Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling

In my attempt to cull down my constantly growing collection of cookbooks, I set a rule for myself.  If I haven’t made anything from the cookbook in at least a year, it’s time to consider moving it off my shelf.  And having a full cookbook devoted solely to whoopie pies seemed a bit decadent, so it was time to do some intensive whoopie research.  For those unfamiliar with whoopie pies, they’re cookie shaped cake disks with a creamy filling sandwiched between.  Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling seemed like a safe bet to start out with since red velvet cake is generally delicious.  Turns out these little handheld cake-cookie treats are just as good as, if not better than, the cake or cupcake version.

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Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling

Makes 48 whoopie pies
(from Whoopie Pies: Dozens of Mix ’em, Match ’em, Eat ’em Up Recipes)

Ingredients

Whoopie

2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 ounce (one small bottle) red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk

Cream Cheese Filling

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Whoopies

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium size bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter, shortening, sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy and smooth (approximately 5 minutes).
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each is well combined before the next addition.
  6. Add the vanilla and food coloring, and mix until well combined.
  7. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk to the wet ingredients, and beat until incorporated (don’t overmix).  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  8. Add the remaining flour and buttermilk, and mix until everything is well incorporated.
  9. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, drop 1 tablespoon of batter onto the prepared cookie sheets, spacing the whoopies about 2 inches apart.
  10. Bake one sheet at a time for approximately 8-10 minutes.  The whoopies are done when they spring back when pressed gently.
  11. Remove from oven and let the whoopies cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes.  Then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Filling

  1. In a stand mixer on medium speed, beat together the cream cheese and butter until well combined.
  2. Add the sugar, and beat on low speed until combined.
  3. Add the vanilla, and beat on medium speed until creamy and smooth (approximately 4 minutes).

Assembling the Whoopie Pie

  1. When the whoopies have fully cooled, using an offset spatula, spread a thick layer of filling on the bottom side of a whoopie.
  2. Place a matching sized whoopie over the filling (to create a sandwich), and press together lightly.
  3. Store the whoopie pies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Make sure to store the whoopie pies separated by parchment paper as they’ll stick together if stacked directly on each other.

 

Double Chocolate Cream Cheese Fudge Brownies

You should avert your eyes right now if you’re weak of heart, because these Heath Chocolate Cream Cheese Fudge Brownies may just make you swoon.  These thick, fudgy dark chocolate brownies are swirled with a tangy, smooth cream cheese sprinkled with toffee bits.  While the amount of butter and sugar needed for this recipe may make you gasp, rest (a little bit) assured that the recipe makes a lot of brownies (and you should share them because you don’t need to be eating 3 sticks of butter).

This recipe will take a little bit of extra time to make because you have to make two different batters, but don’t be intimidated by the swirling/mixing of the batters.  Make sure not to overbake the brownies so they stay moist and fudgy.

Dolloping the toffee cream cheese batter on top of the brownie batter.
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The toffee cream cheese has been successfully swirled into the brownie batter.  IMG_6272[1]

Perfectly baked!
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These brownies taste as good as they look. IMG_6277[1]

Double Chocolate Cream Cheese Fudge Brownies

Makes 2 dozen square brownies
(from Abigail Johnson Dodge’s The Everyday Baker: Recipes & Techniques for Foolproof Baking)
My notes are in [  ] below.

Ingredients

Cream Cheese Swirl

8 ounces (277 g) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces/50g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons unbleached all purpose flour
1 yolk from a large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup (2 ounces/57g) finely chopped bittersweet chocolate or mini chips [I used Heath toffee chips]

Brownies

Nonstick cooking spray or softened butter, for preparing the pan
24 tablespoons (12 ounces/340g) unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
1 1/4 cups (3 3/4 oz/106g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
2 cups (14 ounces/397g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz/149g) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups (7 1/2 ounces/213g) unbleached all purpose flour

Directions

Cream Cheese Swirl

  1. Put the cream cheese, sugar, and flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using and electric handheld mixer fitted with wire beaters), and beat on medium speed until creamy and no lumps remain, about 2 minutes
  2. Add the yolk and vanilla, and beat on medium until blended, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the mini chips [I used Heath toffee chips], and beat on low speed just until blended.

Brownies

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 325F.
  2. Line the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan (straight-sided kind) with foil [I like to use heavy duty foil] leaving about a 2-inch overhang on the short sides.  Lightly grease the foil [or spray with baking spray].
  3. Put the butter in a large saucepan, and set over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it is melted, about 2 minutes.
  4. Slide the pan off the heat.  Add cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and salt, and whisk until blended and no lumps of brown sugar remain.  Using your fingertip, check the temperature of the batter- it should be warm but not hot.  If it’s hot, set the pan aside for a minute or two before continuing with the recipe.
  6. Add the eggs, two at a time, whisking until just blended.
  7. Add the vanilla with the final egg addition.
  8. Add the flour, and stir with a silicone spatula until just blended.
  9. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and, using a small offset spatula, spread evenly.
  10. Drop the cream cheese mixture in medium-sized dollops evenly spaced over the batter.  [I like to use a tablespoon scooper].  You should have a total of 12.
  11. Use the tip of the offset spatula, swirl the batters together, leaving large streaks of cream cheese.
  12. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownie batter comes out with only small bits of brownie sticking to it, 40-46 minutes.  [Make sure not to overbake so that the brownies say moist and fudgy.]
  13. Move the pan to a rack and let cool completely, about 3 hours.
  14. When the brownie is completely cool, use the foil edges on the short sides of the pan to lift it from the pan and place it on a large cutting board.  Run a long think knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut into 24 squares, heating and wiping the knife after every cut.  [Since these brownies are so dense and rich, I like to cut slightly smaller squares to make 32 total squares.  I serve them in cupcake liners.]

Note: The baked, cooled, and cut brownies can be layered between sheets of parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container and stowed at room temperature for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.