Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Maple Brown Butter Frosting and Hazelnut Caramel Crunch are soft and chewy with flavor notes of nuts, caramel, and maple.
On the first day of the New Year it’s probably more customary to share a healthy new year’s resolution type of recipe. I’m breaking all the rules with these whoopie pies! But they might just be so wrong they’re right.
I don’t make whoopie pies very often, but when I do I go all out. I use a recipe that I developed a few years ago (I was still living in Buffalo at the time – it feels like a lifetime ago at this point!) and have slowly worked on perfecting. I like to play with the flavors and this time I had a ton of fun.
In this recipe, my standard chocolate whoopie pies (which are super soft and chewy and full of deep chocolate flavor) are sandwiched with an easy-to-make frosting that has flavor notes of maple, and thanks to brown butter, nuts and caramel. If that isn’t enough, I rolled the sides in a crunchy mixture of crushed toasted hazelnuts and caramel candy. It’s over-the-top in the best way possible.
These are decadent and rich and if you haven’t quite fully started your healthy eating kick yet, go ahead and make them. Or if you have already started eating healthy, bookmark this recipe to make later because they really are worth it.
Happy New Year, dear readers! Be sure to come back later this week because I promise I have some healthy things in store.
- 2 cups (255 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar
- ½ cup (40 g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (120 ml) avocado oil (or other neutral or light-flavored oil)
- ½ cup (120 ml) water
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
- ½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter, browned and cooled
- 2 cups (230 g) powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 to 6 teaspoons milk
- 3 hard caramel candies
- ¼ cup toasted hazelnuts
- For the cookies, preheat the oven to 350F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners.
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil, water, vanilla, vinegar, and molasses in a medium bowl. Beat the wet ingredients into the dry.
- Roll the batter into 1½-tablespoon balls and arrange them on the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie.
- Bake until the cookies are set along the outside, but still a touch doughy in the center, about 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the trays once halfway through. Let the cookies cool slightly on the trays, then use a spatula to gently transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
- For the frosting, beat together the brown butter, powdered sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Gradually beat in enough milk to make it smooth.
- For the crunch, pulse the caramel candies and hazelnuts together in a food processor until chopped fairly small.
- To make whoopie pies, once the cookies are cool, spread frosting onto the bottom of half the cookies, top with the remaining cookies to form sandwiches, and then roll the sides in the crunch.
- Store covered in the fridge for up to 5 days; let them sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.