Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies
Pregnant and jonesing for a treat? Or maybe the idea of banana, cocoa and peanut butter all rolled into a whoopie pie just speak to you, but you want them to offer some nutrition? Tara Mataraza Desmond has written a book, Full Belly, aimed at eating healthily through pregnancy and beyond. These whoopie pies feature whole wheat flour, cashews, and light coconut milk and come together for a satisfying treat. Check out her Ginger Cookies as well. With every recipe she explains the nutritional benefits of the ingredients. You will know how you are taking care of yourself with her wholesome recipes – as well as baking up something sweet for yourself and to share.
Reprinted with permission from Full Belly: Good Eats for a Healthy Pregnancy © 2014 Tara Mataraza Desmond, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.
During my first pregnancy, whoopie pie mania was sweeping the food world. There were cookbooks dedicated to them, storefronts showing them off, and magazine centerfolds reserved for them. I think I could count on one hand the number of times in my life I’d eaten them before, and while the cake-like sandwich with fluffy filling doesn’t have to try hard to sell itself, I would typically swoon over about a hundred other sweet treats first. But during that pregnancy, those soft little mounds put a dumbstruck look in my eye and a bit of drool on my lip. So I set out to make a whoopie pie that would make me feel good about . . . or at least not that bad about . . . giving in to the temptation. Compared with a popular recipe for a classic fluff-stuffed whoopie, this one has nearly 200 fewer calories, 7 less g of fat and only 1 g of saturated fat (as opposed to 8), no cholesterol (rather than 51 mg), and not an ounce less of oozy, messy, sticky indulgent goodness. This recipe’s richness comes from raw cashew cream and light coconut milk, not butter or oils. The bananas and just ¹⁄2 cup/110 g of granulated sugar supply the cake’s sweetness. What’s more, chocolaty peanut butter BCPBs beg to be washed down with a glass of cold milk, a perfect source of calcium.
- 1¹⁄2 cups/187 g whole wheat pastry flour
- ¹⁄2 cup/47 g unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¹⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¹⁄2 cup/76 g raw cashews
- ¹⁄2 cup plus 3 tablespoons/ 162 ml light coconut milk, divided
- 3 large over-ripe bananas
- ¹⁄2 cup/110 g granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¹⁄2 cup/131 g creamy natural peanut butter
- 1 cup/117 g confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C/Gas 5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Put the cashews and ¹⁄2 cup/118 ml of the coconut milk in the carafe of a blender. Blend until a thick cream forms, about 20 to 30 seconds. Add the bananas, granulated sugar, and vanilla and blend again until smooth, about 30 seconds.
- Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Fold everything together into a dense batter using a large rubber spatula.
- Drop 36 heaping tablespoons of batter with about 1 inch/2.5 cm of space around each one on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cakes are dry but still soft to the touch. Transfer the cakes to a rack and cool completely.
- While the cakes cool, make the filling. Using an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and remaining 3 tablespoons of coconut milk in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar a few tablespoons at a time, until all of it is incorporated and the peanut butter mixture is smooth and thick.
- Once the cakes are cool, assemble the whoopie pies. Spread 1 tablespoon of the peanut butter filling on the flat side of one of the cakes. Sandwich it with another cake to complete the whoopie pie.
- Refrigerate for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
BELLY BONUS: While most versions induce a sugar high that quickly deflates like a whoopee cush-ion, these whoopie pies actually offer sustaining energy with protein from nuts, natural sugars, and whole grain flour. Pack one as a to-go snack or an afternoon pick-me-up.
NUTRITION PER SERVING (1 WHOOPIE PIE) Calories 190 | Total fat 7 g (Saturated 1 g, Poly 0 g, Omega-3 0.01 g, DHA 0.00 g, EPA 0.00 g, Mono 1 g) | Cholesterol 0 mg | Protein 5 g | Sodium 161 mg | Carbohydrates 31 g | Fiber 3 g | Sugars 16 g | Vitamin A 1 mcg | Vitamin B6 0 mg | Vitamin B12 0 mcg | Vitamin C 2 mg | Vitamin D 0 IU | Choline 3 mg | Folate 7 mcg | Calcium 13 mg | Iron 1 mg