Whoopie! School’s Out!

Whoopie PIe with Salted Dulce
This was the recipe that caught my eye the most as I flipped through the cookbook, Home Baked Comfort, and I thought, yes, of every recipe, I will make this one right this minute. And I did. And honestly, a whoopie pie can be a little dangerous at high altitude, because sometimes the cookie will spread too much and flatten, but this recipe performed beautifully. (Okay, it can also be dangerous when trying to lower sugar intake, but, well, that’s the kind-of danger I like.) I also took this cookie with me to my nephew’s all-cookie birthday party (how is that not the perfect party idea?). The filling didn’t do great in the hot weather, but I kind-of enjoyed watching them slowly slip and slide. Maybe not the perfect 90-degree-weather-outside-party cookie, but definitely the perfect cookie to welcome in summer! Wouldn’t be so bad at any other time of the year, either.

Salty Dulce de Leche Whoopie Pie

For the cookies:
6 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 t. pure vanilla extract
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. natural cocoa powder (like Hershey’s)
1/2 t. baking soda (reduce slightly for high altitude, like a little shake less, or 1/4 t. less if doubling)
1/4 t. salt

For the filling:
4 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
2 T. heavy cream
1/4 to 1/2 t. kosher salt
1/3 c. dulce de leche (you can find this at Latin American Grocers or Trader Joe’s)

To make the cookies, in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until combined. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until blended. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt into the bowl and beat just until blended. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough until firm, about 2 hours.

Space 2 racks evenly in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

With dampened hands, shape tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls [I used a tablespoon cookie scoop]. Place them firmly on the prepared pans, spacing them slightly apart and squishing them a little. You should have about 20 balls. Bake until the cookies are puffed and slightly firm, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling, make the filling: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until lightened. Stir in the cream and salt, to taste, on low speed, then stir in the dulce de leche until the filling is smooth.

Spread the flat side of half the cookies with a big dollop of the filling. Top each with a second cookie, placing the flat side on the filling. (You’ll probably have a bit more filling than you need, but if you’re like us, you’ll find a good use for it and will sneak spoonfuls here and there.) Refrigerate until the filling is set, at least 1 hour. Whoopie! Makes 10 whoopie pies.

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