January 15, 2012

Boston Cream Whoopie Pies

I've been cooking and baking new things a LOT lately, I guess because it's been FREEZING outside and I sometimes lack crafting motivation when it's cold. So what do I do instead? Bake, and eat! Trust me though, this is the greatest recipe, and you'll thank me (and Annie's Eats) for sharing this with you!

Here's what you'll need:

For the pastry cream:2 cups half-and-half
½ cup sugar, divided
Pinch salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the cookies:8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
½ cup milk

For the ganache:2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup heavy cream

Here's how you do it:

To make the pastry cream, heat the half-and-half, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.  Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds.  Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.

When the half-and-half mixture has reached a simmer, slowly add it to the egg yolk mixture to temper, whisking constantly.  Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Return the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds.  Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla.  Strain the pastry cream through a  fine mesh sieve set over a medium bowl.  Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  Fit a pastry bag with a wide round tip. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Blend in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk to combine.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the bowl, alternating with with the milk, and beating each addition just until incorporated.

( why yes, that is a snowman spatula. Jealous?)

Transfer the batter to the piping bag.  Pipe 1½-2 inch circles onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing an inch or two apart.

 Bake 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are set (they should not brown.)  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Repeat with any remaining batter as necessary.

Once all the cookies have cooled, match them up in pairs by size.

To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate into a small heatproof bowl.  Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 1-2 minutes.

 Whisk in small circular motions until the chocolate is completely blended and the ganache is smooth.  Dip the rounded side of one cookie of each pair into the ganache and coat with an even layer.  Return to the cooling rack, flat side down, and let the ganache set before proceeding. (By the way, dipping cookies in ganache is NO JOKE! Didn't turn out so pretty for me- but, they tasted like heaven!)

Transfer the pastry cream another piping bag fitted with a smaller plain round tip.  Pipe a dollop of pastry cream onto the flat side of the plain cookie of each pair.  Press the flat side of the other cookie to the pastry cream, sandwiching the two together.
Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Thanks To Annie's Eats for sharing this awesome recipe! I absolutely loved the challenge, and loved the taste even more! Hope you try them and enjoy!

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