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Sunday, May 12, 2013

chocolate whoopie pies with malted buttercream and walnut filling.

If you own the book Baked Elements, you might recognize this recipe. Hint: it belongs to the chapter of malt recipes.

Yeah, the recipe was titled Devil Dogs because of the shape the batter was piped in- bones. I didn't quite feel like getting out my piping bag and piping tip and going through all that fuss for just a bit of batter (I scaled down the recipe) so I made the whoopie pies in their prosaic shape.

Since I was already tweaking the recipe, I decided to tweak it some more. It wasn't that much of an adjustment really, I just folded some chopped toasted walnuts into the buttercream. Which, I must add, isn't just just an adjustment- malt and walnuts are divine together! Plus, saying the two words together is great fun. Malt and walnut. Malty walnutty. Malty walty. You get the idea.

Malted walnut. Oho I'm on to something here!

If I had to criticize (what am I saying- I always have some little quibbles), I would say that the cakes could be moister and the buttercream more malty. I guess it can't be helped since the cakes are made with butter so when refrigerated, they are rather firm and drier compared to oil-based whoopie pies. The buttercream issue can be easily resolved- just add more malt!

I feel that after becoming so detached from blogging, I just can't write my posts as quickly and eloquently as before. This is bad. I need to blog more, which means I need to bake more. Yes. That sounds like a plan.

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Malt and Walnut Buttercream
a recipe adapted from Baked Elements, which was originally known as Devil Dogs
makes 4 regular-shaped sandwiches

For the cake:
2 tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp instant espresso powder
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/8 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled
1/4 large egg yolk (about a teaspoon)
1/4 cup buttermilk

For the buttercream:
1 tbsp malted milk powder (I recommend increasing this amount anywhere up to 2 tbsp)
1/2 tbsp boiling water
1 1/2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup icing sugar, sifted

1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted and cooled

For the cakes: Line a baking sheet.

Whisk the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, espresso powder, baking powder and salt together.

Cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Add the chocolate and egg yolk and beat until just combined. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Scoop a heaping tablespoon of batter and mound it on the baking sheet. I used a cookie scoop for ease. Repeat until all the batter has been used. At this point, you can refrigerate the mounds of batter while the oven is preheating if you prefer distinctively-domed whoopie pies. If not, just proceed with the baking.

Bake at 400F for about 6 minutes, or slightly longer if the batter was baked straight from the fridge. Cool before filling.

For the buttercream: Dissolve the malted milk powder in the boiling water. Stir together the milk, cream, malted milk mixture in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened. Transfer the mixture to a bowl to cool completely.

Cream the butter and icing sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the cooled milk mixture and beat until fluffy and stiff peaks start to form. Stir in the toasted walnuts.

Fill the cakes generously with the buttercream. Refrigerate for at least 5 to 7 minutes to firm up before serving.

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