Saturday, February 6, 2016

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

This recipe was originally published in 2004 in Gourmet Magazine, under the title "Inside Out Carrot Cake Cookies." It now appears on the Epicurious website. I made them back in the day when I subscribed to Gourmet, and am happy to have rediscovered this recipe. They're a delicious treat--and fully approved during a "taste test" at Monday night dinner with Mom and Dad (thanks, Mom & Dad!). I followed the recipe almost to the letter (just added a bit more vanilla extract) and they came out perfectly.  It may be worth taking a look at the comments of other cooks on the Epicurious website, though.  Some complained that there isn't enough flour in the dough and the cookies spread too much, so recommend adding more flour (about 1/4 cup).  Others thought that the flavors weren't that strong, so recommend increasing the amount of cinnamon.  Still others left out the raisins and/or the walnuts. We thought the flavor was great.  The filling is simply 8oz of cream cheese mixed with 1/4 cup of honey.  Whether you make these little whoopie pies or not, the honey/cream cheese filling makes a great frosting for any carrot or spice cake!

Mini Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies
1 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp.
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar 
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 cup coarsely grated carrots
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Filling:  8 oz. cream cheese, softened and 1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and put racks in upper and lower third of the oven.  Line two baking sheets with parchment or foil and then grease the sheets well. (Some complained about the cookies sticking too much. I used cooking spray to grease the sheets and didn't have any trouble.)

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl. In a mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat for a few minutes.  Using the lowest setting on the mixer, mix in the carrots.  Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Stir in the raisins and walnuts until just evenly distributed.

Place by generous, rounded tablespoon onto the cookie sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart and trying to make them as even as possible so they'll be easy to pair when adding the filling.  Bake for 12-16 minutes, turning the sheets once during baking to promote even browning.  The cookies should be nicely browned and the tops should spring back when lightly touched.  Cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheets then place on cooling racks and cool completely.

Blend the cream cheese and honey thoroughly.  Take one cookie, spread the flat side with a heaping tablespoon, and sandwich another cookie on top, pressing a bit so that the filling squishes to the edges.  This recipe made 13 whoopie pies, each about 3 inches in diameter.

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