This month, I learned to never question Martha Stewart when it comes to baking.
When I picked this Halloween Whoopie Pie recipe and started making it, I was skeptical. The applesauce in the batter made it look grainy and weird. I didn’t think the recipe called for nearly enough filling. I was positive my cookies were going to come out misshapen.
How wrong I was. Martha Stewart worked her magic, and somehow, I ended up with whoopie pies that looked pretty and tasted so good. I mean, so good.
I have a pretty easy-to-please audience in The Canton Repository editorial staff, but these whoopie pies were especially popular. Some of the comments I got as they walked past my desk: Those were really good. They weren’t too sweet. They’re really moist.
The tops and bottoms of the whoopie pie are more like a cake than a cookie, and the only diversion from the standard method of baking I’m used to is that the applesauce and the dry mixture are added to the wet mixture alternately. The dough was gooey, so I just dropped dollops on a baking sheet using a spoon. It cooked down into pretty domes, even though I didn’t flatten or shape the dough.
For the filling, I purposely picked a recipe that used a buttercream filling instead of a marshmallow cream filling because I don’t enjoy marshmallow. (It’s essentially a buttercream frosting.)
My first reaction was that there wasn’t nearly enough filling, or at least not as much filling as I wanted to use. I stuck with the recipe and resisted my urges to double it. I used a spoonful for each cookie, and I had enough.
My next perceived problem was that because the cookies were puffy and the filling was thin, there wasn’t much room for using sprinkles. More of mine ended up on the cookie than on the frosting, but they still looked OK.
I think next time I’d just add the sprinkles to the frosting or dye the frosting the appropriate holiday color. Because truly, now that I’ve tried these, I want to eat them for every holiday celebration—not just Halloween.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned and leveled)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
Orange nonpareils or sanding sugar, for decoration
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat until smooth. With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture and applesauce, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix just until smooth (do not overmix).
3. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto two baking sheets. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cookie comes out clean, 10 to 14 minutes. With a thin metal spatula, immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool completely.
4. Meanwhile, make filling: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat vanilla and remaining 1/2 cup butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add confectioners sugar, beating until smooth.
5. Spread bottom of half the cookies with 1 tablespoon filling each; sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing gently so filling oozes out slightly. Sprinkle exposed filling with nonpareils. Let rest 15 minutes to set.