From Pink Sludge to Banana Whoopie Pies
It’s my boss’ birthday tomorrow so I really wanted to make something special and bring it to the office. Her favorite color? Pink. Favorite cookie? Macaroons. French Macaroons to be precise. Unless you know about something called “Macarons”. Ah, the French. Like many, I’d always pictured macaroons as hay stack looking mounds of coconut and never really understood the appeal. When I moved to New York, I discovered a city that is fascinated by tiny French Macaroon cookies. I had seen them in Parisian pastry shops but didn’t know them by name until I did some research. Boy, did I research. Videos, blog posts, cookbooks, newspaper articles.
Everything I read gave me the SHIVERS…
Sure, sure, everyone commented on how difficult it would be to get the meringue consistency right. Trial and error. Emphasis on error for this baker! I used almond flour to make the pink vanilla macaroons and followed the recipe to a tee. Everything looked good until the baking progressed. I never knew feet on cookies was ideal, but without feet, the cookies lose their distinctive rough around the edges look.
These cookies lost their will to go on, foot or no foot. I knew from the tutorials that my screw up was irreversible so I scraped the unappealing pink sludge into the trash. The next flop involved hazelnut flour and dutch processed cocoa. It wasn’t pretty and soon the garbage can was overflowing.
Ditch the pink goop. On to Plan B.
Bring on the Banana Whoopie Pies!
I love Whoopie pies and had some ripened bananas on hand so I figured I’d have these ready in case the macaroons did not work out. The consistency of the pie itself is a cross between a mini-cake and a cookie – totally dig it. Luckily, I made the cookies last night just in case and simply had to assemble them today. I stuffed the cookies with vanilla cream cheese, Nutella and Dulce de Leche (the messy cookie on the left).
Banana Whoopie Pies
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups mashed banana (2 medium)
1. Preheat oven 350F.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone pad.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
4. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light.
5. Beat in egg, vegetable oil, vanilla and mashed banana.
6. Add half of the flour mixture and stir until just incorporated.
7. Add the remaining flour and stir until just combined. When you notice small lines or streaks/strings in the batter, the batter has reached the desired consistency.
8. Drop 2 tablespoon balls (approx 1 1/2-inch balls) of dough on baking sheet.
9. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned around the edges and “set” in the center.
10. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies (1 dozen sandwich cookies).
This is an aerial view of the cookies; cookies positioned on their sides. I put a lot of cream cheese filling in the cookie for the photo.
Cream Cheese Filling
3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 – 2 cups confectioners sugar
1. In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth.
2. Blend in vanilla and confectioners’ sugar until mixture is smooth and thick.
3. Add additional confectioners’ sugar if mixture seems runny.
The quality of these photos isn’t great, but this photo shows the cinnamon-tinted cookie bottom and the dough in the background.
I really like the flavor of vanilla extract in my baked goods so I usually add more than called for in recipes.
Assembling the Cookies
This is where you can be creative. Whoopie Pies generally have a whipped cream, cream cheese or marshmallow fluff-like filling. I place a small ice cream scoop-size of filling in the center of the bottom of one cookie and use the top of a second cookie to squish the sandwich filling to the edges.
Since I spent most of the day in the kitchen watching the macaroons flop, I did not make additional fillings. Instead, I filled the cookies with Nutella and Dulce de Leche.
All I can say is, enjoy the baking and hopefully my boss won’t be too disappointed about the cookie substitution. Macaroons were just not working for me today.
Personally, I ‘m looking forward to digging in tomorrow!