Do you remember How Stella Got Her Groove Back? Me neither. I never saw the movie; back in 1998 I was too busy riding my impossibly heavy 1950s bike around town, decked out in an ill-fitting vintage dress and black converse. The title, however, sticks in my brain. Variations of it tend to pop out of my mouth at inopportune moments, just when I want people to think I’m cool enough that I wouldn’t remember such a chick flick.
For instance, I’ve spent this week easing back into my normal cooking routine, but I managed to make some serious culinary duds in the process. After choking down a bowl of almost inedible fiery spicy carrot soup, I said, “Brittany so doesn’t have her groove back.” Seriously? Referencing that movie? In the third person? Not cool.
These matcha chocolate whoopie pies represent a turning point in the groove-getting-back. At first, I tried baking the batter in a silly mini donut pan, and every single one stuck. Groove still not back. Luckily, enough batter remained to create the whoopie pies exactly as recommended in the recipe, and they turned out perfectly. Groove gotten.
Note: according to imdb, Whoopie Goldberg appeared in How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Coincidence? Doubtful.
This recipe is from Sunset’s February issue. What I like: these really are easy, as long as you’re willing to pipe the cakelets onto your baking sheet, plus the filling recipe brilliantly upgrades a standard cream cheese frosting with mascarpone. The matcha flavor is terrific with the chocolate. Oh, and the color can’t be beat. What I don’t like: honestly, I don’t like cakey cake and that’s what this is. It is mitigated by the copious amounts of filling, but I think I’d prefer chocolate shortbread cookies. Other people are different, though, and I have to be ok with that.
Matcha Chocolate Whoopie Pies (slightly adapted from Sunset)
Yield: about 30
2 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
seeds of 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
1 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1-1/2 Tablespoons matcha (don’t be tempted to add extra–it will just be too much)
3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
3 0z. mascarpone, room temperature
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper. Measure the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix well with a whisk.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer), beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy–three minutes. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and vanilla seeds and beat on medium speed until combined. Alternate adding 1/3 of the flour mixture and 1/3 of the buttermilk, beating to combine after each addition, until both are fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl if needed.
Scrape batter into a large piping bag with a large tip, or use a plastic bag and cut a corner off to create a hole (I like to have help with that step). Pipe rounds of batter on the baking sheets that are approximately 1-1/2″ in diameter, keeping them 2″ apart. Bake for 10-13 minutes, until cakes spring back when you poke them. You will probably have to bake these in two batches. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks.
For the filling, measure the powdered sugar and matcha into a large mixing bowl and carefully whisk to combine. Add the cream cheese, mascarpone, and butter and beat on low speed until incorporated, then at medium speed until perfectly smooth.
Use a knife or spreader to spread filling on the bottom (flat) side of one cake, then sandwich another cake on it, flat side in. Repeat until you get tired and start dipping the cakes directly into the filling and eating them.