Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

(Adapted from Baked Explorations, Recipe featured in Food and Travel, November 2010 Edition)

Makes 34

* Chocolate Whoopie Pies
* Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream Filling

* 490 g (3½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
* ¼ teaspoon salt
* 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
* 1¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of (baking) soda
* 90 g (¾ cup + 3 tablespoons) dark unsweetened cocoa powder
* 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
* 110 ml (4 ounces) hot coffee
* 110 ml (4 ounces) hot water
* 350 g (1¼ cups + 2 tablespoons) firmly packed light brown sugar
* 170 ml (6 ounces) rapeseed (canola) oil (can be substituted with vegetable oil)
* 1 large egg, room temperature
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 110 ml (4 ounces) buttermilk, room temperature, shaken

1. Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F). Line 2 baking sheets with non-stick baking paper or silicone baking mats, set aside.
2. Using a fine mesh sieve, into a large bowl, sift the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Using a whisk, whisk to combine well, set aside.
3. In another large bowl, whisk together the cocoa and espresso powder until well combined.
4. Add the hot coffee and the hot water to the cocoa mixture and whisk until both powders are completely dissolved.
5. In another bowl, stir together the brown sugar and oil until well combined and then add it to the cocoa mixture; whisk until well combined.
6. Add the egg, vanilla and buttermilk to the cocoa mixture and then whisk until smooth.
7. Using a large spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the cocoa mixture, scraping the sides and the bottom of the bowl as you fold.
8. Use a one tablespoon-capacity ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to drop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets about 2.5 cm (1-inch) apart.
9. Bake, rotating baking sheet halfway through, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top. A cake tester inserted into the centre of the cookie should come out clean.
10. Let the cookies cool completely on the sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream Filling

* 5 large egg whites
* 300 g (1½ cups) caster (superfine granules) sugar
* 440 g (1 pound or 4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm cubes, cool but not cold
* ¼ teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* gel paste food colouring, optional

1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whisk the egg whites and sugar together.
2. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water but do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl.
3. Heat and continuously whisk the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and the colour of the mixture is milky white, about 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Remove the bowl from the heat and attach to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg mixture on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy.
5. Replace the whisk attachment with the paddle attachment, gradually add the cubed butter and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy (If the buttercream looks like it is splitting, don’t worry, it will eventually come together).
6. Add the salt and vanilla and beat for 5 seconds to combine.
7. Colour the filling by mixing in (at medium speed) the food colouring, 1 drop at a time, until the desired colour is reached.

Assembling Chocolate Whoopie Pies

1. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper and set aside.
2. Transfer the Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream Filling to a large pastry bag fitted with a Wilton 1M pastry tip.
3. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies.
4. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down very gently.
5. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.
6. Chill for about 30 minutes to firm up before serving.