Monday, November 5, 2012

Rock the Vote Whoopie Pies

What matters on November 6 is not who wins, but that every eligible person takes to the polls and exercises his or her right to vote.

Ok, that's a blatant lie, because it absolutely matters who wins. But this is a pie blog, not a political blog, and while I do have my personal views and beliefs, I will let the pundits and blowhards of the world inhabit that side of the blogosphere. (Spoiler Alert: I'm a single white female in my late 20's living in New York City and working as a freelance artist. It's shouldn't be too hard to figure out with whom my loyalties lie.) Go vote now!!!

I wrote about these pies-that-are-actually-more-like-frosted-cake-sandwiches a while back when I road tripped to Maine in search of their state treat, the whoopie pie, but never had the opportunity to make my own until now. Adding red and blue food dye to the cake batter puts a patriotic spin on the treat, and if your preferred candidate doesn't win, you can throw the "wrong" colored pies at the TV.

Alright, don't actually do that. Just make the pies for your Election Night party and know that whatever the outcome, there will always be pie (or at least I really really hope).

For the pies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
*1/3 cup egg whites
*1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
Red and blue food coloring

For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese
4 tbsp unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp dark liquor, such as spiced rum, bourbon or honey whiskey - if desired

*Note: cooking with blue food coloring is very difficult. I was worried about the yellow color of egg yolks reacting badly with the blue food coloring (blue + yellow = green), so I substituted 2 whole eggs for 1/3 cup Egg Beaters egg whites and added a tablespoon of vegetable oil for good measure.

How to
Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together butter, shortening, brown and white sugar. If you have an electric mixer, use it now. If you're like me and can't fit one in your tiny New York apartment, tell yourself that you don't have to go to yoga today because you're getting an arm workout by doing all the mixing by hand. Add the egg whites, vegetable oil and vanilla, and beat until smooth and fluffy.

Slowly add the flour mixture and buttermilk and mix until everything is completely combined. Half the batter and place each portion in separate bowls. In the first, add the red food dye, about 50 drops depending on your desired color. Add the blue dye to the batter in the second bowl. This is where it gets a little dicy, so slowly add the dye until you reach a desired color. My batter started to get a bit too pale, so I added two drops of red to the almost 60 of blue dye.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, then use a spoon or ice cream scoop to drop small portions of the batter onto the sheet, leaving space between each pie as they will spread. Bake on your oven's center rack at 350 for about 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes cleanly out of the center of one of the pies.

While the pies are cooling, make the filling by beating together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and liquor. Again, if you have an electric mixer, use it here. If not, that's just one less push up you'll have to do later. Mix ingredients until frosting is smooth and creamy.

Finally, assemble the pies by spreading a generous amount of filling onto the flat side of one of the pies with a spatula, then sandwich together a matching pie. Store pies in a closed container for up to three days.

This recipe was inspired by and adapted from this one!

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