If you haven't already over-indulged in Holiday treats -- and if you're looking for a fun gluten free dessert to take to a party or bake with your kids -- I have just the thing: Gluten Free Whoopie Pies. And it couldn't be easier.
Basically, what I did was buy Betty Crocker's gluten free chocolate cake mix and follow the directions on the back of the box, as if I were making a cake or cupcakes. But instead of spooning the batter into a cupcake pan, I used a new Whoopie Pie baking pan I recently purchased through a fundraiser at my son's school. I had been so excited seeing this cool gadget in the catalog. I had thought, "How fun! Now I can make my own Whoopie Pies so that my son can FINALLY have one that's safe for him to eat!" Although the Whoopie Pie pan did not come with baking instructions, I merely reduced the baking time from what was detailed on the Betty Crocker box.
If you don't have a Whoopie Pie pan (I don't expect many people do!), a simple Internet search turns up plenty of places to buy them. Amazon.com has Wilton nonstick one for only $8.99.
I sprayed the pans with canola oil for better "release," filled them with the batter, and baked the Whoopie Pies for only about 10 minutes. That seemed to be perfect, although bake times will certainly vary based on your own individual oven. I'd suggest setting your oven timer for 9 minutes and checking their doneness with a toothpick. They may need a few more minutes, but keep a close eye on the oven, because you don't want to overcook them. It will be a bit of trial and error your first time around.
I found that the mix filled 28 circles, making 14 full Whoopie Pies. But becuase I only have ONE Whoopie Pie baking pan with 12 circles, I had to make several "batches." After baking the first tray, I let the pies cool in the pan for a couple minutes. Then I put them on a cooling rack, washed the pan, sprayed it with a bit more canola oil, and filled the pan again. That gave me 24 half-pies. I did this a third time and filled just four of the circles with my remaining mixture. That gave me a total of 28 half-pies. After they had cooled sufficiently, I filled them with Cherrybrook KItchen's delicious Vanilla Buttercream icing (the mix, not the pre-made tub, although that would also work just fine, as would any ready-made GF frosting). The Cherrybrook Kitchen mix just happens to be a perennial favorite of ours -- it's real buttercream icing made by adding butter to the packaged mix (which is basically confectioner's sugar and vanilla).
I refrigerated the Whoopie Pies until later that night when I served them as dessert for a dinner party we hosted for a couple other families. They were a huge hit with kids and adults alike. I'd recommend taking them out of the refrigerator an hour or so before serving, to return them to room temperature, which brings them to the right consistency and best brings out the chocolate and buttercream flavors.
Of course, you can vary the recipe by adding any flavor to the buttercream (mint, coffee, raspberry, etc.). I'd love to hear how they turned out for you...feel free to share your comments below! Enjoy!