Every year Land O'Lakes creates a holiday recipe brochure. This years’ brochure, "Little Joys: Bite-sized Treats for the Holidays", is available to download from our website. Here’s a link if you would like to check out the wonderful recipes right now. Follow the directions to order online, or call us to request a copy and we will mail it to you. You can call through December 31, 2011, but keep in mind, because it’s so late in the season, you may not receive your brochure until after the holidays. No worries though, the recipes are great year round and you can always access them right now at the link I provided above.
The yearly holiday recipe brochure is one of the Test Kitchens’ favorite projects. We work on this annual tradition in the spring and summer of each year. To kick-off the project we conduct a review of current flavor and recipe trends. This year it became pretty clear from that review that we wanted to offer "small bite" or "bite-size" treats – a huge trend in restaurants.
We also couldn’t resist including a bite-sized Whoopie Pie recipe. Whoopie Pies are a New England specialty which has received a lot of attention this past year. They are made by creating a sandwich cookie from two cake-like cookies which are filled with a sweet, creamy frosting. And, just to make sure we covered even more hot trends, our mini Whoopie Pies are inspired from a very "in" candy - dark chocolate-coated caramels sprinkled with sea salt. Yep, it just doesn’t get much better than Mini Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Salted Caramel Filling. Rich dark chocolate cake-like cookies are filled with a luscious caramel frosting with just a touch of sea salt. Our mini version is a great addition to your holiday cookie platter and will likely be a fun conversation starter.
To make the cake-like cookies, start with a Devil’s food cake mix. Be sure to purchase the kind of cake mix labeled "Devil’s food cake mix with pudding." Cake mix makes the "cookie" part of the recipe go super quick. Instead of following the package directions, follow the recipe for the ingredients and the amounts to add to the cake mix.
Begin by combining the cake mix, melted butter, water and eggs in a large bowl.
Beat at medium speed until smooth.
Let the batter rest (just let it sit in the bowl on your counter) for 30 minutes. Letting the batter rest allows the batter to rise and increases the volume of the whoopie pie cookies.
Heat the oven to 400°F. Drop the batter by slightly rounded teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto parchment-lined or lightly greased cookie sheets. Lining the cookie sheets with parchment paper not only prevents the cookies from sticking but makes clean up easy.
Sprinkle each cookie with a little bit of sea salt.
Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cookie comes out clean. Use the toothpick test to check a couple of cookies in the center of the cookie sheet. If the center cookies are done the rest should be done too.
Transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack and let them cool completely.
To make the filling place 1 cup softened butter in a medium bowl. Beat until creamy.
Reduce the mixer speed to Low and gradually add the powdered sugar.
Beat until well mixed.
Add the caramel sauce, 1 teaspoon of sea salt and the vanilla. Continue beating until well mixed.
For each Whoopie Pie, pipe or spread a rounded teaspoonful of filling on the bottom of 1 cookie.
Place a second cookie, bottom-side down over the filling.
Wow, aren’t you feeling "hip?" Whoopie Pies, made into small bites and featuring the flavors of a dark chocolate sea salt caramel – you are definitely "on trend!" And, they taste divine!
Recently I filmed a segment for a local Twin Cities TV show demonstrating how to make Mini Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Salted Caramel. I had fun showing the host how to make these tasty treats. She took one bite and was delighted, so much so she asked to take a plateful back to the station to share with her co-workers. Here’s a photo from the shoot.
I would love to hear what you think of Mini Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Salted Caramel Filling. It would be fun to experiment with other filling flavors too – maybe mint or raspberry. Let me know if you try anything new and trendy! Once you’ve tried the recipe, please take a minute to come back to rate and review it.
Come back in a few days when Emily will share another delicious chocolate holiday treat.
Becky Wahlund is the Director of the Test Kitchens for Land O'Lakes and writes for our Recipe Buzz® Blog.