Here’s a belated Valentine’s treat for you. I found these on Annie’s Eats, and I couldn’t resist making them for the coworkers before the long weekend. They didn’t turn out as well as I hoped, I suspect overmixing was the cause, but they certainly looked cute! I heard from most everyone that they were extremely dense, actually more like mini cakes than like cookies, so that’s just an fyi.
Red Velvet Cake has always been something that intrigued me, mainly because it’s sooooo red. My college roommate’s mother sent us some when we were living together, and that was the first exposure I’d ever had to it. I guess it’s not that weird, seeing as her mother was from Louisiana, and I am not remotely southern.
I followed this recipe to a ‘T’ except that (as it turned out) I didn’t have enough food coloring. They still came out pretty vivid, though Annie’s were really in technicolor, and there was nothing I could do anyway so I didn’t really worry. Oh yeah, and I over-mixed the batter, but live and learn. I think what happened was I was busy looking for the food coloring and forgot that the mixer was still going and that I’d have to mix even further once the color was in. Oy.
So here are some cute heart-shaped whoopie pies, which could easily be piped into other shapes for your special occasion.
RED VELVET WHOOPIE PIES
for the cakes:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 8 tbsp (1/2 cup) unsalted butter at room temp
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup buttermilk – room temp
- 1 oz red food coloring (I only had 1/4 ounce as it turned out)
for the filling:
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2.5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
The directions say to preheat oven to 375º, but I actually didn’t do it until after I’d made the batter because I knew it would take me at least as long to pipe the hearts as it would for the oven to heat. If you work faster than I do, feel free to heat up early. Otherwise I’ll remind you again later on in the directions
Using a heart template, whether it be a cookie cutter or a cutout from card stock (I personally cut up one of the fliers I received in the mail and was going to toss anyway), trace evenly spaced hearts on 2 sheets of parchment paper. I wasn’t sure if pen or pencil mattered, but I used a pencil. I did, like she did, 3 hearts facing up, then 3 facing down, alternating so I had rows of 4 and columns of 3. Since my picture didn’t come out well, I will refer you to Annie’s. Before you put the batter down, flip over your paper so the inked side is facing down.
In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients – flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Then beat in the egg and vanilla. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. With the mixer on low, beat in the dry ingredients and buttermilk, alternating so you start and end with the dry ingredients. Then add in the food coloring. I’d add the coloring a little earlier so you don’t risk over-mixing like I did. Oh yeah, DO NOT OVERBEAT! Just wanted to make sure you got that.
If you haven’t already done so, preheat your oven to 375º (oh, also… if you’re like me and had to ask someone how to make the º symbol, on a mac it’s option+Zero. Sorry PC users, can’t help you.)
Transfer the batter to a pastry bag with a large, plain round tip.
I only got about half the batter in the bag, what a nightmare. No lie. Probably from the over-mixing and whatnot, this batter was EXTREMELY STICKY. It was a pain to get in the bag, and a pain to pipe out. Just do your best. Using your tracing paper as a guide, pipe hearts onto the parchment.
I did 2 sheets at a time. Bake for 7-9 minutes, and rotate your sheets and swap them from top to bottom.
After I baked the first set, I noticed how obvious the piping lines were once the cookies were baked. They weren’t smooth adorable hearts so much as modern art pieces. I tried to remedy this in the subsequent batches by using my finger to try to smooth over the ridge. Again, EXTREMELY sticky, so I ended up with weird pimples coming out of the batter in all directions. I’ll have to figure something else out if I decide make these again.
Let the cookies cool on the sheets for a bit before you can transfer them to a cooling rack. I actually didn’t let them sit too long, as I had another batch of cookies to be made, and a spatula worked just fine for transferring these. They weren’t flimsy at all, which is when I started to suspect something went wrong… Anyway, you can’t fill the cookies until they’re finished cooling, so while that’s happening you should start making the frosting!
Use your stand mixer to beat the cream cheese and butter until they’re smooth. Add the vanilla, and then gradually beat in the powdered sugar until incorporated. Don’t turn up the speed until it’s mixed in, or you will inhale sugar. I’ve mentioned before how this isn’t nearly as appealing as it would seem.
Now your cookies are cool, so pair them off into twos. It’s best to do this beforehand to make sure the cookie sizes match up. Otherwise you have some weird sandwiches. (I had a few.)
Turn the cookies over, and pipe some frosting in the middle of one of them. Don’t put too much in, and don’t put so much it goes over to the edges. You’ll want to adhere the cookies with the frosting, and when you gently smush them together the frosting will spread out to the sides.
I ended up with a little over 4 dozen cookies, which left me with about 26 sandwiches. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Hope these bring smiles to the people in your life!