Not-So-Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

I have to admit, I love to cook but hardly ever bake. Baking is so precise and I feel that I don’t get to improvise as much as I would like to. However, for Valentine’s Day I really wanted to make a great dessert so I decided to give baking another try. When thinking of the colors of Valentine’s Day I immediately thought of a red velvet recipe….until I realized that most recipes call for an entire bottle of red food coloring! We aren’t really food snobs in my house, but the idea of mixing an entire bottle of food coloring into the batter turned my stomach a bit.

After thinking for a bit, I decided to swap in fresh beet juice for the food coloring. While it didn’t give the vibrant color that red velvet recipes are known for, there was a subtle tinge of red after the whoopie pies were done baking. This is a recipe that I adapted from the Food Network and you are more than welcome to leave out the beet juice entirely if you would like uncolored whoopee pies- it tastes the same either way!

2 ounces milk chocolate, melted

12 tablespoons butter, melted

½ cup light sour cream

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh beet juice

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ¼ cups flour

1 cup sugar

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 tablespoons butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix the butter, sour cream, eggs, vinegar and beet juice together. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients together. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Once everything is combined carefully add in the melted chocolate and mix well.

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Spoon batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, try to get them as uniform in size as possible and bake for about 10 minutes.

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While the cookies are baking, mix the cream cheese, butter powdered sugar and vanilla together to make the filling. Once cookies have cooled, sandwich a generous amount of filling between 2 cookies and refrigerate until firm- about 30 minutes.

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