chocolate whoopie pies & salted caramel
Messy and magnificent, caramel filled and chocolaty, there just has to be an excuse for a sweet treat. Did somebody say diet? These sinful bites appeared yesterday in Sunday Life magazine. I tell you, it was not such a struggle doing/eating these. They're pillowy cakey numbers, not unlike the top of a cupcake, but sandwiched together with lightly salted caramel. I added whipped cream too for good measure, but I assure you they're pretty heavenly without. These are also great filled with real raspberry jam. Honest. I cleaned up the spoon of caramel the best way I knew how, by putting it in my mouth. And since I was shooting alone on this occasion, there was nobody to see me have all of these on my own. As I cleared up the shoot, the caramel and whipped cream dripped down my hand, so what else was I to do but hurry up and eat them? You can make the mixture ahead with these, but bake them the day to plan to eat them, they're best very fresh. As for the caramel, do it ahead as well, and let it firm up in the fridge overnight and up to for a week or two - just wait and see if it doesn't disappear by single teaspoon steals day by day.
Chocolate whoopie pies
Dreamed up in America, these cakey soft morsels are filled with a glorious sweet filling, made a reality in your kitchen.
1 ¾ plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
¾ cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract or essence
Preheat oven to 190C. Line baking tray with baking paper. In a bowl, sieve together flour, baking powder and cocoa, set aside. In an electric mixer, beat butter, then add sugars, beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg, mix well, then add buttermilk and vanilla. Add flour mixture and beat to form a smooth dough. Roll 1 tablespoon balls of dough and place onto baking paper about 4cm apart, press down with two fingers to form slightly rounded mounds. Bake until slightly firm to the touch, 10-12 minutes. Repeat with remaining mixture. Cool on a wire rack. When cool, fill with salted caramel and whipped cream. Makes about 20 pies.
Salty and sweet together in a spoonable caramel. Satisfy all your cravings at once.
Melt 200g sugar in a large, heavy saucepan, over a medium heat, stirring gently until completely melted. Warm 200g cream and add a little at a time, being careful of splatters. Turn to low heat. Stir in ½ teaspoon fleur de sel or good quality salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence. Add 140g unsalted butter, which has been cut into small cubes, one cube at a time. Stir well between each addition. Mix well until the caramel is smooth and glossy. Pour into two small sterilised jars with lids and chill. Spoon over icecream, use in tarts, or use to fill whoopie pies.
Recipe and photograph by Kate Gibbs.