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I live in a luxuriously big apartment. So big in fact that we have a “study” (which is really Boyfriend’s man cave) and a completely unnecessary but totally delightful tent room (which is obviously my room). BUT when my parents come to town all 1,000 square feet begin to feel a bit cramped.

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I should explain that I come from a big, loud italian family. We don’t really talk. We have loud, forceful discussions about everything. If we disagree, or even if we agree, we generally speak about 10 decibals louder and with more gusto than normal people do. “WHERE’S THE VEGETABLE PEELER?” “IN THE SECOND DRAWER ON THE LEFT!” “LET’S MAKE PASTA ALLA CARBONARA FOR DINNER.” “YEAH! AND WE CAN MAKE STRING BEANS.” We also call each other all day long, never to talk about anything substantive, but merely to “check in.” Drives Boyfriend crazy.

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Boyfriend, an introvert and a slow-talker, is always a little ill at ease when my parents and I start going. So to allay his anxiety, I resolved to delight him with an adaptation of our favorite cupcakes - red velvet whoopie pies.

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With a hint of cocoa, and a nice dollop of cream cheese frosting, these are fluffy balls of perfection. They’re a wonderful choice when in need of de-stressing. One bite can drown out everything else, even the roar of crazy Italian people.

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Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies from

Better Homes and Gardens

Whoopie Pie Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 1-ounce bottle red food coloring (2 Tbsp.)

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (or if you’re like me, add a bit at a time until it’s sweet enough)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. For the whoopie pies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment (or your trusty PAM); set aside. In medium bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high 30 seconds. Beat in brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, beating after each addition just until combined. Stir in food coloring.
  3. Spoon batter in 1- or 2-inch diameter rounds, about ½-inch high on prepared baking sheets, allowing 1 inch between each round.
  4. Bake 7 to 9 minutes for 1-inch cookies or 9 to 11 minutes for 2-inch cookies, or until tops are set. Cool completely on baking sheets on rack. Remove cooled cookies from baking sheets.
  5. For the frosting: Beat the butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then vanilla; mix until smooth.
  6. To fill, take 2 whoopie pies matched in shape and size, and pipe frosting on to underside of one whoopie pie, topping with other. Repeat with other pies.
  7. Gobble down.
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