Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cannoli filled Chocolate Whoopie Pies

I love when my kid Texts me in the middle of the day and says “mom, we’re having Food Day tomorrow in Italian class, can you make something?” yea.. Just Love that. *not*

Anyway, since as my kid put it last night I’m “the awesomest of awesome mom’s” I made whoopie pies.. But not just any whoopie pies.. Cannoli cream filled whoopie pies. Yup, you read that right.

First I searched online for the perfect cannoli cream recipe, I needed something sturdy because I always seem to have issues with runny cannoli cream, not that it matters when I make it at home for us because it’s gone in no time flat.. But this had to hold up for 4th period Italian. When I asked the kid how many kids were in his class I was blown away.. Here I’m thinking an average class in his school has 25-30 kids but no.. since in his school there is only 1 Italian class per grade there are 45 kids in his class. Sheesh, talk about overcrowding.


I went over to the grocery store by my office at lunchtime to pick up a container of ricotta, cream cheese, and mini chocolate chips. When The Kid called when he got home from school I told him to take the bowl for the stand mixer and put it in the fridge so when I get home I can get the Cannoli filling made as soon as I get home so it had time to set up. 

I got home and made the Cannoli filling went and got my regular whoopie pie recipe and quickly realized I didn’t have enough oil.. Crap! I started to panic and then I just settled myself down and went ahead and got another recipe that I had saved a while back... no oil or shortening in this recipe.. Just butter.. Perfect. I mix together the dry ingredients and realize I don’t have enough brown sugar. Seriously? Now it’s 7pm and I’d already had the day from hell between the work Nazi and my boss acting like a complete jerk at the end of the day and I’m ready to call it quits... but instead I tell the kid to get his shoes on we’re going to the store to get brown sugar. (Yes, I could have just gone by myself but my truck’s been acting up lately and doesn’t want to start right back up after just being shut off so I needed the kid to sit and wait for me while I ran in the store) 

Now, I had to double up this recipe because it was new to me and I wasn’t sure how many mini whoopie pies I was going to get out of it and it’s always better to be safe than sorry and I had to make sure I had at least 50 sets. I’m beating together the butter & sugar and MY HAND MIXER DIES ON ME! I wanted to cry.. Seriously, what else could go wrong? I was already in a bad mood and I wanted to just give up right there and then... but.. No, I didn't.

I went ahead and pulled out the big guns. 

 My shiny new BHG Stand mixe
(isn't she beautiful?)

 I had to take the Cannoli cream out of the stainless bowl, transfer it to another bowl and move the butter & sugar into the stainless bowl... seriously 1 minute later I had perfectly fluffy butter & sugar. I added my chocolate mixture a little at a time and was done in no time flat.

I made mini pies, so each was slightly bigger than a quarter and I fit 20 per sheet pan. All together I made 194 mini pie halves and 12 huge ones (because towards the end I was exhausted after having to run back into the kitchen every 8 minutes to remove the pies from the oven, cool, transfer to a cooling rack and pipe more onto the pan) I had more than enough for the kid to take to school, bring a whole bunch to work and have a few left over for us. By the time I was done I had 2 sheet pans and a dinner plate jam packed and stuffed in the fridge. More than half were filled with the cannoli cream and the rest were filled with cream cheese icing (recipes for all of these are at the end)

This morning I loaded up a box of the mini’s for the kid (I don’t know.. I guess I put around 90 in the box and took a ziplog bag full into the office leaving 6 at home for us. I got a text from the Kid a little while ago saying that they ate up all the whoopie pies :) ) He’s got 3 huge ones stashed in his backpack to share with his 2 best friends later too.

It was a lot of work, but as always it was worth it to make my kid happy :)  I have to tell y'all too, that these are The Best whoopie pies I've ever made.  I've tinkered with a few recipes, one with oil, one with shortening and one with buttermilk, and while they were all good in their own ways and the buttermilk ones tasted very very similar to Drakes cakes devil dogs minus all the crap in the manufactured ones, I didn't really care for them all that much.  These are intensely chocolatey and super moist.  This is the recipe I will stick with from now on, as well as both the fillings.  Absolute perfection in my book.

Whoopie Pies

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease cookie sheet or cover with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

In medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and continue beating 1-2 more minutes. Beat in milk and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture until combined.

Using a pastry bag fitted with a wide mouth tip and pipe batter onto cookie sheet. Bake 8-12 minutes until top springs back when touched.

Cool completely, then pipe or spoon a heaping amount of frosting on flat half of one cookie and make a sandwich with the flat half of another cookie.

Cannoli filling

This is good, sturdy Cannoli filling that isn't runny at all and will hold up in between cake layers. 

32 oz. whole milk Ricotta cheese
16 oz. cream cheese (softened)
2 cups confectioners sugar (divided)
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla or almond extract 

Mix Ricotta and cream Cheese until smooth in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, Add confectioners sugar, sugar, vanilla and beat until smooth.

Cream cheese filling

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
5 tbsp butter, room temperature
3 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 to 3/4 tsp vanilla extract

While the cookies are cooling, prepare the filling. In the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese and the butter until light and well blended. Add the sifted powdered sugar in batches until the filling is perfectly smooth. Add the vanilla extract, mix well.