a drizzle of my chocolate sauce!
Here's the recipe from Food Network by Alex Guarnaschelli
(with my modification in blue)

Ingredients

The whoopie pies:
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped 
(I used cooking chocolate with 70% cocoa)
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips  
(I used chocolate chips with 45% cocoa)
1 stick (or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon (I chose not add this)
Zest from 1/2 lemon (I chose not add this)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Make the pies: In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the unsweetened chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and butter. Fill a pot (relatively the same size as the bowl) about 1/3 full with water and place it over medium heat. When the water simmers, place the bowl of chocolate and butter over the simmering water and lower the heat. You want to melt the chocolate and butter gently together, stirring and scraping the sides (to avoid scorching).

Preheat oven to 375 °F (or 180°C fan forced)

In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and lemon zest (I didn't add cinnamon and lemon zest). Set aside.

Separately, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

When the chocolate and butter is melted, remove the bowl from the heat; stir to assure it's completely mixed and transfer to another medium bowl. This will accelerate cooling. Allow the chocolate to cool a few minutes. Whisk in the egg mixture. Whisk in the flour mixture. Only whisk until blended, over-mixing can affect the texture of the pies.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray (alternatively, use a piece of fitted parchment sprayed with nonstick spray). Drop the batter in large spoonfuls (keeping the shapes as round as possible) on the baking sheet. You are aiming for rounds that are about 2 inches in diameter. Take care to leave some room (about 2 inches) between each one to allow for spreading that will occur as they bake.

Place the tray in the hot oven and bake for 6 to 8 min. Check the pies. Leave in the oven an additional min or two if they seem under baked. The dough will lose some of its shiney-ness and no longer look wet but will still feel soft. Remove the tray from the oven and allow them to cool for about 5 to 10 min before gingerly lifting them off the baking sheet and onto a flat surface

Note: Using 2/3 of the above recipe, I have baked 19 chocolate rounds at 180°C fan forced for 10 min and this amount is enough to yield 9 Whoopie pies. 

The filling:

1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
(I used flake almond, toasted at 170°C fan forced for 6-7 min)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1/2 tsp pure almond extract (I didn't use this)
1/2 cup melted chocolate, for drizzling or dunking, optional

Directions

Make the filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk to a simmer and add about 3/4 of the cup (I used all) of the toasted almonds. Reserve the remaining almonds. Shut off the heat and allow the almonds to "steep" in the milk, for 10 to 15 min. Strain the milk and pour it back into the same pan, discarding the almonds from the milk

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat together the sugar, flour, cornstarch and egg yolks until thick and smooth, 3 to 4 min.

Pour some of the hot milk mixture over the eggs and whisk to blend. Pour the egg mixture back into the milk; turn on a low to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 8 min. Stir in the almond extract (I didn't use this).

Continue to cook for an additional 1 to 2 min, stirring to make sure it doesn't cling to the bottom of the pan and burn, until very thick. Pour the cream into a clean bowl. Stir in the remaining almonds (I didn't do this to get a smoother consistency). Cover tightly with a layer of plastic so the cream doesn't form a skin. Allow to cool.

Assemble: "Sandwich" some of the cream in between two of the chocolate rounds. Drizzle with melted chocolate, if desired.

Note: Using 2/3 of the above recipe (without adding almonds into the cream), I have made enough filling to fill only 7 whoopie pies. To make rainbow, I have coloured the filling into six different colours, yellow, orange, pink, blue, green and purple. All the colourings except the blue colour that I used are from natural extract. The blue colourings that I used is a colouring gel from Wilton.

Last but not least, this is my final touch: drizzling my whoopie pies with my chocolate sauce.

Happy Baking

Here are our baking friends that have joined us for this bake-along. Please visit their blogs for more of their Whoopie Pies baking.


Please submit your details if you wish to link your post with this bake-along. This linking tool is open from 23 to 29 Aug 2012.

For our next bake-along, we are baking Everyday Yogurt Cake (Recipe: Cake Keeper Cakes, Pg 50 or here) which is to be posted on 12 Sep 2012. Please bake-along with us! All you need to do is to bake this cake and blog hop with us on this day or within the next 7 days.


To blog hop with us, simply copy and paste this linky HTML code into your blog post where you want the blog hop list to appear. Make sure you are in HTML view/mode when you paste in the code. get the InLinkz code

Before using this linky tool, please make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post. (2) Please mention Bake-Along in your post and link back to any of our hosts' Bake-Along post, (Joyce, Lena or Zoe). (3) Appreciate if you can display the Bake-Along badge in your post when linking up with us. Cheers!


There is 8 more days to go to cook like a MasterChef ! Anuja from Simple Baking and Baby Sumo from Eat Your Heart Out and I, Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids will be cooking and baking lots of Masterchef recipes for September 2012. Join us and be a MasterChef too at your kitchen! Simply cook or bake any recipe (from the contestants, judges or even sponsors) from any MasterChef websites or cookbooks (any countries) and blog hop with us for the whole month of September 2012.

