July 28, 2011

Banana Whoopie Pies with Caramel Cream Cheese Filling

banana whoopie pies
I'm sure most people buy a bunch of bananas with the intention of eating them all before they get too ripe, which always seems to happen too quickly. I, on the other hand, buy a bunch of bananas with the explicit purpose of waiting for them to get ripe before I will pay any attention to them. Sure, regular bananas are great too, but there's not a whole lot you can do with them (other than putting them in my very favourite sandwich - grilled peanut butter and banana, aka the Elvis sandwich). Ripe bananas, on the other hand, are the key ingredient to so many of my favourite snacks and desserts.

There are three things I use ripe bananas most often in, all of which you have to try if you haven't before!

1. Green Monster smoothies

These may sound and look like something that came from the swamp, but they are so good and good for you too. Keep a bunch of ripe bananas in the freezer, then add them to this smoothie with some milk, a bit of nut butter, ground flax seeds, and the secret ingredient, spinach. The spinach adds a ton of nutrients but the best part is that you can't even taste it. The classic green monster recipe, developed by Angela from Oh She Glows is here, but check out this page for a ton of other ideas!

2. One ingredient ice cream

This has been very popular in the blog world, but if you haven't heard of it before, prepare to be amazed! Throw a frozen ripe banana in the blender or food processor and sit back to watch. Pretty soon, you will see it magically reach the consistency of soft serve ice cream, and that's all there is too it! It's great for quickly satisfying an ice cream craving, but leaves you guilt-free! Feel free to experiment with other add-ins, like this peanut butter banana ice cream on Two Peas and Their Pod.

3. Baked goods

This one is a no-brainer. Banana bread, muffins, and cake are pretty much the best things in the world. Ripe bananas even make a healthy substitute for fatty ingredients like butter in some baked goods.

This brings me to this recipe for banana whoopie pies, which may be one of the least healthy uses for ripe bananas, but just whip up a green monster smoothie after you make these and I think that will balance it out.

banana whoopie pies
The recipe comes from Annie over at Annie's Eats, who has never failed to disappoint me with her recipes. I only discovered whoopie pies recently, but have since been trying as many flavour combinations as possible. If you haven't heard of a whoopie pie before, it's basically a little cake sandwich with frosting in the middle. You actually might want to introduce them as cake sandwiches when you offer them to people, as I've found most people don't really jump to try a whoopie pie when they have no idea what it is.

The original recipe called for a swiss meringue buttercream in the middle, but since cream cheese icing is and will always be my favourite, I used it instead. I brought these to a party and probably ended up eating half of them myself, but anyone who got a chance to try one loved them!

Banana Whoopie Pies with Caramel Cream Cheese Filling

Slightly adapted from Annie's Eats

30-36 sandwich cookies


Caramel sauce:
½ cup sugar
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup mashed ripe banana (about 1-1½ bananas)
½ cup sour cream
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream cheese frosting:
4 oz cream cheese (about half a block)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup icing sugar
½ cup caramel sauce (above)

*This may make more filling than you will need for this recipe. I used the leftovers on my pancakes the next day!


Caramel sauce:
1. Pour the sugar in an even layer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Watch closely, and once the sugar starts to liquefy around the edges, stir it gently with a spatula towards the center. Continue stirring gently until all of the sugar is melted and no hard bits remain.
2. Once the caramel reaches a deep amber color, remove it from the heat.
3. Carefully whisk in half of the cream. The mixture will bubble and steam violently. Stir until the cream is thoroughly combined, then whisk in the remaining cream.
4. If the mixture has clumped up at all, return the pan to medium-low heat and whisk gently until smooth. Stir in the salt and vanilla.
5. Remove from the heat and let cool. (The sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheated.)

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3. In a small bowl, combine the mashed banana and sour cream.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and the sugars on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Blend in the egg and vanilla.
5. With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding in the dry ingredients and the banana mixture, mixing each addition until just incorporated.
6. Drop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets a few inches apart and smooth into about 1¼ inch rounds. If you want the cookies to be more perfectly shaped, you can use a pastry bag with a round tip to pipe them into circles, but I just use a spoon.
7. Bake about 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookies are just set and the edges are starting to brown. Let cook on the baking sheets 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
2. With the mixer on low, gradually add the icing sugar until combined, then increase the speed to medium-high to continue mixing until smooth and creamy.
3. Stir in the caramel sauce until well blended.

Assembling the whoopie pies:
1. Spread out the cooled cookies with the flat sides facing up, and match them into pairs by size as best as you can. Spread a dollop of filling onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair, then sandwich the cookies together. Store in an airtight container.


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  2. I love Annie's recipes, and this one is definitely one of her best!  I made mine with the SMB, they barely lasted a day in my house :)


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