Although things vary depending on the country, school and program, there are two major hurdles during a science PhD: the comprehensive exam and the thesis defense. The exam (usually just referred to as the ‘comps’) is usually within the first couple years of a PhD while the thesis defense essentially marks the completion of the degree. This past week, Courteney (the long-lost-partner of Let’s Make Whoopie blog) completed her comps and ended the what-seemed-like-endless studying that she had been so focused on for the past 4-5 weeks.
It seems there are two groups of people: those that become so engrossed and focused on studying and the fear of failing that they cannot fathom discussing anything else or planning any activity during the entire study time and those that need to plan other activities to keep sane in an otherwise bleak time! I have never done a PhD but I can only assume I would be the latter. Although I did well in school, I never liked studying and needed to take mental breaks. Either way, I always look forward to when my friends/co-workers finish their comps. And although I am sure the ‘examinee’ is happy just because it is over and they passed and they can move on, I am happy to no longer have to hear about the all-important-mind-consuming exam and to have a normal conversation with the person again!
Anyways, with all of that said, these Whoopie Pies are a congratulatory treat for Courteney! Good Job! (I had meant to actually have these done for her right after the exam but I got sick… and so they provided a nice treat to go with our standard Friday morning coffee the next day!) The flavour is not meant to reflect Courteney in any way! Although it does beg the question of “if Courteney were a Whoopie Pie flavour, which would she be??”
The cakes are pretty good. Moist and tasty. The filling is on the lighter tasting side because of the whipped cream. The ganache filling adds a little richness that enhances every bite!
Marbled Whoopie Pies
(adapted from Whoopie Pies) Makes 12 filled Whoopie Pies
- 1 3/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- 2 Tb cocoa
- Preheat oven to 350° and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Beat butter and sugar together well until fluffy and light (3-4 minutes). Beat in the egg and vanilla.
- Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Remove 1-2 Tb of it and reserve. Add to the butter mixture alternatively with the buttermilk.
- Remove half of the batter and add the reserved flour to it. To the other half, add the cocoa and espresso powder.
- Put both batters back in the same bowl and swirl. DO NOT OVERMIX! You want them to look marbled!
- Scoop/spoon or pipe the batter onto the prepared sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes or until they bounce back when slightly pressed (your finger indent should spring right back up!) Cool 3-4 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Mocha Chocolate Ganache
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1 tsp espresso powder (or more! you can’t really taste 1 tsp)
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips
- Place chocolate chips in a small bowl.
- Warm the whipping cream in a small saucepan. Once it is slightly warm, add the espresso powder and stir to help it dissolve. Heat until small bubbles form but it does not boil.
- Pour over the chocolate chips. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes and then stir for a few minutes until it becomes smooth.
- Allow to cool until it becomes thick (it takes longer than you expect! Put it in the fridge/freezer to speed it along!)
- 3/4 cup cold whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 Tb icing sugar
- Beat whipping until soft peaks form.
- Add vanilla and sugar and beat until stiff peaks (don’t make it into butter though!)
First match up your Whoopie pies by finding ones that are equally sized & shaped. Spread ganache on the Whoopie that will be the BOTTOM of your Whoopie Pie. Then top with 1-2 Tb of Whipped Cream. Press together lightly and refrigerate. Eat directly from the fridge.
I learned something new recently. There are people in the world that really don’t like chocolate and peanut butter together. I can understand that some people don’t like peanut butter and maybe some don’t like chocolate, but for those people that like both and don’t like them together… I am completely stumped! It just makes no sense to me! The good news is, those of us that LOVE the combination far overpower those that hate the flavours together! So I will continue to use the two flavours frequently in baking!
These Whoopie Pies were made for no real reason besides to use up some filling that I had made to fill a wedding cake. Without knowing exactly how much filling I needed for the cake, I totally overdid it and doubled the recipe and had WAAAY too much filling. It was kind of good though because these Whoopie Pies were a HUGE hit and it was mostly because of the filling (although the ‘vessels’ to carry the filling were also amazing!).
Just to warn you, the filling was a bit of a pain to make (I was sort of glad I didn’t have to make it twice to enjoy it twice!). Ok, it is a total pain to make. Especially if you accidentally hit the candy thermometer, sending it flying across the room, splattering sugar syrup that is thick and sticky and 240°F on your arm. Painful. It blistered in fact – almost immediately. It was only 1 bigger (maybe 1/3 the size of a dime) and two tiny spots but it HURT! So yes, the filling can be a pain to make. It also requires 4 bowls/pots. This is also a pain. BUT it is delicious. Truly it is! Once in awhile it is worth it to make something this good!
These Whoopie Pies were great. I used a different Whoopie Pie recipe than I did for the Peanut Butter and Honey Whoopie Pies and these ones are far superior! They are fluffy and soft and flavourful!
I love the chocolate outside with the peanut butter filling (or the vegan version) so figured it was time to reverse the combination! They are like a peanut butter cup inside out: chocolate on the inside, peanut butter on the outside. Delicious!
Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies (from Whoopies!)
makes about 17 filled
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 5 Tb peanut butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- 2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 375°F and line a couple baking sheets with parchment.
- Beat together butter, sugar and peanut butter until light and fluffy (a few minutes). Beat in egg and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
- Alternate between adding the dry or buttermilk to the butter mix, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the buttermilk in two.
- Scoop/spoon 1.4 Tb batter onto the baking sheets leaving space between them for spreading.
- Bake 10-12 minutes or until the whoopies spring back when lightly pressed (they shouldn’t still have a finger mark!)
- Allow to cool on the baking sheet 2-3 minutes and then transfer to cooling racks.
Chocolate Mousse Filling
This recipe comes from here and is delicious but I warn you that it does require some work!
- 12 oz. dark (bittersweet or semisweet) chocolate, chopped
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 Tablespoons water
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- Melt chocolate and butter in a large bowl in the microwave on medium heat until smooth. Set aside to cool.
- In a small saucepan, add sugar and water and heat on low until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium and boil syrup without stirring until 240°F (use a candy thermometer).
- With an mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks are formed. Very slowly add the hot syrup to the egg whites with the beater still on. Beat until medium stiff peaks form (~3min).
- Fold 1/3 egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold in another 1/3, and then finally the remaining egg whites.
- In yet another bowl (I warned you that this is annoying to make). beat together the whipping cream and the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold into the chocolate mixture.
- Cover and refrigerate about 4 hours.
Assemble by filling two equally sized & shaped Whoopie Pies with 1.5-2Tb filling (generally I use as much or a little more filling as used for the batter of each side of the Whoopie). Press together and refrigerate. Eat from the fridge as the filling gets soft.