Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Vanilla and Cardamom Whoopie Pies

I have wanted to make some more whoopie pies for a while now. The last I made were in Carrot Cake ones down in Cornwall. The Cardamom is not a spice I have used or even come across until I got this cook book so wanted to have a go at baking with it.

I made this recipe at my Sister in law's and so had to bring my ingredients and some equipment along from my own kitchen. The first thing I had to do was ground the cardamom myself. Having searched the local supermarkets both myself and with my husband, we didn't have any success in finding any pre-ground cardamom and so I had to buy whole pods instead. They have a hard green shell which, once broken open, houses small black seed type things. Once I had released enough of the seeds I used the end of my rolling pin to grind them up into a powder as best I could. My initial idea was to put them into the mini blender I have but the black seeds are just too small for that.

Having ground the cardamom I packed up the rest of my ingredients, minus my dodgy scales and set off to my temporary kitchen. I made sure to check what was needed beforehand though, didn't need to forgot something vital once midway through baking.

Setting out to make the recipe, It was the same as any other whoopie pie recipe. I did struggle with the scales as they are not electric like mine but rather the old fashioned push down weight ones. The dial had to be adjusted to 0 manually every time a new bowl was put onto it before measuring anything and it seemed to take forever to creep upwards to the amount I needed. I also admit it took me a little while to work out exactly what it was going up in too..finally figured it was 25g not 20g so that also took a little adjusting on some ingredients.

Apart from getting used to the scales the mixing went well. We had a bit of a panic about not being able to find a measuring jug, I thought I needed one to measure the plain yoghurt but turned out I could actually use the scales so that was short lived thankfully.

Once all mixed the batter went into the fridge for 30 minutes and off I went on a little walk around the block to get my daughter to sleep. I had lined the baking trays with greaseproof paper before my trip out. My sister in law had two little and one large baking tray but I still managed to fit the stated 16 mounds to make 8 pies in total. Used a tablespoon to get the amounts, a pretty heaped one seemed to be the perfect amount.

The one thing about making whoopie pies is getting the mixture into the mounds on the trays. The batter is so thick once its been cooled and too sticky to use your hands to roll into the perfect shapes. I used the back of the tablespoon and although they looked fairly equal if not a little rough before baking they came out looking perfect once cooked.

Waiting for them just to cool enough, I then packed them up and headed home to finish the filling there. I then realise that even though I had remembered the whoopie pies themselves, all my ingredients and equipment, baby supplies and the baby herself, I had forgotten my Hummingbird cook book and left it wide open on the kitchen side. What a silly billy I am.

Unfortunately my sister in law wasn't feeling well and couldn't return it to me nor message me the filling ingredients and method so I called upon my dear followers and fellow bakers to help me out. Having been told how to make the filling I set about it in my own kitchen this time. Everything went smoothly, even the mixing of the icing sugar and butter now I have my trusty bowl guard to stop the dreaded smog cloud of sugar going everywhere. Then came to adding the marshmallow fluff. The recipe calls for 220g and one jar is only 213g, not that you can get the whole of that amount out of the jar. Now here is where I was naughty and did not actually measure the fluff out. It is so gooey that you get the right amount into the bowl for measuring and then can not get the full amount out again. I scrapped as much as I could out of the first jar and then just added an extra tablespoon from the second jar. This seemed to be how much I used the last few times I have made whoopie pies but it is cheating a little, baking is a science after all.

The filling came together nicely and then went into the fridge for 30 minutes, same as the batter the previous day. I did get engrossed in a programme and so it was in there a little longer than that. The filling is a little difficult to spread too but again used a tablespoon heaped full for each pie. I only had 14 to sandwich together as my husband nicked two halves to eat alone. He is not keen on any sort of icing so I let him off. All filled and assembled it was photo time.

This done I headed to bed. The pies smelt and looked delicious but my stomach was still feeling a little delicate after the stomach bug over the weekend so I left the tasting till the next day. This came with my first cuppa of the day. Apart from some of the filling spilling out from the sides when bitten into, these whoopie pies were lovely. The cardamom wasn't a strong taste yet it added depth to the plainness of the vanilla. The filling didn't seem a sickly sweet as when it was in the chocolate whoopie pies. Could have been that maybe there wasn't the same amount of marshmallow fluff but then the carrot cake pies seemed to be okay as well. More than likely there was too much fluff in my first attempt at the whoopie pies with the chocolate ones. Either way, the vanilla and cardamom are recommended for sure.

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