Whoopie pies? Whoop-dee-do!
That's how I USED to feel about them.
But things are different now between me and the big whoop, and I'll tell you why.
I've had gluten-free whoopie pies on my task list for at least a year. They've been a project in procrastination mode for me, mostly because I don't eat them. It's a challenge to generate excitement about something I've never eaten in my entire life.
But sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do, right?
I really fought with this project. I tried making a gluten-free chocolate version many months ago and just couldn't balance the texture. The first outcome was too dense, the second one fell apart and, while trying to combat the issue, I ended up compromising the flavor. I tried oil, then butter, and more chocolate. I even tweaked the flour blend. No dice.
I was exhausted, covered in cocoa powder, and had nothing to show for it. Nothing edible, that is. Not even filling!
I had put up a good fight, but felt it best to put my mission on hold.
So how did I end up turning my relationship with these sassy snack cakes into something more respectful?
I owe it all to our U.S.A.-grown almond flour!
With its subtle nuttiness and incredible texture-enhancing properties, almond flour is widely used in baking, especially gluten-free baking. It lends fat, protein, and flavor, while offering a low-carb, gluten-free "flour" option. It helped me turn the corner in my whoopie pie efforts, that's for sure!
And now that we're harvesting strawberries here at our local Vermont farms, why not make a seasonal version of this familiar Pennsylvania Dutch (and Maine) dessert that can now be made so many ways?
Join me (I promise this will be a non-confrontational tour) in the test kitchen on my journey toward Strawberry-Vanilla Whoopie Pie wellness!
Preheat your oven to 325° and lightly grease two half sheet pans or line them with parchment.
This nifty and very popular (especially among toddlers) snack is freeze-dried. We're using freeze-dried strawberries for the whoopie pies, but you can also find peaches, bananas, mango, and raspberries on the store shelves.
Regular dried strawberries, though tasty, unfortunately won't work for this recipe, as they're too chewy to grind into powder form; freeze-dried berries are the ones to choose.
Begin the recipe by pulverizing 1 cup freeze-dried strawberries into a coarse powder, which will yield about 1/3 cup. Some slightly bigger pieces? That's OK, no need for uniformity!
Add the ground strawberries to the bowl of your stand mixer along with the following ingredients:
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Stir until evenly blended.
Add 4 tablespoons of butter,
and 1/2 cup of milk.
Mix everything together on medium speed until the batter is smooth. Stir in 1 to 2 drops of red food color if you'd like the finished cakes to be a brighter pink.
Drop the batter on the prepared baking sheets with a cookie scoop (which holds about 4 teaspoons of batter) and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
If you want larger whoopie pies, use a muffin scoop; and bake them for about 17 minutes.
The cakes will spring back lightly to the touch when they're done. Cool them completely before filling.
We're about to make your not-so-typical whoopie pie filling! Ready?
Start by whipping 1/4 cup sliced fresh strawberries, 2 tablespoons soft butter, 4 tablespoons soft cream cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla bean paste and 1 to 2 drops of strawberry flavor (optional) together. The strawberries will break down and give a pink color to the filling. Begin adding 2 cups of confectioner's sugar, 1/4 cup at a time,
scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.
Transfer the filling mixture to another bowl.
Add 3/4 cup heavy cream to the bowl of your stand mixer, and whip the cream to stiff peaks.
Fold the whipped cream into the filling, about 1/3 at a time.
The filling should be light, fluffy, and fairly uniform (some streaks are fine); stir gently so as not to deflate the whipped cream.
You can use a piping bag to pipe the filling onto the cooled cakes, or just dollop on a few heaping spoonfuls, and top with another cake.
If you're a die-hard whoopie pie fan, I'm hoping these will be a refreshing break from the ordinary and a great excuse to get out there and pick some local strawberries before the season ends!
Please read, bake, and review our recipe for Strawberry-Vanilla Whoopie Pies.
Print just the recipe.