This post was created in partnership with Colavita. All opinions are our own.
Our living room is glowing. Yes, this holiday season is going to feel very different, but we are making the best of it: playing Christmas music on repeat and sipping bourbon cream as we hang colorful decorations around the house. And even though we’ve been a couple for almost two decades, this will be the first Christmas tree we’ve ever put up together. Normally in December we fly to Portland, Oregon to visit Ryan’s family, but since we won’t be traveling anytime soon, we wanted to re-create that welcoming, festive atmosphere here in our own home. So this year will have firsts for both of us: Ryan’s first Christmas away from his parents and brothers, and Adam’s first tree of his own, since he grew up celebrating Hanukkah, eating latkes and noodle kugel, and lighting the menorah instead. Well, right now the Husbands’ house is extra sparkly because this winter we are lighting up both. And since many families will be apart this season, we were inspired to create something special to try and make up for it. If we had to pick just one word to describe this heavenly treat, that word would be “cloud.” When you take one bite of this soft, cake-like cookie, you will understand exactly what we mean. Here to make everything merry and bright, would you please welcome this holiday hero, Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Marshmallow Cream.
This has been quite the year for everyone. What’s the saying, when life gives you lemons, make whoopie pie? Well, life has been giving us plenty of lemons in 2020 so let’s make some pie! Wait, you’ve never had a whoopie pie? Oh, don’t feel bad that you’re only missing out on one of the best desserts ever invented! If you like gingerbread, then you are going to love it in the form of a silky whoopie pie. Our secret ingredient for the most tender crumb is a splash of olive oil, and today we’re using the Premium Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Colavita. They are a family brand with a passion for producing the highest quality ingredients, and their flavorful, peppery olive oil makes these cookies extra soft and moist.
All we want for Christmas are these whoopie pies: two soft, cake-like, gingerbread cookies are sandwiched together with a smooth vanilla marshmallow cream. These chewy “cookies” are filled with classic gingerbread flavors of cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, cloves, allspice, fresh nutmeg, molasses, and brown sugar. Hopefully next year we can all celebrate in person and eat whoopie pies together in the same room. But until then, deck your halls with these handheld gingerbread treats and make your socially distanced holidays the most wonderful time of the year.
Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Marshmallow Cream
Makes 8 to 10 large cookie sandwiches
For the gingerbread cakes:
2 1/4 cups (270 g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup (213 g) brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons (74 ml) blackstrap molasses
1/4 cup (60 ml) Colavita Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
7 tablespoons (104 ml) buttermilk or kefir (see note)
For the vanilla marshmallow cream:
1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup (113 g) powdered sugar
7 ounces (198 g) Marshmallow Fluff or other
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
To make the cakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C, and arrange two racks in the center of the oven. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder. salt, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg. Whisk the dry ingredients until evenly mixed, then set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar and continue to beat until smooth and soft, with no lumps of sugar remaining, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the molasses, extra-virgin olive oil, and buttermilk, beating until smooth between each addition. Add the flour mixture, and stir by hand just until no dry streaks of flour remain and the batter is smooth.
Scoop about 3 tablespoons of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets in a small mound, then repeat with the remaining batter, leaving a few inches of space between each scoop of batter. You should end up with about 8 scoops per baking sheet. Bake on the two center racks in the oven, swapping positions halfway through, until the edges are dry and the centers of the cakes are set but still appear wet, 10 to 12 minutes (If you have only one oven rack, the pans can be baked one at a time; the batter will be unaffected). Let the cakes cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, 30 to 45 minutes.
To make the filling:
While the cakes are cooling, whip the butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Place a fine-mesh strainer over the bowl and pour in the powdered sugar, sifting to remove any lumps. Beat until smooth and creamy. Add the Marshmallow Fluff, vanilla, and salt, and continue beating until smooth.
Place one of the cooled cakes flat-side-up on a piece of parchment. Scoop or pipe several tablespoons of filling on the cake in an even layer about 1/2-inch thick. Top with a second cake flat-side-down to make a sandwich. Serve immediately, or keep in a covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Enjoy!
— For both the cakes and the filling, it is important that the butter be at room temperature. Cold butter does not blend well and will affect the texture of the final product.
— If you do not have buttermilk or kefir, you can make a buttermilk substitute using milk and lemon juice. Simply combine 1/2 cup milk with 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar, and let the mixture sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes to curdle. Use 7 tablespoons of this mixture to replace the buttermilk in the recipe above.
— If the cakes spread while they bake and end up touching each other, this can be fixed. As soon as the pan comes out of the oven and the cakes are still hot, you can use a spatula to gently separate them and nudge them back into a circular shape.
— When storing the whoopie pies, keep them in a single layer to prevent them from sticking together. If you need to stack them, place squares of parchment or wax paper between each one.