Recently my love’s uncle passed away, at such a young age. Everyone was not only shocked, but heartbroken. I decided to reach out in the only way I knew how – through baking. I was looking through my Whoopie Pie book, and couldn’t quite find something that stood out to me. Then I looked in the section, ‘Whoopie Pie Mix and Match. The authors of the book came up with all different concoctions using the different Whoopie Pie recipes, along with the unique fillings. I suddenly knew what I was going to make.
My loves Noni, or grandmother, had just lost her son. She was from Argentina, and still speaks spanish quite well. An Argentina Mama… which is exactly what I made.
Argentina, Mama – from the book Whoopie Pies
Yield: About 48 two-inch cakes
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract [can vary depending on how intense you like flavor]
Dulce de Leche
2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt onto the sheet of waxed paper.
3. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening, and both sugars until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and the buttermilk and beat until combined.
4. In a measuring cup, combine the milk, baking soda, and vinegar. Add the milk mixture to the batter along with the flour mixture and beat on low until just combined. Add the vanilla and beat on medium for about 2 minutes until completely combined.
5. Using a spoon, drop about 1 tablespoon of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheet and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes each, or until the cakes begin to brown. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
Dulce de Leche
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a pie plate or other shallow, wide open proof container and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Set the pie play inside a larger baking pan and place in the over. Add enough boiling water to the baking pan to reach halfway up the side of the pie plate, without getting any water in the pie plate.
3. Bake for at least 1 hour. Carefully pull up the foil to check and, using a spoon, stir to see if the milk has thickened and turned a rich caramel color. Cover with the foil and continue to bake, checking every 10 minutes or so until it’s done. Add more boiling water as needed to keep the level at least halfway up the side of the pie plate.
4. Transfer the pie plate to the rack and let cool for about 2 hours. Use a hand mixer or a wooden spoon to beat the mixture until smooth. It should be thick enough to support a metal spoon without sinking.
5. Add to the Whoopie Pies.
Unfortunately they were made in a rush, and I did not get to take any pictures. I had to observe a friend’s daughter in between, and didn’t get to concentrate on these delights whole-heartedly. I ended up giving them to my love’s family the following day. They all told me they loved them, especially my love’s Noni – who cried as she read the card I gave her, which described why I had made these Whoopie Pies in particular. I guess that just goes to show you how it’s the little things that matter.