Happy Valentine's Day! If you don't already have a dessert planned for tonight or if you are looking for a fun project for today, give these a try! I know a lot of people don't like Valentine's Day, but I've always thought it was fun. Just some extra time I get to spend with my hubby :-) He was actually able to come home from his rotation this weekend, so we've got plans to try out a new Indian restaurant tonight. I've been wanting to go to this place forever, so I'm pretty excited. Curry here I come!
I saw these a couple days ago on Annie's Eats and knew immediately that I wanted to make them. Over the last few months, I've been eyeing several whoopie pie recipes, and I have to say these might be one of the cutest desserts I've ever seen. Props to Annie for coming up with the idea to make them in the shape of a heart!
I don't actually own pastry bags, but in the past, I've found that a ziploc bag with a corner snipped off often works just as well for these type of projects. You won't make any roses with a ziploc bag, but when you are just using it for the squeeze effect, it gets the job done. Plus easy clean up. Enough said.
The only problem I ran into making these was the frosting. In an attempt to make them a little healthier, I had planned on using Neufchatel cheese for the frosting. Well, when we went to the store, they were out, so I tried using fat-free cream cheese instead. Not a good idea. What I ended up with was runny frosting. Runny frosting that even more powdered sugar wasn't fixing. It did eventually set-up, but the cookies didn't nearly have as much frosting between them as I would have liked. I don't know if the Neufchatel cheese would have worked or not, but next time, I'm going bite the bullet and get the real cream cheese. It's dessert anyway.
Despite the runny frosting, the whoopie pies were still really good! Enjoy the day and make sure to let all your friends and family know they are loved!
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
Adapted from Annie's Eats
For the cookies:
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. buttermilk, at room temperature
red food coloring
For the frosting:
1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2-1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Using a heart template cut out from card stock, trace evenly spaced hearts onto pieces of parchment paper sized to fit 2 cookie sheets. Place the parchment paper on the cookie sheets so that the side you have drawn on is facing down; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar on a medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, beat in about 1/3 of the dry ingredients, followed by half the buttermilk, beating each addition just until incorporated. Repeat so that all the buttermilk has been added and then mix in the final 1/3 of dry ingredients. Do not overbeat. Blend in the food coloring.
Transfer the batter to a ziploc bag (or pastry bag if you have one). Cut off one small corner and pipe onto the parchment paper using the heart tracings as a guide. Bake, one pan at a time, 7-9 minutes or until the tops are set. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets at least 10 minutes, until they can easily be transferred to a cooling rack. Repeat with any remaining batter. Allow cookies to cool completely before proceeding.
To make cream cheese frosting, in the bowl of a mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.
Transfer the frosting to a clean ziploc bag. Pair the cookies up by size and shape. Flip one cookie of each pair so that the flat side is facing up. Cut the corner and pipe frosting onto the flat-sided cookie of each pair, leaving the edges clear. Sandwich the cookies together so that the flat sides are facing each other and press gently to help the filling reach the edges. Let set out until filling hardens and cookies stabilize. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container.