Last week my Internet service was down for about 8
After I calmed down enough to be semi-rational, I took a breath, went outside, and read a book for 2 hours straight. (Something that I usually reserve for my bedtime ritual...it rarely lasts longer than 30 minutes.) It was surprisingly enjoyable, and relaxing, and rejuvenating.
Aside from the quality time spent reading, I was also able to organize the gazillion recipes that I had printed, and scribbled out on errant pieces of paper. Never mind the hundreds that are chaotically bookmarked. (I think my Pinterest boards need super-subcategories of subcategories.)
I placed these on the top of my to-bake list, because everyone needs some whoopie pie in their lives now that then. Also, I was craving something that combined the richness of chocolate with the freshness of fresh mint. O_o
What I adore about whoopie pies, aside from the name, is their cakey texture. Most of the time, I don't like cakey cookies, but whoopies manage to pull it off beautifully.
These little gems taste like rich brownie bites. In fact, the first "baking-time test batch," was incredibly gooey and fudgy. Unfortunately, their tender little bellies didn't hold up to well when the filling was added, so I had to increase the baking time. Still delicious though!
The filling is made with fresh mint, but if you don't have access to any, you can use a 1/8 teaspoon of pure mint extract. (Be very careful with any kind of mint extract, a little bit of the stuff goes a long, long, loong way. You don't want the filling to taste like toothpaste.)
If you are so inclined, I think these cookies would be excellent broken up into some plain vanilla ice cream. Kind of an homage to Ben and Jerry's mint chocolate cookie ice cream!
Now that my recipes are organized, and I finally finished reading The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, (Loved it!), maybe I'll be able to tackle organizing my closet...something that frightens me even more than being disconnected.
Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Fresh Mint Buttercream
makes 14-18 sandwich cookies
for the cookies
6 oz dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (that's 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 8 pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
1/2 teaspoon baking Powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 room temp. eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the filling
Fresh mint leaves (I just gabbed a handful from the garden. About 20 medium-large leaves)
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup (that's 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups confectioners' sugar (have an extra 1/2 cup on hand, just in case.)
1/2 Tablespoon of cream
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Make a double boiler: Place the chopped chocolate and butter into a large heat-proof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the simmering water). Stirring occasionally, melt the chocolate and butter together until smooth. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and set it aside to cool for about 15 minutes. (You want to to be cool enough so that it won't curdle the eggs when they're added.)
In a separate, large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; Set aside.
Once the chocolate and butter mixture have cooled off slightly, whisk in the sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients, and using a large rubber spatula, fold them into the wet until all the streaks of white flour have disappeared. Try not to over-mix.
[Note: My batter was a bit on the runny side so I covered it and placed in the the fridge for about 30 minutes.]
Measure out a heaping Tablespoon of batter per cookie. Place on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 1-inch of space between each cookie. [Note: Because I'm neurotic about making things uniform, I pipped the batter out using a large, plain, round frosting tip. This helped make the cookies more or less the same size. However, it took long and left a fabulous mess to clean up...both methods have their pros and cons.]
Bake the cookies for 6-8 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Remove the pans from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Cool completely before adding the filling.
Prepare the filling: Place the mint leaves and granulated sugar in the bowl of a food processor (or a mini-food prep.). Pulse several times until the sugar and mint are fragrant and have the texture of fine, moist sand. Place the sugar mint mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or any large mixing bowl if you're using a hand-held). Add the butter and salt and beat on medium-high speed until creamy. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, beating well after each addition. Once 3 cups of confectioners' sugar have been added, beat for about 1 continuous minute. If the filling looks too thick to spread, add the cream. If it looks too soft, add a little bit of the spare 1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar. (The filling should have the consistency of frosting.)
Pipe or spread the filling onto half of the cooled cookies and top with the remaining halves.