The recipe was simple enough, and it didn't take long to bake up the pies. I can see why, though, the photographer didn't shoot this recipe for the well-illustrated little book. I can also see why people like those uni-tasker whoopie pie pans — these little cookies are not particularly good-looking! Mine didn't spread out into smooth-topped mounds. They were decidedly lumpy. Now, I didn't use parchment paper (I was out of it) so that may have something to do with this as well.
Making whoopie pies is a project: Even thought the components are easy enough, it does take time to bake, mix, and assemble these. It is a great little afternoon project, though, and the results were fantastic. The final cookie was cakey, and tender. The batter had a distinctly bean-y taste from the GF flour, but this dissipated after baking. Biting into one of these little cakes is like biting into a cloud of gently-flavored chocolate and a puff of sweet marshmallow. They were greeted with glad cries and gone by the end of the night.
Here's the recipe; give them a try, and see my more detailed testing notes (and book notes) below.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Whoopie
2 1/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum (such as Bob’s Red Mill)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and xantham gum.
In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening, and both sugars until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk to the batter and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining flour mixture and 1/2 cup milk and beat until thoroughly combined.
Using a spoon, drop about 1 tablespoon of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 12 minutes each or until the cakes begin to brown. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
Note: Xantham gum is the secret weapon that mimics the properties of gluten and keeps these whoopies from spreading into a big mess while they bake.
1 1/2 cups Marshmallow Fluff (or other prepared marshmallow cream, which will do in a pinch)
1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the Marshmallow Fluff and the vegetable shortening, starting on low and increasing to medium speed until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes more.
(Recipe reprinted with permission from Chronicle Books. Images: Faith Durand)