60 comments:

  1. Zoe, I never tasted whoopie pie b4, just few days ago was thinking to bake some n try lol. Yours look really good, I love the rainbow filling.

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  2. These are so impressive! I love the different coloured centers!

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  3. These are so cute, we don't have that brand of food coloring here. I bought a whoopie pan ages ago and I have yet to break it in, this would be a good first try. Love the almond cream.
    -Gina-

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  4. I have never attempted cookies but boy your recipe and photos have certainly inspired me

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  5. These whoopie pies are the most gorgeous things ever! Love how you made rainbow coloured fillings, I bet they went with a click of a finger. :D Thanks for visiting my blog as well! Love the looks of yours! :)

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  6. Been wanting to bake these as I read so much about it but the lazy bone in me is acting up.

    Love those colours!

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  7. I have never eaten whoopie pies and yours look so delish!

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  8. Nice touch with the rainbow filling. Love these mini cake-cookie sandwiches. Again, thanx for suggesting something which we havent tried before.

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  9. Wow! Your whoopie pies are so colorful and pretty! Now I wish I did that drizzling design on mine too! looks so much nicer!

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  10. Hi Zoe..
    Its cute!!! my children must love it~~
    thx for sharing ur rainbow~~ ^^

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  11. Hi Zoe,
    Delicious rainbow! Looks wonderful! And there is a natural blue colouring, right from the flower itself, you may have forgotten it, our very own Bunga Telang!! Use for making Nyonya kuih? Aaah...now you remember!! :) Make sure you bring back some on your next trip to Singapore. I think that Australia is rather strict about food stuffs that you bring in?
    Which colour did your son choose, I'm sure that he got the first pick! Thanks for choosing this theme, we enjoyed Whoopie Pies a lot!! :)

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    1. Hi Joyce,

      Surely I remember the blue flower that we used to make Nonya Kuih but they are not available in Australia at all. Due to quarantine, we cannot bring any plants material into Australia too. So only can use Wilton blue colouring :(

      Zoe

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  12. Love the colors of your almond cream!

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  13. wow that's so colorful like macaroon! :D i love it!

    ---ohfishiee.blogspot.com

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  14. Hi Zoe, I love the colours of your pie. I have never seen natural colouring in Singapore, and would love to get some, much better than the Wilton type! An almond filling sounds very delicious with these pies.

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    1. Hi Mich,

      We can arrange to send you the colouring if you want. Alternatively, I can the colouring back to Singapore for you in Oct. Please email me if you want :D

      Zoe

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  15. Just looking at your whoopie pies can cheer any one up! Love the rainbow! I bet my kids will be fighting over their favourite colours if I made one of each, haha! Hope I can find time to join in as well.

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  16. WOW, they looks SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO darn cute :D

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  17. I can see how the rainbow brought inspiration to your baking. All the beautiful whoopies pies says it all. Great baking skills and thumbs up for that. Thanks for the infor on the blog hop. I will check on this when I get back home from our trip overseas.

    Thanks again for the friendship and take care.

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  18. These are stunning Zoe! I love rainbows. I know I shouldn't like brightly coloured foods but they are so fun! Like sprinkles :)

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  19. Oh these whoopie pies look so bright and so fun! Just amazing!

    Also I would like to thank you for such a great blog and pass the awards:)

    http://medejos.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/keksiukai-su-bananais-sokoladu-ir-zemes.html

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  20. Oh wow so colorful! I'm inspired to make them too after seeing your post and Mich's. I've also only eaten them once in Sg, and they tasted like moist choc cake to me.

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  21. Oh wow these whoopie pies aare perfection my friend :D
    They look delicious!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  22. I love your rainbow color whoopie pies! The colors are so inviting & appetizing. What an amazing filling with almond! AWESOME! :)

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  23. Zoe , these whoopie pies look wonderful ! Love the gorgeous colors of almond cream filling ! I'm planning to bake not the traditional one , if it is okay ?!

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    1. No worries, Anne! I think Whoopie pie is quite trendy creation and I don't see anything traditions in any Whoopie pies. I look forward to check out your "unique" kind of Whoopie pie :D

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  24. I love the almond cream! So beautiful Zoe!

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  25. hi zoe, i dont think i've seen those natural extracts for colouring. I also think your filling is kinda of special that no butter is used, i also hvnnt made almond cream like this. I'm sure this is very delicious. YOu know at first i thought you for some reason posted this today until i saw joyce posted hers too, i know i made a mistake on the date!

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  26. These are just gorgeous looking! They would be beautiful at a party.

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  27. These look AMAZING! I can't wait to make some, I'm actually so excited, like a small child haha!

