The last of the Christmas cookies: candy cane whoopie pies. If you read my blog often, you know that for family events with my mom’s siblings, I try to make something gluten free. Usually, this means flourless cake or haystacks or something of that sort, which on their own don’t have flour, but this year I decided to try to use an ingredient I see pop up a lot in gluten free recipes: xantham gum. This stuff is supposed to help mimic a recipe that would otherwise call for flour, so if you want to make something recognizable as a traditional dessert, but actually gluten-free, it seems like a staple.
So why this time did I go the xantham gum route? Because my dad, who doesn’t often request things in my baking, decided he wanted peppermint whoopie pies. Meaning I couldn’t really default to my no-flour-anyway recipes, and had to give this substitution thing a try.
Verdict: these were just OK. My main way of determining whether I’m going to like a dessert is by the taste of the batter, and the batter here was bitter and icky. I’m attributing that to the xantham gum, since everything else I’ve baked with before, and once the cookies were baked it did taste a bit better. But I think the bitter batter turned me off.
But, if you really can’t have gluten, these do the trick for a chocolate-peppermint fix.
First, in a medium bowl, whisk together gluten free flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and xantham gum. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, shortening, sugar, and dark brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract to incorporate, scraping down the sides. Add half the flour mixture and half the milk and beat on low speed to combine. Scrape down sides and add remaining flour and milk, beating until smooth. Drop batter by the rounded tablespoon about two inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375°F for about 12 minutes, until tops are dry but not cracked. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.To make the filling, beat the butter and sugar together on low speed. Add the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract and beat until desired consistency. Spread flat side of one cookie with icing and top with flat side of a second cookie. Roll in crushed candy canes. These are best served the same day, but can be stored at room temperature covered for a day or two if need be.
Gluten Free Peppermint Whoopie Pies
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose gluten free flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 4 tablespoons shortening
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
- crushed candy canes
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and xantham gum. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Beat in eggs and vanilla extract to incorporate.
- Beat in half of the dry ingredients and half of the milk. Scrape down sides of bowl. Beat in remaining dry ingredients and remaining milk.
- Drop batter by the rounded tablespoon onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375° for 12 minutes, until tops are dry but not cracked. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat sugar and butter on low speed.
- Add heavy cream, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract and beat until desired consistency.
- Spread flat half of cookies with icing, top with second cookie, and roll edges in crushed candy canes.