Well, well. Here it is, Sunday night and whoopie pies have been made. Only half of one is still surviving. I didn’t end up making the cookies today but last night, because I learned some wonderful news, spectacular news in fact. This news caused me to occupy my day not with whoopie pies but by consuming a lunch that was out of this world!
Last night I was informed that as long as my father couldn’t find someone else to take to a luncheon to support cancer research I could be his date to go. I had been angling to do so ever since he brought back the menu from last year’s event. This event, which has gone on successfully for the last three years, features a meal made by two great chefs, the first being Arturo Montes, who is the Executive Chef at The Looking Glass Restaurant in Bar Harbor, and the other Executive Chef being Johnathan Cartwright of the White Barn Inn in Kennebunk. Now, Montes is good, but Cartwright is world renowned. He has cooked at the James Beard house and the Versailles palace in France. The White Barn Inn is one of only twelve restaurants in the United states to have recieved the 5-star rating from Forbes Travel Guide at the same time as the AAA’s 5-diamond award. In short, he’s pretty amazing. Probably the best part of the lunch though was getting to meet him. He is extremely nice and told me that if I ever want to I could call him and ask to work in his kitchen! When I seemed hesitant about going into the restaurant field, he told me that the pay may not be great, but you sure do get to eat a lot of good food. That is a pretty big draw…
Below is the menu for the luncheon:
Now, onto the whoopie pies. Yes, if I was making whoopie pies for myself I would have done something less traditional, like coconut or banana, and filled them with things like swiss buttercream, but this was for my nine year old cousin. So, they were chocolate, with fluffy, sugary, vanilla filling, which is still pretty great.
The cakes themselves were the best part, they held together fairly well even after 24 hours in the freezer. I think the real kicker in the batter was the sweet rice flour, which is a good binder but something I hadn’t used before. It took us a while to find but here it is:
Now, the filling on the other hand was not so great, or at least with my recipe that I used from the website epicurious. (I didn’t include it because it was such a dud.) After having thrown everything into the mixer and blended and blended, it was syrupy and really sugary. So, I threw in a bunch more confectioners sugar, and when that didn’t work I just folded in the rest of the marshmallow creme I had made. It wasn’t that bad then. Truthfully, I would say that you should use some other recipe for this, or maybe the buttercream posted below to fill the whoopie pies. The marshmallow creme recipe is also below for those who would prefer to make their own fluff or for those in other parts of the country for whom it isn’t readily available.
1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (regular cocoa powder works as well but the finished cakes won’t be as dark.)
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until the butter-sugar paste lightens slightly. This takes about 1 minute. (Use medium high speed on a stand mixer or high speed on a handheld mixer.)
- Add egg and vanilla extract. Mix for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add half the dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
- Add half the buttermilk. Mix until batter is smooth. Add remaining dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Add remaining buttermilk. Mix batter for 30 seconds.
- Scoop 1/4 cup mounds of batter onto a cookie sheet. Be sure to space batter several inches apart as the cookies will spread during baking. (I bake 6 cookies on an 18 x 13 cookie sheet.)
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until cookies are set and spring back to the touch.
- Remove pan from the oven. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for a minute. Transfer warm cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.
- As cookies cool, make the filling. (recipe below)
- Sandwich cooled cookies together with icing.
Makes 8 large whoopie pies (I made 15 half-size whoopie pies, thus reducing the baking time to 8 or 9 minutes)
Here is the recipe for marshmallow creme, from eHow
3 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract(I used less, would say 1/2 teaspoon is probably better)
1. Put the egg whites and cream of tartar into a large mixing bowl. Attach the whisk beater to your electric mixer. Beat until frothy. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the mixture while continuing to beat until soft peaks form.
2. Combine water, corn syrup and 2/3 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Turn heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the sugar mixture reaches the firm-ball stage. Use your candy thermometer to test the temperature; at the firm-ball stage it will be between 245 and 250 degrees F. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
3. Turn on the mixer and start beating the egg white mixture at low speed while slowly drizzling in the hot sugar syrup. After all the syrup has been added, turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating for another minute or two, until the mixture reaches your preferred consistency.
This is a very good buttercream frosting, from The New Best Recipe cookbook:
Rich Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Makes about 4 cups.
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool, each stick cut into quarters
1. Combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer; place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. (Do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.) Whisking gently but constantly, heat the mixture until it is thin and foamy and reisters 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
2. Beat the egg mixture at medium-high speed until light, airy, and cooled to room-temperature, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, one piece at a time. (After adding half the butter, the buttercream may look curdled; it will smooth out with additional butter.) Once all the butter is added, increase the speed to high and beat one minute, until light, fluffy, and thoroughly combined. (The buttercream can be covered and refrigerated up to five days.)