Gluten Free Whoopie Pie Hearts
Today on the menu we have a delicious combo of dark, fluffy chocolate, with smooth, sweet center. Whoopie pies all dressed up for Valentine’s Day.
I know a lot of people who have their “thing”. My Nana’s thing is donuts. Ahhh, I’ve always loved her donuts. My dad taught me the trick of warming them up in the microwave and then dipping them in sugar. She’s in her 80’s now, and can’t always remember that you are coming over to play rummy, but she still makes them and keeps a stash in her freezer so she can send guests home with a batch.
Papa Bear likes to bake too. His thing is molasses cookies. They’re dense and sweet and spicy. Usually, they’re a little burnt too, but that’s what makes them special. I know that sounds crazy, but when he got new pans, the bottoms of his cookies weren’t burnt like they were in the past, and it just didn’t taste right. Papa Bear’s cookies are unique because they has a hint of bitterness at the end. They were his. I don’t mind a properly baked molasses cookie, but the toasty version will always make me feel like a kid again.
That brings me to my mom. Whoopie pies were the treat she made the most. Her kitchen is in a U shape, so as she baked the counters would gradually fill up with little round cakes and you’d be literally surrounded. I remember she’d fill her biggest bowl with frosting and we’d all sneak some before the cakes were done.
She kindly shared her recipe with me so that I could make them myself. I changed a few things to make them gluten free. The biggest bit of information I needed to make these was the filling. So many recipes use Fluff. I knew my mom didn’t, so I very stubbornly refused to make those recipes. I won’t judge anyone that uses Fluff as an ingredient, but it’s not for me.
When taste tested this recipe, I was immediately filled with joy. They tasted so RIGHT. So like my mom’s. Makes sense, right? I used her recipe. But it just makes me so happy. I hadn’t had a perfect whoopie pie in years. I dressed them up with pastel “conversation heart” colors, and piped them into heart shapes to make them a little more special. What a great day!
The tricky part of these whoopie pies are just the heart shape. Feel free to go with the classic circle! But, after trying out several different techniques to get the shape right, I’ve settled on piping them free hand. It helps to have an outline on the back of your parchment paper so you have an image to trace, but otherwise, I just piped two large dots for the top part of the heart, and dragged them downwards into the point.
Here’s the recipe! Give it a go! Your valentine will thank you.
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp cornstarch
4 tbsp milk
4 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups shortening
Preheat your oven to 350˚F and prep two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
Cream together softened butter and brown sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer until combined and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
In a separate, medium bowl, combine espresso powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Then add flour and mix until everything is evenly distributed.
Add your flour mixture and the milk to your stand mixer bowl and mix on low. Scrape down the sides periodically to make sure everything gets mixed. Batter will be thick and smooth and awesome.
Scoop batter into a piping bag with a round tip. Pipe one large glob until you reach the desired size of one round part of the heart. As you slowly stop squeezing the bag, drag the bag downwards to create a smaller trail towards the heart tip. Repeat for the second round part and join the batter at the heart tip. Gently pat down any peaks in the batter with a wet finger.
Bake cakes in the oven for 15 minutes, then allow to cool completely before filling
While the cakes are in the oven, prepare the filling.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites until they are light in color and foamy. Add vanilla, cornstarch, milk, powdered sugar, and shortening. Beat until everything becomes combined and smooth.
Separate filling into five small bowls beat in desired colors. I recommend pink, blue, green, yellow, and purple. Distribute into separate piping bags for distributions, or leave in bowls to scoop out with a spoon.
Once the cakes are out of the oven and cooled, match each cake with a partner that matches the size and shape as closely as possible. Pipe filling onto one half of each grouping, and sandwich together with its partner. You have a whoopie pie now!
You did it! I hope you had fun with these. They’re so cute and even yummier than they look. For real. Be patient with the piping of the batter. It takes a little practice. But remember, these are homemade! Imperfections make them yours.