Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday: Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Super Bowl Sunday is the most holy of days. It's a day dedicated to watching football and eating and drinking horribly (it's like the most perfect combination ever). Kevin and I decided to throw a little gathering, meaning much cooking was in order (upcoming: A guest post from Kevin on chili along with queso and guac). I am a firm believer that any gathering should have whoopie pies (see my love letter to Honey I Shrunk the Kids), but an ordinary whoopie pie just didn't seem extravagant or, dare I say, "Super" enough for the day. No, these whoopie pies would have to play on the super bowl theme somehow. Then it hit me. Both teams' colors are blue and red, so red velvet whoopie pies with blue frosting (although I may have forgotten to color the inner frosting) were really the only dessert worthy of the the world's biggest stage (Viewership in my apartment was a staggering 8 people. Now that's primetime!).

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
Previously seen in cookie form in Ghostbuster Red Velvet Cookies
Servings: 4 whoopie pies suffering from gigantism
Time: 40 minutes plus 20 for meticulous decorating

Now that's red!
Red Velvet Cookies
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp buttermilk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Red Velvets make the tastiest batter
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp red food coloring

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
3 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
Decorative icing

Made special to match our place mats
Oh the wonders of cream cheese frosting
  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer until it's fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  4. Add the eggs 1 at a time until well incorporated.
  5. Beat in the buttermilk, vanilla, vinegar and food coloring. 
  6. Slowly add the dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop the batter onto it using an ice cream scooper. Note this is going to spread a lot so give them room. You should probably put 4 cookies per sheet.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes or until the toothpick test comes back clean. Let cool on the sheet for a couple of minutes then move to a wire rack.
  9. Make the frosting by beating the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth on low speed. Then slowly add in the powdered sugar. Once the powdered sugar is all in, ramp it up to high to make it extra fluffy. If you're frosting is turning out lumpy, you should cream the butter first then add everything else. This will help melt the butter and prevent the unsightly bumps.
  10. Once the cookies are cool, spoon generous portions of the cream cheese frosting on them and sandwich two together.
  11. Bust out your wicked decorating skills. The tiny squeeze bottles Wilton makes are pretty good and offer a lot of control.
I actually debated whether this was enough frosting (obviously it wasn't enough).
I already knew these were tasty cookies from my previous experience with them, but I wanted to tweak them ever so slightly to add more flavor. The solution was upping the amount of vanilla in both the cookies and the frosting. That extra little hint of vanilla definitely boosted these past their previous incarnation (that and the fact I actually know how to bake now and no longer pack the flour). The cookie is quite cakey and moist, which pairs excellently with the cream cheese frosting (Let's be honest. Anchovies probably pair well with cream cheese frosting because it make everything better). Since this is cakier, it's quite a stark contrast from my previous whoopie pies, but it still totally works for a treat that's impossible to resist. There a soft hint of the cocoa in there that really makes red velvet stand out from anything else. Is it a chocolate cookie or not? It's just some glorious in between that is the perfect vessel for delivering copious amounts of cream cheese frosting.

The frosting was supposed to be blue for the team color theme.  The Super Bowl is ruined now thanks to my brain fart! (Luckily the partygoers calmed down and decided not to leave in disgust.)
The real challenge came when it was time to decorate these suckers. I already messed up by not coloring the frosting. If I didn't decorate these masterfully, I would certainly lose all of my friends (even the ones who weren't there. They'd hear about it and cut off all communication). I chose the logos of both teams, so as not to have biased cookie sandwiches (When they're old enough they can decide for themselves, but they totally better pick the Giants and the world's greatest mouth-breather, New Orleans' own Michael Eli Manning). The Patriots logo was a little tricky since it had a lot of turns, but in the end I was proud of the results that resembled two edible helmets preparing to clash (just don't smash them into each other like they do on TV since they will break apart).
My previous decorating attempt could've used a little work.
These were a stellar dessert for a fantastic and exciting game (They'd even go great for a Puppy Bowl party). The night was full of deliciousness and hanging out with friends that surely had me several pounds heavier (and a lot happier). But now I'm conflicted. I can't decide which whoopie pies I like better. To be safe and scientific, I'll just have to prepare both and do a blind taste test.
The Pats' logo was not the easiest to replicate.

Thank you, Giants, for having a super simple design. Although, I feel the Patriots logo was tastier.

Kevin was insistent that all the food should have bacon. I fought and eventually won.

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