It seems that when it comes to food, everyone has their weaknesses. A soft spot for something that they simply can't resist and will never grow tired of. For me, saying it's a 'spot' doesn't really give a sense of the size of my weakness, which is so broad it encompasses not a certain dish but a whole category of food: comfort food. Sure, I have a favourite food (crème brulee). And yes, I prefer sweet over savoury (always). But I will eat anything that's classified as comfort food all year round. I will eat roasted pumpkin soup, or rhubarb crumble throughout the height of summer. I will spend hours baking in the kitchen in 30C heat when I have a craving for warm flourless chocolate cake. And whilst, I suppose what is classified as "comfort food" could be a little subjective, it usually means its dense. And rich. And I suppose these two things alone means that it's probably not a good thing to have a weakness for…
Anyway, whoopie pies seem to fall under this category for me, unsurprisingly. It took me a while to really feel happy about baking them. It terms of baked treats, they're, well… a little ugly. Or they can be. They certainly don't look as pretty as a cupcake, or as dainty as a madeleine. And I have a much greater preference for baking sweet, fine, as-close-to-perfect-as-can-be looking things. But, oh, whoopies are so wonderful. They're so soft, and wonderful with tea, and they store so well and will usually last for the better part of a week. They're quick and easy to make, and don't require a lot of implements, which means little washing up. And they are so good with cream cheese, or marshmallow filling, or with or without a topping.
I also happen to love turkish delight, and it's inevitable that I try to inject turkish delight into any baked treat. Cheesecake, cookies, cupcakes, crème brulee, macarons, and now whoopies.
Ingredients (makes about 20 small whoopies, approximately 5cm wide):
140 gms plain flour
40 gms cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
90 mls buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
80 gms butter, softened
140 gms brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 egg whites
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tsps glucose syrup
pinch of cream of tartar
1 tsp rosewater
dash of pink food colouring (I use Wilton gel)
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp rosewater
dash of pink food colouring
turkish delight, chopped to top
For the whoopies, preheat the oven to 200C. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and bicarb soda into a bowl. Mix together the buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale. Gradually add the egg, scraping down the sides of your bowl after each addition. With the mixer on low, pour in buttermilk mixture. Fold the flour mixture through with a large metal spoon, being careful not to over-mix.
Place tablespoons of mixture on to each baking tray, giving them plenty of space to spread. Bake two trays at a time for about 5 minutes - this will vary with the size that you make, so keep an eye on them! Slide the baking paper onto your benchtop to allow to whoopies to cool on the baking paper while you bake the next batch.
Whilst your whoopies are cooling, make your rosewater marshmallow filling. Combine the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar and 100 mls water in a heatproof bowl (preferably the bowl of your electric mixer to save on washing up). Sit the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, and whisk quite vigorously for five minutes until mixture is light and foamy. Alternatively, if you you have handheld beaters, you could use these - it will save you time and sweat! Remove from heat. Add rosewater and food colouring and beat with electric mixers on a high speed until stiff peaks form.Using a large piping bag and a plain 1cm nozzle, pipe filling onto half of your cooled whoopies, and sandwhich them together with the remaining whoopies.
Make a rosewater glaze by mixing icing sugar with 1 tbsp of rosewater and a dash of pink food colouring. Add extra hot water if necessary to make mixture as runny as desired. Spread rosewater icing on each whoopie pie, and top with a small piece of turkish delight.
Admittedly, these are a little more dainty than your standard whoopie, but I just couldn't help it. Feel free to make them as large and ugly as you please, just increase your baking time, keeping a firm eye on them. Nothing worse than an over-cooked whoopie.
Recommended baking soundtrack: Wooden Wand - Briarwood.