Banana-Caramel Whoopie Pies

Ever since I discovered that frozen banana makes awesome soft serve (just puree frozen banana slices in the food processor. Amazing.) we’ve been going through a LOT of bananas. I’m slightly conflicted about this because I know it takes a lot of fuel to get them here, and there are some human rights concerns with banana workers, but for now, I’m still eating them (just with more guilt than I used to).

It’s rare that bananas go unfrozen in our house, but a few days ago I found a few just on the edge of too ripe sitting in the bottom of our fruit bowl, and I stumbled upon this recipe to use them up. If you have 2 or 3 lying around getting brown spots, and you want to make something other than banana bread, I HIGHLY recommend these. The caramel frosting didn’t taste as caramelly as I wanted it too, because I was impatient, but it’s definitely worth it to let it get a deep brown (just be careful not to burn it!) Mine aren’t especially beautiful because I just spooned the dough onto the cookie sheet rather than piping it, but the flavor was still outstanding with a nice balance between the sweetness of the frosting and the banana in the cookie.

Recipe:
(adapted from Good Things Catered)

cookies
2 cups flour (all purpose or whole wheat pastry)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (2 medium bananas)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla

frosting
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp water
2 tsp corn syrup
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp cup sour cream
3 tbsp softened butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

To make the cookies:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Sift the flour, baking powder, soda and salt into bowl. Mix the banana and yogurt together in a separate bowl.
Beat butter, white sugar, and brown sugar with the paddle attachment until light and creamy. Beat in the vanilla and egg.

Add half the banana mixture, and mix on low until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour mixture. Mix on low until traces of flour disappear, then add the remaining banana mixture.

Use a spoon to drop about a tablespoon of dough at a time onto the parchment-lined cooking sheets.

Bake just until set, about 10 minutes, then cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting:
Put the granulated sugar, water and corn syrup into a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir to combine, then cook until the mixture is a nice, deep golden brown.

While the sugar is cooking, heat the cream in a small bowl in the microwave, or bring to a simmer in a (very) small saucepan.

Once the caramel is a nice deep golden brown, remove the pan from heat. Wait one minute, then stir in the heavy cream. Let cool a few minutes, then stir in the sour cream. Allow to cool completely

When the caramel is cool, beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. Add the caramel and powdered sugar, and beat until it has a spreadable consistency.

Assemble the whoopie pies by spreading a little frosting between two cookies that are the same size.

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