It’s Christmas Eve and possible that you may still be looking for a festive, impressive, but easy dessert to pass around. My family is pretty evenly split between cake lovers and pie lovers, but the one thing we can all agree on is that whoopie pies (the kind with lots of frosting) are always welcome to make an appearance, especially around the holidays. Last year for Thanksgiving I made these Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Frosting and they disappeared immediately. Not quite a cake, not quite a cookie, they’re more like the best of both. This year I went with a classic chocolate whoopie pie with a peppermint buttercream frosting. Roll them in some crushed peppermint candies if you’re serving them to guests, and watch what I mean about disappearing.
Sift together all the dry ingredients- the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl and set aside.
Beat together the brown sugar, softened butter and shortening until fluffy and smooth, starting slow and gradually building up speed, about 4 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.
Add in half the flour mixture and half of the milk and mix until just combined. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and milk.
Drop rounded tablespoons of batter onto cookie sheets, spacing a couple of inches apart. Bake 1 sheet at a time at 375 in the center of the oven for 10 minutes. The pies should spring back when pressed gently.
Let the whoopie pies cool on the hot sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare the peppermint buttercream frosting while the pies are cooling. Beat together the powdered sugar and softened butter, starting on low speed and increasing to medium, until the mixture is crumbly, about 1 minute. Add in the heavy cream, vanilla, peppermint extract and salt and beat on high until smooth, about 3 minutes. Be sure you’re using peppermint extract and not mint extract. You don’t want the frosting to taste like toothpaste.
Once the frosting is thick and creamy, frost the flat side of one of your whoopie pies. Use a spoon or knife, or a pastry bag if you want a more polished look. Be generous with your frosting. If your treat is flat or thinly filled, I’m sorry to say that is not a proper whoopie pie. Top with the remaining halves. When I make these Christmas whoopie pies, I like to decorate the sides by rolling them in crushed peppermint candies or candy canes. Use festive sprinkles or chocolate chips or even keep them plain if you prefer.
It’s best to eat whoopie pies within a few days, as they can be challenging to store. They tend to stick to each other when stacked, so if you need to store them for a few days, try and find a shallow, wide container in which they can lie flat. If you do need to stack them, no big deal, just be sure to place waxed paper between the layers to avoid sticking. You can also wrap the whoopies individually in plastic wrap. Store for up to 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
If you are planning on freezing the pies, transfer them to a cookie sheet, and freeze for 1 hour until they are solid. Once solid, you can wrap them individually in plastic wrap, then place them into a large freezer bag. Freeze for 30-45 days.