Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Whoopie!

Even though the oven had to be on for quite some time, I had such a blast making the Weekly Wednesday Treat Day today! For this week's treat, I made these Mini Banana Whoopie Pies.

We've made chocolate whoopie pies that had a marshmallow fluff filling, but these little pies go in a different direction. I loved the texture of the banana batter - it was thick, yet billowy and was a dream to pipe with. Besides adding a tangy background, sour cream is used in the batter to keep the small cakes very moist with quite a tender crumb. To give them the best banana flavor, you'll want to make sure you use a very ripe banana - the blacker that former yellow-y outer skin is, the sweeter and more intense the meat inside will be. One large banana should yield just enough after being mashed for this recipe.

Let the cakes bake long enough so the edges take on a light golden tinge while the tops remain slightly pale - they are done when the tops spring back when slightly touched in the center. Once the myriad of rounds had cooled (we got an even 72!), I started slathering half of them with a creamy concoction of softened cream cheese, sweet confectioners' sugar and a dash of vanilla. While you can spoon the filling on the cakes, you'll make your life much easier and save time if you fill up a pastry bag or even a zip-loc bag and quickly squeezing it on.

Once assembled, give the whoopie pies a dusting of confectioners' sugar before serving for a little flare (I'll do this to the rest of them tomorrow morning). I loved the more traditional marshmallow-esque filling like we used in those other whoopie pies I mentioned earlier, but since these were much smaller, I can honestly say that we both thought this richer cream cheese filling was a good choice! The banana flavor in the cakes was nice, but I think what I really enjoyed was the depth from the combination of brown sugar and granulated sugar used for sweetness. If I would have thought about it, I would have swapped the granulated for some of the vanilla sugar I keep in a big 'ol jar in the pantry for a punch of fragrance.

Tonight's dinner was dead easy... I didn't need to use any mixing or prep bowls, no cutting boards and certainly not even a knife! The only things I dirtied up was a baking dish, measuring spoon and a measuring cup to prepare this Maple-Baked Oatmeal.

The best part? I didn't even need to turn on the oven as the baking dish was small enough to fit in our toaster oven - score! Old-fashioned rolled oats, lightly toasted sliced almonds, maple sugar and pure maple syrup are the base ingredients for this dish. Just lightly toss those together inside of the baking dish so they are evenly mixed - if you don't happen to have the lovely maple sugar (worth it though!), you can always use brown sugar. Pour in a few cups of milk and bake until the oats have softened and the milk has been absorbed. As soon as the pan comes out from the oven, dust the top with as much of your best ground cinnamon to taste - we used our favorite Vietnamese cinnamon since it is pungent, sweet and the aroma is irresistible. The texture of the baked oatmeal was soft, yet still firm enough to hold its shape while keeping a chewy quality to it - Jeff mentioned he was afraid it was going to be completely mushy, but he was quite happy with the result!


The only thing I think I would do differently is to toss a couple pinches of that cinnamon right into the dry oat mixture so the flavor would have been developed more. While we both ate it as is from the pan, you could definitely pour some additional milk on your portion for a creamy aspect. We also thought it was sweet enough for us as is, but if you have a wicked sweet tooth, stream a drizzle of pure maple syrup on top for a bit of decadence. Not a fan of almonds? Dried blueberries or cranberries would make for an excellent stand-in!

19 comments:

  1. I love baked oatmeal, it is so yummy! Oh well, I LOVE oats anything!
    The mini whoopie pies are really cute too!
    Ana

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  2. Our neighbors love homemade whoopie pies and we usually buy them from one of our farmer's markets. But with your recipe, I think a new version is in order. Thanks, Joe!

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  3. You had me at the cream cheese - I just want to call in sick today so I can make those whoopie pies!

    Oatmeal. I thought - he's making oatmeal. For dinner. Then I saw the picture and as usual it was gorgeous. You've brought oatmeal to a whole new level! It looks like a dessert (mmm, whipped cream)So thanks, I have two reasons to call in today......

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  4. Be still my beating heart! Banana whoopie pies! As soon as it starts to cool down a bit I am so making these.

    PS - I absolutely love the pics of your new little guy. So adorable! I hope all the puppy training is going well.

    Thanks again!

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  5. The whoopie pies look so good. I love all things banana, about as much as all things chocolate! I'd wondered if a whoopie pie had been made that wasn't chocolate. Gonna have to print this one, too.

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  6. Jennifer from NYC8/20/2008 10:12:00 AM

    Joe,

    You never fail to disappoint, these whoopie pies look amazingly delicious!

    p.s. please keep the pics of Gus coming. (I am in love with him!) It's great that he and, the equally amazing Max are getting along.

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  7. These treats are original. And the baked oatmeal, I never thought of doing it this way.

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  8. The mini whoopie pies are so cute and I am sure they taste wonderful!

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  9. Your Gus is TOO adorable! (As if you need to be told.) When I first saw his pic, I thought he must be half Aussie. Those eyes!

    Oh, yeah, nice-looking food, as well. ;]

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  10. Ana - Thanks! Do you have a favorite baked oatmeal recipe?

    Cate - I hope you get to try these out!

    Quinn - Hee hee! Oatmeal can be fun and interesting too!

    Kristin - So far so good on the training... no accidents inside the house!

    Katrina - I know, right? Lots of them are chocolate... so a change of pace is nice.

    Jennifer - Thank you!

    Helene - Give it a try sometime!

    Lisa - They did!

    Sophiemae - Gus loves all this attention!

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  11. What a great variation! They look super yummy!

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  12. SO delicious. The banana cake is so delicious and really moist, they're even great by themselves. Instead of the cream cheese, I made them with a peanut butter buttercream and drizzled a little chocolate ganache to finish them off. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

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  13. MS&S - Thanks!

    Danielle - We loved the little cakes - your version sounds extra decadent and I think the banana/peanut butter/chocolate combination sounds absolutely delicious!

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  14. Those Whooie Pies look delish. I love bananas, so this is a must do

    "Doc"

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  15. I made the same banana whoopie pies just yesterday and I happen found your blog!!! They turned out really delicious.
    Just to be a little different. I used Mascarpone cream cheese for 2/3 of fillings. Really good!!

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  16. Mmm...just make these banana whoopies but changed the filling. I have to say the cake is perfect! They're easy to pipe, and came out nearly perfect. They're sweet, light, and fluffy and I can't resist them, unfortunately. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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  17. Kellypea - What did you end up using as the filling?

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