Sunday, March 13, 2016

One Last Chance at Mint Madness

Full disclosure: I've never made whoopie pies before. I've never even eaten a whoopie pie before. Mostly because every time I hear someone say the words "whoopie pie," I think "whoopie cushion," and the last thing I want to be reminded of when I'm trying to eat dessert are fart noises...just kinda brings the mood down. But I don't know, maybe you're in to that sort of thing, you wonderful weirdo. But let's face it, my list of possible mint and chocolate coupled desserts is running pretty low considering the blogging madness that occurs here every March. I've already given you the Shamrock Shake formula, the solid Shamrock Shake in cupcakey form, Baileys mint cheesecakes, mint chip cookies, and one of my classic favorites: mint swirl brownies with mint buttercream frosting. So you see, I've exhausted all my possible avenues of mint and chocolate (there was some swirled fudge in there somewhere, but that was for Christmas, so it doesn't technically count). I knew this week would be my last possible chance to mix one of my all time favorite flavor combinations for the calendar year (I really like theme desserts, what can I say), so I had to go out with a bang. Or in this case, a whoopie cushion pie. Once my infantile giggling from using the word whoopie subsided, I then realized I also had one last chance to add Baileys to something without seeming like a total booze hound because hey, it's Saint Patrick's Day, and I'm told the Irish drink Baileys. See? Theme dessert to the rescue. And where there's a will there's a way. Or in this case, where there's a Kate, there's chocolate and Baileys.
Don't worry, this really is the last minty dessert for awhile, but isn't it adorrraabbblllle?
Ok...after making these, I have to say wow. Just wow. How can a cookie be so light? And yet so flavorful and the absolute perfect compliment to the caramel and mint buttercream filling? I can't believe I've never eaten these before just because the name gives me the giggles. It makes me wonder what other things I haven't tried because of the name. Dutch babies? Spotted dick? Spam?! Aside from desperately needing to immediately fire whoever named these things, they could all be delicious. I'm not hedging my bets with the Spam though. I also can't believe I never actually combined mint and caramel before. Sure mint goes great with chocolate (that's the reason we're here afterall), and we all know caramel and chocolate are like the ketchup and mustard of the dessert world. But could a sweetness trifecta be achievable? I'm happy to report complete victory with these whoopie pies (teehee).
Okay, so I mainly just tried the Salted Caramel Baileys because I didn't have enough regular Baileys, but happy accidents do occur.
I found a relatively simple base whoopie pie recipe here and adapted it to fit my Saint Patrick's Day needs. These are quick to throw together, even quicker to cook in the oven, and barely take any time to assemble. Yet they look so fancy and well put together! To make these Baileys Salted Caramel and mint whoopie pies, gather up:
  • 1 stick of room temp butter
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 room temp egg
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp of baking soda
  • 3/4 cup of buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup of Salted Caramel Baileys (mix this is with the buttermilk. Both should be near room temp)
Start by preheating the old oven to 350 and greasing a cookie sheet. Cream the sugar and butter together for 3-4 minutes until fluffy. While this is mixing, in a medium bowl blend the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda and set aside. Once the butter/sugar mix is done, add in the egg and vanilla extract and blend well. Scrape down the side of the mixing bowl and add a third of the dry mix and blend. Then add a third of the milk/Baileys mix and blend. Scrape the bowl and repeat this process two more times until the dry mix and Baileys mix is all used up and totally blended.
So, not really attractive at this point.
Take the batter and use a cookie scoop or tablespoon and plop 12 globs onto the greased cookie sheet. Things will be quite sticky and totally uneven, but that's okay, we're gonna fix it! Also, these really puff up (much like a whoopie cushion), so leave plenty of space between each mound. I sprayed my hands with Pam and then rolled my globs into pretty and even little mounds. You really shouldn't skip this step so that when you assemble them later things are nice and even. Let my OCD be your guide... Pop the tray into the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes. You want things soft and springy to the touch.
Whabam! Told you, they puff. Honestly, it really does look like a brown whoopie cushion, so I totally get the name now. Although they are originally from the Amish, and I doubt they had whoopie cushions, so who knows. It would be pretty damn funny if they did though, and you know it. They don't have the internet, so I assume that's one way to pass the time.
Give these just a minute on the cookie sheet before removing to a cooling rack. Spray the cookie sheet again and repeat the dough and cooking process for another 12 pies. If you have two cookie sheets, you can prepare them all at the same time, but do not bake at the same time. Overloading the oven is a good way to get unevenly cooked pies.
Yeah, I reupped my green dye stock.
While the pies (I hate calling them that..they're cookies, let's be real here. Whoopie cookie even rhymes, so this is a gross injustice in the naming system) are cooling, make the filling. Gather up:
  • 1 cup of room temp butter
  • 1/2 tsp of mint extract
  • 5 cups of powdered sugar
  • 4 TBS Salted Caramel Baileys
  • 12 drops of green food coloring
Cream the butter for a couple minutes before adding two cups of powdered sugar, the mint extract, and two tablespoons of Baileys. Blend well, scrape the bowl, and add two more cups of sugar and two more tablespoons of Baileys and blend. I like a stiffer piping consistency, so I added another cup of powdered sugar after this. Finish up by adding the green dye.
Then gather up two piping bags with tips of your choice and some green sprinkles if ya got 'em. I used a 1M tip and a 1A tip. You could also just spread the filling with a knife if you're not worried about precision, but this would haunt my dreams so don't tell me if you do.
Filling using the 1A tip.
Once the whoopie cookies are completely cooled, partner those babies up. Find mates that are relatively the same shape and size. This is where the dough rolling from earlier comes in handy--you will most likely have no trouble pairing these up since we made them uniform in shape (it pays to have debilitating mental issues sometimes).  Grab one of your pairs, and take one cookie. Start by piping filling in the center of the cookie and swirl around until you have filling covering the entire top of the cookie.
Hello, gorgeous.
Then take the other cookie and gently place on top of the filling. You could leave things be here, but if you have green sprinkles, dump a bunch in a bowl and immediately after assembling a whoopie pie, roll the edges in the sprinkles to get a snazzy effect:
Feel free to "ohh and ahh" at my decorating prowess.
 This recipe makes 12 whoopie pies total, so I did 6 more with the 1A tip and sprinkles.
As for the other six...
I used my 1M tip for the rest by starting with a glob of frosting in the middle of the bottom piece and swirling around outward. It does create a pretty rose that I hated having to cover up, but once assembled it looked really clean and precise with the swirled edge:
Like an ice cream sandwich minus the dripping.
And there you have it! A perfect treat for the big day Thursday. And BONUS! You'll probably have a half a cup or so of leftover filling. I put mine in an airtight container to save for later. I figured Baileys Salted Caramel and mint filling would go really well with the leftover Baileys hot fudge sauce from last week's cheesecake shooters. Eating them together might also help me realize I'm simply trading one vice for another...good thing we're getting near to Easter and the end of Lent, eh? But seriously, caramel and mint is one of those unexpectedly delicious treats like deep fried Twinkies or chocolate with bacon that sounds weird in theory but is delicious in practice. You get hit with caramel at first and end up with a cool mint aftertaste. And it's all served on a chocolate platform, so there's literally nothing to complain about with these whoopie pies other than their inappropriate name. I hope you all enjoy celebrating the Feast of Saint Patrick this week. Wear green, eat green, drink green, be green, and have fun. 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!
Seriously, if we can all agree to start calling these whoopie cookies that'd be great.

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