Strawberry Shortcake Whoopie Pies

It’s so hard not to just talk about the weather every week here on the blog. It affects me so much and I  can’t get over all the beautiful weekends we’ve had here in New York recently! And if I’m not going to go on and on about whether it’s rainy and dreary or sunny and great, at least let me talk about being excited for the warmer season because of STRAWBERRIES! So many great berries these days, at affordable prices, with minimal white insides and tons of flavor. I’ve been surviving on frozen berries in my yogurt over the winter, but nothing beats fresh ones, and that’s just one of the million reasons summer is so great. I realize it’s not quite summer here, and there certainly weren’t any local strawberries at the Union Square Green Market last weekend, but I’ll take the beautiful ones sent over to NYC from California for now. To put the plentiful berries to good use, I decided to do a little spin on the average strawberry shortcake and make them in whoopie pie form – so yummy!

The idea for these actually came about after brainstorming with a few girlfriends over dinner the other night. I told them I wanted to do something with strawberries since they were coming into season, and although I couldn’t get excited about the strawberry rhubarb pie suggestion (I’m sure you remember how I feel about warm fruit pie…), I knew we could work with strawberry shortcake. There’s just something so classic about the combination of strawberries with fresh whipped cream, and instead of piling the combination inside a biscuit, here we’ve used whoopie pies instead. In my opinion whoopie pies are somewhere between a cupcake and a cookie – they’re a bit sturdier than your average cupcake but much softer than a cookie. The perfect fork or spoon-free vehicle for getting lots of berries and cream in your mouth in one bite! Plus they’re pretty adorable, especially dressed up with some festive flags for a Memorial Day picnic…

I was really, really pleased with how these turned out – they were a huge hit among myself, Ryan (who is by far my toughest critic), and a handful of friends. I make plenty of mistakes in the kitchen, such as these Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Whoopie Pies that were delicious, but their bumpy tops still bother me to this day. So I was thrilled that these whoopie pies turned out beautifully round on top and even in color. And their texture is perfect for standing up to the whipped cream and strawberries but soft enough to bite through without making a mess. I will definitely be making this twist on the summertime classic again and hope you do too!

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Strawberry Shortcake Whoopie Pies

Yield: 12 whoopie pies

Ingredients:

for the vanilla whoopie pies:

2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tbsp vegetable shortening (i.e. Crisco)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk, at room temperature
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp white vinegar

for the filling:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups chopped strawberries

Directions:

for the vanilla whoopie pies:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter, shortening, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla and continue to beat until well combined. Your batter might look curdled at this point (mine looked really gross!) but I promise it'll come together and be smooth when you add the flour.

In a small cup, combine the milk, baking soda, and vinegar. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour mixture, then the milk mixture, followed by the rest of the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.

Use a small cookie scoop to drop ball of dough onto the cookie sheets, leaving about 2" between each cookie. Bake the cookies (one sheet at a time is best) for about 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to brown. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

for the filling:

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the whipping cream on high speed until peaks form. Reduce the speed to medium, add the powdered sugar and vanilla, then increase the speed again to high and whip until stiff peaks form. Load a piping bag with a round tip or Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off with whipped cream.

Clean, hull, and chop your strawberries (I preferred small pieces for easier bites) and dry them with paper towels. Pair the cookies by size and pipe whipped cream on the flat side of one cookie of each pair. Spoon on some strawberries and sandwich the whoopie pies together gently.

Whoopie pie recipe adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures