Written by Courteney
Yes, I gave in to the easy, juvenile joke for my title. But hey, can you blame me? It’s a great title for a post!
Today, I made my very first whoopie pie. A lot of you out there might be thinking, “What?? She has a blog exclusively devoted to whoopie pies, and she’s never made one before??” And you’d be correct – I never have. Thus far, my contribution has been three forms: (a) Eating whoopie pies, (b) Discussing whoopie pies, and (c) Telling people about whoopie pies. But today, all that has changed. I have made my first whoopie pies.
I’ve been meaning to learn to make a whoopie pie for a while, but the question was: which one? Something that was tasty but not too complicated, as it was my first attempt. A few weeks ago, one of my coworkers had walked past me eating peanut butter banana (yum!). It was a treat from when I was a kid, and also happened to be the only food I had left at my desk. She laughed when she saw me, and asked if I was trying weird food combinations again (she had seen me eating peanut butter on apple slices a few weeks earlier, as I had promised a few friends I would try it). When I expressed my confusion, peanut butter banana being such a normal snack, I discovered that she had never even heard of it before – and thought it sounded kind of gross! So in honour of my co-worker (and to prove to her what a delicious combination it is), I decided to make Peanut Butter Banana Whoopie Pies.
The recipe for the cookie portion is from Martha Stewart’s Banana Whoopie Pie recipe, but I’m not sure where the peanut butter filling is from – I just got it from this blog. I made a double-batch so there would be enough for my coworkers and Whoopie Pie testers, as well as a few extra for my family. But for the purposes of this entry, I’m going to write the actual amounts for one batch, to keep it simple.
I first combined 2 cups of flour with ½ tsp of baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, which I set aside (the dry ingredients). In a separate bowl, I mashed 1 cup of bananas (about 2 ripe bananas) and mixed it with 1 cup of sour cream. If the bananas look a little brown, it’s because I had put the three bananas I was saving for this in the fridge earlier in the week, as they were ripening too quickly. If you’ve ever put really ripe bananas into the fridge for a few days, you’ll know that their skin turns black, and the outer layer of the flesh also turns a little bit brown. But it’s still good, though! And it smelled soooooo good at this point – already!
In a third bowl, I mixed ½ cup of butter with ½ cup of granulated (white) sugar and ½ cup of packed brown sugar and mixed them with my electric hand mixer for a few minutes, until it was creamy and pale.
Next, I added 1 large egg and ½ tsp of vanilla extract, beating until they were incorporated. Then it was time to combine the bowls. I alternated beating in the dry mixture and the banana-sour cream mixture, making sure to start and end with the dry. Finally, I used my cookie scoop to scoop the batter onto my cookie sheets, about 1 inch apart, before popping them into my pre-heated oven (350F). There was some trial and error involved with these last two steps. I have a medium-sized cookie scoop, so I initially scooped heaping spoonfuls for the cookie. However, I quickly discovered that the batter spreads quite a bit, leaving me with monster-sized cookies, probably the size of the ones Colin is modeling in the last post. For the next round, I scaled down to a full-sized scoop’s worth, but that was pretty much the same size. I ended up doing a half-scoop, which seemed to make them a reasonable size. And then for fun, I did tiny 1/3-sized scoops for bite-sized treats.
The last item I had to play with was the baking time – this is something that can vary considerably with different bakers, simply due to different ovens. After baking them for the recommended 12 minutes, I found that they were still very soft (but delicious nonetheless – tasted like banana bread!). I ended up settling on about 20 minutes, but this isn’t unusual as my oven doesn’t seem to heat that well.
I don’t know where the peanut butter icing recipe came from, so I’m just going to credit the blog for it. This was AMAZING – reminded me of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup filling. And super-simple to make: just beat 1 cup of creamy peanut butter, ½ cup of butter, and 1 tsp of vanilla together, then slowly add icing sugar up to 2 cups, stopping when you achieve the desired consistency.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying too much attention and accidentally used my half-fat margarine instead of butter. I discovered this back when I was learning to make a red velvet cake, but half-fat margarine ≠ butter. Especially when it comes to icing. It has to do with the chemical bonds, but basically, half-fat margarine uses single bonds instead of double-bonds, which makes it much softer and, consequently, much more runny. So my icing turned out a little soft and not as structured as I would have wanted, but overall, it’s not too bad. In my defense, I was listening to the last period of the Vancouver Canucks vs. Columbus Blue Jackets game while I was doing this. (Final score: VAN-4, CBJ-1, in case you’re curious)
To assemble the pies, I did was spoon the peanut butter filling into a plastic bag, twirl up the open end, and snip off a small corner: instant piping bag! I piped a circle of the peanut butter filling onto the flat bottom of one cookie, then topped it with another (flat bottoms in) and voila! – Peanut Butter Banana Whoopie Pies!
Overall, I enjoyed making the whoopie pies. The recipe was really simple, especially with the proportions of ingredients being equal, I pretty much only needed my ½ cup measuring cup and my ½ tsp measuring spoon (with a few notable exceptions)! This meant that I didn’t have to worry too much about forgetting a measurement, although I could always go back to my recipe to check. Unfortunately, the cookie recipe does tend to spread quite a bit, so I probably need to invest in a smaller sized cookie scoop to make them again – doing the half-scoop meant that my cookies were not always the same size and not always perfectly circular. I probably also need to work on my piping skills and presentation, as evidenced by the first photo in this blog 😉 Overall, though, I loved the icing, and the cookie had a really strong banana taste so it didn’t get lost with the icing.
PS For those of you who noticed my banana number discrepancy (2 used, 3 refrigerated), I had one extra banana left over, so I made chocolate chip banana muffins. Yum!
I still can’t quite believe that Courteney used low-fat margerine again (in both the pies and the filling!)… butter is the only way in baking in my books! Her argument was that they tasted fine but we don’t know how good they could have been! They still were quite tasty though!