We live in a world with rules. Now it may not seem like it because the world rarely follows these rules. Evil often goes unpunished and sometimes the hero doesn’t get the girl but the rules exist nonetheless. Things do happen for a reason and to paraphrase the genius Ian Malcolm immortalized by Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park: Life finds a way.
The same goes for Vegan Baking. Vegan Cupcakes have yet again dominated in Cupcake Wars. Vegan donuts, cheesecakes and various other sweets are popping up in mainstream groceries and bakeries all over the world. There seems to be nothing that can’t be made cruelty-free! This is the story of how one little batch of vegan whoopie pies came to be.
The cakey cookies in this recipe were easy enough. I wanted something that would recreate a dark chocolate flavor so that the sweet tanginess of the strawberries would really shine through. I also wanted fluffy cakey cookies so that the whoopie pies would be a bit more rounded like a chocolate covered strawberry than a cookie sandwich. The funny thing was that I thought the frosting was going to be the easy part.
I wanted to use real fresh strawberries for the frosting rather than using strawberry extract and red food coloring. Right now some of you are nodding your head and know where I’m going.
See, strawberries, while a lovely berry that is just beautiful, happen to have a subtle flavor that can be easily overpowered. Perhaps that’s part of their charm – like cucumbers and star fruit. Strawberries don’t show off. Which brings me to the frosting that I made with fresh strawberries. The frosting that was an amazing pink without using any food coloring while still having small bits of strawberries you could spot swirled in. The rosy frosting that tasted just like a spoonful of sugar. Our fresh strawberries flavor was completely lost and adding more strawberries only made the frosting have an unpleasant texture.
So I thought back to a trick I remembered from our good friend Betty Crocker. See Betty has had a number of cakes with strawberry frosting and fillings over the years. In almost all of them she recommends mixing strawberry jam or strawberries in syrup with vanilla frosting. In there seems the key to our success. So yesterday, I bundled up and went to Whole Foods to buy a jar of organic jam with the least amount of sugar I could find.
I tested one whoopee pie with just the jam before I committed to another batch of frosting and couldn’t believe how absolutely perfect it was. Messy and sticky? Yes! But the flavor was spot on what I was hoping for and kinda actually better.
So please enjoy these whoopie pies that combine both sweet and bitter in a way that is chocolatey and has actual strawberries in it!
Vegan Baking finds a way!
Chocolate Strawberry Whoopie Pies
3 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Almond Flour (you can replace it with regular flour)
1 teaspoon Crushed Pink Himalayan Salt
1 1/2 Cups Premium Dutch Cocoa Powder (any cocoa powder works this will just make it “darker” in flavor)
1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Cup Margarine (soft)
2 Cups + 2 teaspoons Sugar
2 Tablespoons Applesauce
2 Cups Vanilla Soy Milk
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
The best real fruit based Strawberry Preserves or Jam you can find
Heat oven to 400.
In your largest mixing bowl, blend Flour, Almond Flour, Salt, Cocoa Powder, Baking Soda and Baking Powder with a whisk.
In another bowl, blend Margarine, Sugar and Applesauce with an electric hand held mixer until your ingredients are creamy. Then move your Margarine mix to your bowl with the Flour mix and blend until smooth. Then gradually mix in your Soy Milk, Vanilla and Almond Extract until your batter is completely blended and smooth.
Spray down your whoopie pie pan with Baking Spray. You can see what those look like here.
Fill your frosting gun or pastry bag with your batter and if you are using a whoopie pie pan gently fill the cups 3/4 of the way. The cookies are going to expand while baking so make sure your cups are evenly filled.
If you are using a cookie sheet, still use the frosting gun or pastry page because it will give you nice smooth edges. Make even “coins” or cookies evenly spaced on your sheet. Don’t go too big like monster cookie sized because like I said they get get bigger when you bake them. It’s really important to try to keep all your cookies the same size and to have an even amount.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are golden brown. They are soft cookies so you don’t want them too crispy and don’t be surprised if they rise A LOT. Let them cool on a wire rack with the bottom side down so you don’t mess up the pretty side.
Fill your frosting gun with the Strawberry Jam and use your largest tip. Once your cookies are completely cool to the touch, put no more than a tablespoon of Strawberry Jam in the very center of one cookie and then using another cookie around the same size and shape to finish your sandwich by placing it on top. Gently squeeze so that some of the Jam peaks out but be careful – the jam is much softer than even regualr whoopie pie frosting. So be careful and only slightly press.
Be prepared for these whoopie pies to a little sticky when you eat them… I recommend pulling them apart like an oreo and eating one side at a time... with a loved one and maybe some of that vanilla soy milk we used earlier.