Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies with Nutella Marshmallow Cream

I have always loved the hazelnutty, chocolatey, deliciousness of Nutella. In fact, one of my most common lunches growing up was a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich. I was actually  more likely to have that than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and you never heard me complaining! This dessert is reminiscent of that yummy treat.
In my quest to create this dessert, I could not find a peanut butter whoopie pie recipe online anywhere. A lot of the recipes had a peanut butter filling, but not a peanut buttery cake part. So, I decided to create my own bit of peanut butter heaven. It came out soft and moist and not overwhelmingly sweet, which was the perfect complement to the filling. Ah, the filling- the Nutella filling was a little bit of a challenge; I didn't want to do a buttercream, but rather a marshmallow frosting. Adding the Nutella to the marshmallow frosting wasn't the greatest idea, as it made it far too liquidy (that stuff is pretty sensitive!). So in an attempt to save it, I added cream cheese. Although it was still a little more runny than is probably ideal for a filling, it sits delightfully inside its peanut buttery cakey sandwich and is still delicious.

Although none of my expert taste testers (namely, my husband) complained, the next time I make these, I think I will try a sturdier filling. Maybe a buttercream based  filling, or whipped cream, or just cream cheese....so many options! I can't wait!

As I was rereading this post, I realized that quite a few words that were written are not necessarily recognized by the English language as real words. However, I left them as is because I feel that maybe the folks at Merriam-Webster should reconsider. I think words like cakey, liquidy, chocolatey, etc would all be wonderful additions to the English language, don't you? It sure would make my life easier. 

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies with Nutella Marshmallow Cream
Makes about 18 whoopie pies

For the cookie:

  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons shortening
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Using a mixer, beat the butter, shortening and dark brown sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the peanut butter and continue to beat until smooth. Add the eggs and beat until combined.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, in several additions. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.
  5. Using a cookie scoop (mine was 1 1/2 tbsp) drop balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches of space between the cookies. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cookie and edges are just turning golden brown. Let the cookies cool on baking sheet for 1-2 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
For the filling
{adapted from Martha Stewart}

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1- 8 oz block of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2-3/4 cups Nutella
  1. Place egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, ensuring that the bowl is not touching the water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch, about 3-4 minutes. 
  2. Transfer the bowl to the electric mixer. Using the whisk attachment, start on low speed and gradually increase to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 - 7 minutes. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Transfer to new bowl.
  3. In clean bowl of mixer, beat cream cheese with paddle attachment until smooth. Start by adding in 1/2 cup of Nutella. Then gradually add in marshmallow cream mixture until desired texture is achieved. Add additional Nutella if needed.

Pipe or spoon filling onto the bottom of one cookie. I learned (by very messy trial and error) that it's best to let the filling sit on the bottom half of the cookie for about 5 minutes before placing another cookie on top. It seemed to stiffen up more that way. If there is leftover plain marshmallow filling, feel free to use that instead of the Nutella mixture in some of the whoopie pies if desired!

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