Peanut Butter Banana Whoopie Pies

When we moved into our house 4 years ago, the couple that lives next door stopped by to introduce themselves almost immediately.  They even brought blueberry pie, winning me over on the spot :) They’ve become close friends of ours since then; the importance of good neighbors really can’t be overstated (something I’ve only really come to understand after having lived with some bad ones for a few years).  When they found out late last year they were expecting twins we were so excited for them, and couldn’t wait to meet the babies.  As the due date approached, it started looking more and more like we were going to be on our Vegas vacation when the babies arrived, and of course that’s exactly what happened.  Fortunately, everyone was healthy and they came home from the hospital just as we arrived home from our trip.

Peanut Butter Banana Whoopie  Pies

Earlier this week I had a chance to see the babies for the first time and chat with their dad (Pete) for a few minutes.  I was blown away by how teeny tiny they were (just below 5 lbs each, I think) and by the full head of dark hair they each had.  In the course of our conversation, I asked if I could drop off some meals for the family, but Pete assured me they’d planned ahead and had plenty of food.  What they really wanted was dessert.  They’d definitely come to the right person!

Peanut Butter Banana Whoopie  Pies

Pete had specifically mentioned a craving for whoopie pies so that was my first order of business.  Inspiration was lacking though, so I asked for recipe suggestions on my Facebook page.  You guys were full of great ideas – huge thanks, I plan to make several of them over the next few months!  I knew Jeannette‘s suggestion of banana whoopie pies with peanut butter filling would be a big hit with our neighbors, so they were first up.  After sampling one, I’ll admit I was tempted to keep a few here for myself – they were delicious!  Fluffy banana cookies sandwiched with creamy peanut butter cream cheese frosting – the perfect treat for the new parents, I think.  The only thing that might make these even better?  Chocolate ganache – sandwiched in the middle or spread on top of one of the sandwich cookies, I don’t think you could go wrong either way.

Peanut Butter Banana Whoopie  Pies

Banana Whoopie Pies
from Martha Stewart

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mashed banana (about 2 medium bananas)
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Combine the banana and sour cream in a measuring cup and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars on medium speed until pale in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the egg and vanilla extract, beating until incorporated. Alternately add the flour mixture (in 3 additions) and banana mixture (in 2 additions), starting and ending with the flour mixture. Beat only until ingredients are just combined.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip. Pipe the batter into 1 1/4-inch rounds on baking sheets (just approximate, I didn’t measure each one), spacing them an inch or two apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes (I baked one sheet at a time), until the edges are golden and the cookies spring back when gently pressed. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack and let cookies cool for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Filling
from Bon Appetit, April 2010 (via Epicurious)

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 8-oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter to the bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth and fluffy.

Match the cookies in pairs by size. Transfer the filling to a piping bag and pipe a small amount onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair. Sandwich the cookies together, and press the filling to the edges.

Makes about 40 sandwich cookies