Paris has become Brooklyn. It became Brooklyn in November of last year.  Maple syrup is still maple syrup, we just got a little sidetracked what with the well cooked baby of July reaching almost 10 months old and the exploration of Brooklyn and it’s pickling, brewing and baking. Life as a stay at home mother was a bit of an adjustment, there just has  not been as much time to embrace my inner chef as I had expected….

Nonetheless, cooking has continued. Bread baking is being pursued. I realise a food blog is a little like the starter for the sourdough – it needs to be refreshed, to be fed, if it’s going to grow and attract attention from your husband and perhaps even a reader or two.

One of the fun aspects to moving from France to the US has been discovering American baking. I had never heard of a lot of the most popular desserts here, for example the Whoopie pie – essentially a biscuit sandwich in various flavours that has its roots in Amish home baking in Pennsylvania but is also the official state treat of Maine – see the Wikipedia entry….

Before I left Paris I was told by none other then David Lebovitz to make a pilgrimage to Baked of Red Hook. So I did. It was seriously worth it. Wandering through rather barren streets with only Ikea and the Atlantic ocean before me, I came across this small oasis of baking that has bravely set up shop in one of the more off the beaten track neighbourhoods of Brooklyn and is famous for its delicious cookies and baked goods including a whoopie pie.

I tried two different recipes for both chocolate and pumpkin whoopie pies. The chocolate one is from Epicurious.  The other can be found here at the Brown Eyed Baker. For the cakes themselves, I found that a recipe using just baking soda produced a fluffier whoopie pie. While the traditional whoopie pie  filling was almost always made with marshmallow fluff, yet another good old all-American treat, hoarded and stockpiled by ex-pats in Paris, I decided to go with a less toxic cream cheese filling using maple syrup in both cases.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup  buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg

Making

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and in a separate bowl stir together the buttermilk and vanilla.

Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl  until pale and fluffy, then add the egg, beating until combined. Alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.

Using a dessert spoon or a cookie dropper, spoon  batter about 2 inches apart onto large baking sheets.  Bake until cakes spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool using a spatula.

The cakes can be made in advance of the filling which I made a little less sweet then the recipes I had seen called for….

Filling (adjust to your recipe and the number of pies you made)

4 oz of cream cheese

2 oz butter

3 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 cup icing sugar (confectioners sugar)