Thursday, November 8, 2012

WHOO(M)P there it is: crème brûlée whoopie pies

Ahoy there! It's time for the very first of one many recipe posts on Peas & Queues!

Ain't it exciting?

If I have ever baked for you then you are probably very familiar with my usual standbys: chocolate chip cookies (duh), snickerdoodles, lemon bars, and brownies that are pretty When a very important birthday recently came up for a friend of mine, I knew I had to pull out all the stops. (Partly because I think he's great and partly because he's eaten everything else I've ever baked. Sheesh). After being completely mystified and intimidated by whoopie pies for the last year, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to bring the whoopie right into my own kitchen! (That's whoopie in the delicious cookie sense, not the Newlywed Game sense). 

If you've never made whoopie pies before, don't be afraid. They're actually pretty easy to put together and the outcome is delectably impressive. If you've never enjoyed a whoopie pie, your world is about to change. A whoopie-pie is a cake-like sandwich with a whipped custard/frosting in between two soft and chewy cookies. Any flavor is welcomed. These things are bonkers delicious.

Since moving to LA I have delighted in many whoopie pie options-- from food trucks, specialty cafes, and engagement parties! I have yet to meet one I don't like-- red velvet, chocolate with marnier filling, lemon and ginger, the list goes on. It was only a matter of time before I built up the courage to make these little treasures.

I found a great little whoopie pie recipe online and have adapted it to accomodate a particular flavor I had in mind: crème brûlée. That's right-- Crème Brûlée Whoopie Pies! 

Crème Brûlée in french translates to burnt cream, which made me pine for one of my favorite flavors to grace this delicious world, salted caramel. I found that a combination of french vanilla cookies and salted caramel filling is almost spot on to the sweet, intense, rustic taste of fresh crème brûlée.

Voila! Crème Brûlée Whoopie Pies were born.

As I didn't start this recipe with the intent of putting it on my blog, I don't have nearly as many pictures as I wish I had. Next time!

Here's what you'll need:

Whoopie Pies:
  • 1 (18.25-ounce) package of French Vanilla Cake mix (Make sure it's got "with pudding" written on the box. This will keep things moist!)
  • 1/2 cup butter (Don't be a sissy and use margarine. You're making whoopie pies not steamed kale)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (table salt will be too fine and intense. Trader Joe's has a big shaker of coarse sea salt for about $1.50)

  • 1 cup butter, softened (#PaulaDean)
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark caramel sauce (Homemade preferably-- or store bought, as long as it's not sugar free)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon REAL. MAPLE. SYRUP. (If you even start to drizzle Log Cabin or Aunt Jemima near these pies it's CURTAINS for you)


First of all, my two most important rules to baking:

1) Get in a good mood. Put on a cute apron. Play some funky music white boy. Do what you need to do. Your food will reflect how you feel, trust me. Happy bakers make happy cakers.

2) Follow directions. Read them first. Then follow them. 100% of the time if you do something wrong it's because you are like my sister and don't read instructions because you think it will come to you naturally. It will come to you naturally!... After you read the directions the first ten times and double-check the next ten times. This isn't cooking-- this is baking. You aren't Rachael Ray-- you don't know how to "eyeball" vanilla.

Now-- you've got ingredients out. Awesome. Instead of starting the oven first, get the cookies started.

With a mixer, beat the cake mix, 1/2 cup melted butter, water, and eggs until smooth. Then you guys, let this ish sit it out. For 30 minutes. This will help the batter thicken naturally with all that cakey goodness. Don't touch it even though it looks cool. Let it brood.

Now you can heat the oven to 400℉ . Drop the batter in small rounded teaspoonfuls (that's your smaller eating spoon) about two inches apart from each other. These cookies are going to be sandwiched together so try to keep them about the same size-- and the rounder, the cuter. These whoopie pies pack a sweet punch so make sure they're only a little bigger than bite-size.  Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don't have a toothpick (because you're not an old man)? Pop your fingers lightly on top. If it gives too much and burns your fingers with molten sugar, they need 2 minutes more. Don't you dare overcook these babies, they're precious!

Get out your mixer again. Start beating the softened butter until it's nice and creamy. On the lowest setting, slowly add the powdered sugar so you don't die of sugar-smoke inhalation. Beat until completely combined and fluffy, then add caramel, salt, vanilla, and maple syrup. Tasty! I also added in three or four drops of yellow and red food coloring to bring out the caramel color. It's crème-brûlée-tastic!

Transfer all your cookies to a rack to cool down. I like to match up my cookies with their cookie mates before filling them-- that way they each have someone their own size (heh heh). You want to put about a tablespoon of filling on the flat side of one cookie then sandwich it together with its buddy. You can also be fancy and pipe this on with a frosting bag-- I just liked the rustic (cough, lazy) look.

See? That wasn't so hard!

Crème Brûlée Whoopie Pies are best served with a glass of milk. They're sweet and tasty and decadent.

The next step is to give one to your patient roommate.

And finally, make sure when you're sending it to someone special, you don't believe the Persian father/son team at "We-Mail-It" that it will get there in two days. It's not going to. Take your mailing habits as seriously as these whoopie pies and pay for priority.


This was fun! I'm looking forward to more recipe posts. Yum!

Sweet Kisses,


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