Boston Cream Whoopie Pies

I try to keep food on my food blog and running on my running blog, but there’s a running-related back story for these little treats. I ran the San Francisco Marathon on Sunday (my fifth marathon) and qualified to run the Boston Marathon! This was my 5th marathon, and before this, my best time was 3:46. You need a 3:40 to run Boston, and I knew this would be a really tough course, so I figured it was a long shot. Somehow everything came together perfectly and I covered the 26.2 miles in 3:32:46, so I will be running the Boston Marathon on April 18th! I’ve had this as a goal since I ran my first marathon 5 years ago, so I’m pretty ecstatic.

I was debating between a Boston Cream Pie and Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes, but I’ve been pretty obsessed with whoopie pies lately, so when Mike suggested I give them a try, it seemed like a brilliant plan. He’s so smart.

These have soft vanilla cookies, vanilla pastry cream, and chocolate ganache – 3 things that are marvelous on their own and even better together. I think they’re probably best assembled right before you plan on eating them, but if that’s not possible they might keep in the fridge for a few hours. The pastry cream is not as sturdy as frosting, so these can be a little messier than the average whoopie pie.

And yes, I know that I’ve been posting way too many desserts and far too few vegetables lately…I’ll work on that!

Recipe:

makes about 24

cookies
(adapted from King Arthur Flour)

1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk

vanilla pastry cream
(adapted from The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard)

1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar, divided
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbsp corn starch
2 eggs
2 tsp softened butter

chocolate ganache
(adapted from The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard)

2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 375 and line a few cookie sheets with Silpats or parchment. Get a pastry bag ready with a wide round tip (I used Wilton 12).

Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together onto a sheet of wax paper and add in two additions, alternating with milk. Mix on medium just until smooth.

Transfer the batter into the piping bag and pipe circles about 1 1/2″ – 2″ in diameter. Bake for 8-10 minutes, watching carefully to make sure the cookies don’t color at all. They need to come out of the oven when the tops are just set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then match up in pairs by size.

To make the pastry cream: Whisk the eggs, 2 tbsp of sugar, a pinch of salt, and the cornstarch together in a medium bowl. Have another clean bowl ready.

Put the milk and remaining sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Pour about half the simmering milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then transfer all the eggs and milk back into the saucepan. Whisking constantly, cook over medium for about 5 minutes (it should be boiling), or until it it thick and pulls away from the sides when you tip the pan. Turn off the heat and beat in the vanilla. Transfer to the clean bowl and stir in the butter, then place the bowl in an ice bath and stir every few minutes until cool (or, if you don’t need it right away, press plastic wrap onto the surface of the cream and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours, until completely cool).

To make the ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Bring the cream to a boil (it should foam up a lot when boiling) in a small saucepan, then pour over it over the chocolate. Let it stand for one minute, then gently use a rubber spatula to mix the cream and chocolate. Keep mixing for about 2 minutes, so they’re thoroughly combined. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then begin assembling cookies.

To put the whoopie pies together: Spread a little ganache on one of the cookies in the pair. Place a small spoonful of pastry cream on the other, then gently set the ganache-iced cookie on top. Serve as soon as possible.

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