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  28. I never heard of whoopie pie in my life, but glad that you introduce me to them. I'll bake some tomorrow just to know how it tastes. thanks for sharing :)

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  29. This are so vibrant! I've missed your blog but I'm back to my normal schedule (which allows time for reading blogs.) Aren't whoopie pies amazing?!

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  30. Your rainbow whoopie pies are spectacular! What lovely, intense color you got from natural food colorings...I love that! And your rainbow photo is phenomenal. Thanks for sharing it all, Zoe!

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  31. It is yummy and it is so colourful. I'm gonna miss baking whoopie pies...I shall resume my baking with you guys pretty soon.

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  32. i love ur whoopie pies, turn out so nice, mine was abit crack at the top .... duno why ....!! and i love ur Rainbow Toasted Almond Cream ... what an idea for the filing :)

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  33. Growing up in PA I didn't realize everyone didn't know about whoopie pies. I didn't realize they were a regional thing.

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  34. Gorgeous Zoe, both your rainbow filled whoopie pies and your pictures too. Love, love this recipe. I might join in your bake along, but don't know if I'd be late in entering.

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  35. If I ask Ethan to choose your whoopie pies, I know for sure that he will choose the blue one as for me, I would like the red please, haha!

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  36. I love whoopie pies. Not sure if my family feels the same. But too bad, I am going to make it anyway.. LOL. I am really excited about bake along and Cook Like a Masterchef! That's super fun. Will read up and find out more details as I really would love to join in the fun blog hop. Thanks for coming over too. I truly appreciate the support. Huggss, Jo

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  37. Brilliant...these rainbow whoopies look so cute!! I've never tried making them either but perhaps I'll give them a go!! It's interesting that there are so many different recipes out there!! :-)

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  38. I absolutely love the different colour frosting fillings. They look magnificent!

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  39. Dark Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Rainbow Toasted Almond Cream. That's a long name for a pie. lol But this would surely be a hit to kids. They will go crazy for it.
    truck sales

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  40. Nice rainbow photo! Truly so inspiring to look at!
    And my, your whoopie pies look gorgeous! Can you pretty please send me some?

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  41. i love the rainbow colors you used!! i have yet to make whoopie pies, but yours look and sound so delicious (just love that almond cream!), i'm now inspired to try. awesome job!

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  42. This is a whoopie indeed..Love the colors of the filling.

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  43. I've seen quite a few Whoopie Pies since moving to central Pennsylvania, Zoe but I must say, I have never seen such "exotic" looking Whoopie Pies around here. They are gorgeous and your inspiration quite beautiful too!!!

    Whoopie Pies are a Pennsylvania tradition which was started by the Amish who lived in Lancaster County. Amish Legend has it that when children would find these treats in their lunch bags, they would shout "Whoopie!"

    I can just imagine what they would say when they saw yours!!! Pumpkin Whoopie Pies are just beginning to show up at the road side stands and farmer's markets here.

    Thanks for sharing, Zoe...

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  44. I've never tried whoopie pies either, but now I see what I've been missing. These look amazing!

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  45. Thanks for picking whoopie pies for this week! I now know how whoopie pie tastes like (not one to purchase sweet treats). Love the rainbow fillings! And love it even more that it's natural colours. :)

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  46. Eileen, Hundred Eighty DegreesAugust 26, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    Wow, so colourful.

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  47. Hi Zoe! Gosh, I feel like I haven't been here is so long! We were on vacation and finishing up summer, so I took a break from the computer and it felt so good. Anyway, I love that you made whoopie pies! I made some back when I first started my blog and I loved them, but the filling wasn't perfect. I mean, we loved the pies and gobbled them up, but I wanted to re-create them with a different filling. Anyway, I got lazy and haven't gone back to that recipe. I'm not a fan of the fillings that use shortening either, yuck.

    I think I’m going to give your cookie recipe a try. I especially loved that you drizzled the tops with chocolate. Perfection!

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  48. Oh wow. I love all the colors. And the rainbow view from your kitchen? Spectacular.

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  49. Gosh, I haven't had a whoopie pie in years. So now that I'm seeing yours, of course I'm craving one. One - who am I fooling? Several! Really great looking whoopie pies, great recipe. Thanks for this.

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  50. I Like your blog, is very interesting, have a new follower!! ; )

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  51. I don't know about kids - I would like those whoopee pies for myself! A nice cup or coffee would be a lovely side. ;-)

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  52. This is absolutely lovely! How I wish I can make these! They are my favourite.

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  53. Hi Zoe,
    Thanks so much for sharing the difference about paprika back there.
    You are so creatives. These are such beautiful Rainbow Whoopie Pies.
    Love the natural colours. I have never seen natural colours being sell here.
    Almond cream filling, they must be lovely. i like almonds, does the milk have the aroma of the almond after you let the almond sleep in for 15 minutes?
    I love your blog a lot and would like to share an awards with you. Please collect from here.
    http://my123favourites.blogspot.com/2012/08/chocolate-ice-pop-award.html
    Cheers!!
    mui

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