The first holiday themed food of the season. Oh boy. (I mean "whoopie.")
And speaking of oh boy, oh boy do I have lots of holiday plans for these little cookies. Of course, you can make the filling any color you wish (we did orange). Or you can coat it in colored sugar or sprinkles or crushed peppermint or crushed nuts, or gold or pretty much any good thing you can smash. Or you can build your ginger bread house out of this stuff. Ha ha. No you can't. First off it's too tender; secondly, you'd eat it all mid-construction. But you can mess with the flavorings of the filling--add a Tbsp cocoa to make it chocolate, or change the vanilla out for almond or mint. Heck you could sub out the vanilla in the actual cookie with mint or almond as well. Endless possibility. I like that in a cookie. Especially a cookie as fine as this.
I first had these on my road trip home from visiting one sister, while stopping at the other sister's house for a break and a much shorter visit. My sisters always feed me well. We'd been driving for 6 hours and we walked into Katie's house right at dinner time. The house was warm and lighted and dinner was being set on the table. If you've never had the experience of being tired and travel worn and walking into a house with loving people, especially loving people who have dinner ready--well, it's almost worth making yourself tired and travel worn, just to give it a try. So we had a great dinner. And then we had a smorgasbord of cookies because my brother-in-law Travis had had a work party and brought home some of the bootie. These cookies which Katie, who is a beyond-marvelous baker, had made herself were, by far and away the best. The were so good, in fact, that I ate myself to the point of feeling a little yuck, which is something I almost never ever do. But I couldn't stop.
Which is why it was so prudent for me to take these to a party tonight.
Make these. They look fussier than they are. Katie tells me they actually have a cake box cheater counterpart that is good as well. Maybe I'll give it to you sometime, but maybe not. I don't like to mess with perfection.
Katie's Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (aka Whoopie Pies)
Makes 2-3 dozen
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 7-8 minutes per batch
Assembly time: 5-10 minutes
(See less fussy than you'd think)
(butter: 1.00, sugars: .45, eggs: .20, cream cheese: .25--usually more, but mine was on sale, cocoa: .40, flour: .20)
1 C (2 sticks) butter
2/3 C sugar
2/3 C brown sugar (packed)
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 C flour
2/3 C cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (reduce to 1/4 tsp if using salted butter)
[Note: I was surprised the filling had cream cheese in it and even called my sister to make sure that's what she'd served me. My point is that even if you don't like cream cheese frosting, the cream cheese taste is very muted here and you probably won't even notice it.)
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 C (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
food coloring, if desired
Preheat oven to 325. Mix butter (I get mine so soft, it's nearly melted), sugars, and vanilla. Add eggs. Mix in dry ingredients.
Roll into balls on a cookie sheet. Note: If you've nearly melted your butter, like me, you'll need a quick hand in rolling or a stint in the fridge (the dough, not you) for the dough so it can firm up a bit.
Since you'll be doubling these up into little cookie sandwiches, I recommend rolling them small (you don't have to, but they are pretty rich). I used a heaping teaspoon of dough and rolled that into balls.
Bake for 7-8 minutes or until they are done (ha ha, don't you like instructions like that with a brown cookie). They are done when they've lost a bit of their sheen. You'll notice if you check them at 5 or 6 minutes that they're flat, but a little shiny still. Give them another minute or two and you'll notice they're not as shiny. Take them out here. We're not going for brickdom here, but a cookie that is too underdone will be harder to sandwich.
Allow to cool completely. Yes, completely. Don't cheat. Your filling will melt and run off. If you're going to be neglecting them for a while before filling, loosen them from the pan before you head off to run errands or plant irises. Otherwise, they might get a little stuck to the pan and we want them pretty.
(See how small they are.)
While they're cooling, whip up your filling. Beat the cream cheese and butter (again, very very soft) until creamy. Add a drop of vanilla. Add powdered sugar. Add food coloring if using. Beat it all till it's smooth and lovely.
When your cookies are cool, flip them over so the flat side is going to get the filling. You can pipe or plop the filling with a spoon It'll look like a little bit of orange doo doo.
Then put another cookie (flat side touching filling) on top. The weight of the cookie will likely smash down the filling, but if not, give it a gentle press.
My filling was quite soft (due to my tendency to super soften butter), so I threw mine in the fridge for a couple hours to firm up (if you don't have time for that, don't let your butter get super soft). This also allows you to hide them from yourself so they actually make it to the party. Good luck, stalwart friend. But do have just one because once they make it to the party, you might not get one. And then you'd have to make another batch. And then you'd have to lie and tell your husband the kids ate all of that one. And then he'd want you to make another batch. And you see the vicious cycle that could be avoided by eating just one little cookie right now. Indeed, you're doing the world and your figure a favor. (But then seriously, stick them in the fridge. Or you'll have to lie and tell the hostess that your husband ate all of them. And there you go again.)