Monday, October 29, 2012

Chocolate Caramel Crunch Whoopie Pies


I'm just warning you before you start reading and wonder, "What the heck is she going on about?!" --I have a bunch of unrelated things I want to talk about and no real way to connect the thoughts, so I'm not even going to try.

Just go with it.

1. First things first - East coast friends who are hunkering down for Hurricane Sandy... stay safe. I am thinking of you and hoping for the best! And in case the storm zaps your power but not your appetite, here are some recipes that don't require electricity. {Some are a bit questionable, but you do what you gotta do.}

2. My Gators. Don't even mention it. Ugh.

3. If you haven't had a chance to check out the latest Willow Bird Baking Challenge results, do yourself a favor and hop over to Julie's page. There are some amazing filled cupcakes going on over there. {And my Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Caramel-Pear Butter Filling and Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Frosting are among them. Holy Fall flavor explosion, Batman.}

4. For the next challenge, I need to make a cheesecake that represents ME. Um. Cool. Except I don't have the slightest idea where to begin. Thoughts? Ideas? Can you tell me what represents me?! Help!

5. Fall has finally arrived {for now} in South Florida. It was in the 50's this morning. I just about rolled around in a pile of printed scarves like a cat on a catnip-high. So excited.

6. I'm highly considering dressing like this permanently.

 
This was my Halloween costume for the party we attended over the weekend. I made my husband dress up like "The Milkman" and we gave him a {faux} black eye and {real} lipstick stains as if he was caught red handed.
 
 
Gotta keep it creative!
 
6. I made you these. Because I love you. And because I don't think it's fair that kids get to have all the sugar fun.
 
 
I brought these puppies over to the Halloween party I mentioned and watched as, one by one, my friends asked what they were, took their first bite, and made "that face". You know what I'm talking about. That look that comes over someone who is in seventh heaven.
 
I think they liked them.
 
These Chocolate Caramel Crunch Whoopie Pies are my Halloween treat for you. Because you spent the week hunting high and low for the perfect costume for your little one; bought 18 bags of Halloween candy {and already polished off 3 by yourself} for the trick-or-treaters that will be knocking on your door this week; spent hours adhering edible tarantula legs to the cupcakes going to your child's classroom party; watched Hocus Pocus for the 112th time this month {I'm not going to lie, I've watched it twice. By myself.}
 
Or, if you didn't have to do any of the above... just because you deserve it.
 
 
They're inspired by Nestle's 100 Grand candy bars that I coveted as a kid and still love as an adult, and also by this cake from the fabulous Martha. Except, I snuck in a little booze with some homemade Bourbon Caramel.
 
Let your kids keep the peanut butter cups this year. Make some of these for yourself.
 
 
Chocolate Caramel Crunch Whoopie Pies
Inspired by Martha Stewart, Cake recipe adapted from Epicurious
 
For the cake:
 
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two large baking sheets by lining with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

3. Combine buttermilk, vanilla, and coffee in a separate small bowl.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy.

5. Add egg and beat until fully combined.

6. Pour in about 1/3 of the dry mixture, mixing until just incorporated, then pour in half of the buttermilk mixture. Continue this process, alternating between wet and dry until it is all added.

7. Using a small scoop (about 1 1/2 tablespoons for smaller pies like the ones I made} or a piping bag fitted with a plain round tip, scoop or pipe batter onto baking sheets about 2 inches apart.

8. Bake for 11-12 minutes until set. {Tops should spring back when lightly touched.}

9. Remove from oven and let cool on a baking rack.
 
 
For the filling:
 
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups marshmallow fluff
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1 1/2-2 cups confectioners' sugar {will depend on consistency you prefer}

1. Beat all ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixture until smooth and creamy.

2. Place in a piping bag with a plain round tip. Set aside until ready to fill pies.
 
 
For the crunch:
 
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup puffed rice cereal such as Rice Krispies

1. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

2. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl for about 1 minute on high {at 30 second intervals}, until smooth and melted.

3. Pour in rice cereal and stir until fully coated.

4. Spread onto prepared pan and smooth into a thin layer.

5. Place in freezer for about 15 minutes until fully set. Remove and break into small pieces, or chop with a sharp knife.

Set aside until ready to assemble pies.
 
 
For the caramel:
 
I used this recipe for Whiskey Caramels, but used bourbon instead, and only cooked the caramel to about 236 degrees so that it would remain a sauce instead of hardened candies. You can also buy storebought caramel sauce if you don't want to make your own.

Fill a small zip top plastic bag with cooled caramel, and snip a small hole in the corner to use as a piping bag.


Assembly:

1. Pipe filling in a circle around the edge of half of the whoopie pies. {Leave a small well in the middle for caramel, it'll help keep it from running out.}

2. Fill wells with caramel sauce, allowing some to overflow from centers onto top of filling if desired.

3. Pipe a thinner layer of icing onto remaining whoopie pie halves. Sprinkle chocolate crunchies onto filling or dip into a bowl of chocolate crunchies to adhere.

4. Top caramel filled halves with crunchy topped halves to form little sandwiches.


Enjoy!
 


11 comments:

Trina said...

Cheesecake idea - Cuban, sweet, looks simple/cute on the outside but has a ton of pizazz on the inside ;) Good luck!

I'm definitely going to have to try this recipe out! Maybe if it's not too bad tomorrow I'll run to the store {if it's actually open} and grab the few ingredients I don't have :)

The Kitchen Prep said...

Trina - We're definitely on the same page with the cheesecake ideas! Thought about going the Cuban route, but still not sure... so many delicious options!

Be careful if you decide to wander out there! Sounds like you might be better off staying indoors from what I hear. Stay dry! :)

Heather Kinnaird said...

Oh my goodness - I NEED to make these like right now

Tanya-Lemonsforlulu.com said...

Very cute costume idea!! But these whoopie pies are amazing! You are right, why should kids get all the treats! Such a great idea!

The Kitchen Prep said...

@Heather - Yes! Especially if you're looking for a chocolate buzz! ;) Let me know how you like them!

@Tanya - Thank you! These were definitely better than Tootsie Rolls & candy corn. ;) Thanks for stopping by!

Marie said...

Yum-O ! and you are guys are super cute!

The Kitchen Prep said...

Thanks, Marie! :)

Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust said...

Holy cow. These are amazing! And you guys are too cute!

The Kitchen Prep said...

Thanks, Dorothy! Worth every calorific bite. ;) Thanks for stopping by!

noobyliscious said...

These will definately be my next quest in the kitchen, sounds amazing!

The Kitchen Prep said...

@Noobyliscious - Thanks! Please let me know how they turn out for you... enjoy! :)

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