Banana Bread Nutella Whoopie Pies

I wish I could say I’m consistent and diligent about working out, but truthfully, I go through phases. For years I belonged to a gym and was pretty good about getting there four or five times a week. I got bored doing the same thing though, and at the time the gym didn’t have classes, so I stopped going. I need a lot of variety in my workouts to keep me motivated!

Last year I discovered Insanity and was obsessed with it for months. Then the holidays rolled around and, well, I got lazy :) I started back up again this week and oh my word, I had forgotten about the muscle soreness! My legs have been like jello all week.

Banana Bread Nutella Whoopie Pies

I figured all of those extra calories burned warranted at least a little treat, right? Not to mention, it’s been an incredibly tough week with the events in Boston and now in Texas too. I can’t remember a time when I’ve been as glued to the tv as I have been this week. I’ve been craving comfort, and for me, food is comfort.

I took the overly brown bananas on our counter and rather than make banana bread, turned them into fluffy little sandwich cookies. They’re tender and cakey, and the addition of cinnamon gives them warmth. I couldn’t resist sandwiching my absolute favorite Nutella buttercream between the cookies. Basically I look for any excuse I can to make that frosting, it is so crazy good. Plus, bananas and Nutella are a can’t resist combo! I think I’m back on a whoopie pie kick lately, so you can probably expect to see a few more varieties here before long. Hope you aren’t getting sick of them…

One quick note: if you want to keep things simple, you can absolutely portion the batter for the cookies using a small cookie scoop. However, just be aware that you probably won’t get perfectly round, smooth cookies. If that matters to you, pipe the batter onto the baking sheets instead. This is just an iphone pic, but the cookies on the left were made using a cookie scoop and the ones on the right were piped.

Banana Bread Nutella Whoopie Pies

Banana Bread Nutella Whoopie Pies
cookies from Baked Elements by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, filling from Devil’s Food Cupcakes

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sour cream (light is fine), at room temperature
1/2 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 1-2 medium bananas)
2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup Nutella
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk (I used 1%)
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

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

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl.

Use a wooden spoon to stir the brown sugar and oil together in a large bowl, breaking up any clumps of brown sugar. Switch to a whisk and whisk in the sour cream and bananas until incorporated. Add the eggs and whisk until well combined. Add the dry ingredient to the bowl with the wet and use a rubber spatula to gently fold just until incorporated.

Using a small cookie scoop (mine measures about 1 1/2 inches across – you’ll need to adjust the baking time accordingly if yours is larger), portion the batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. (Or, alternatively, pipe the dough onto the baking sheets – see text above.) Bake (one sheet at a time) for 11-12 minutes, or until the cookies spring back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 5 minutes then remove the cookies to the wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with all of the dough, alternating baking sheets.

To make the Nutella filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and Nutella on medium speed until well combined. Mix in the vanilla and milk. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until incorporated then increase the mixer to medium speed and beat until the frosting is 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.

Note: Yield will depend on size of your cookies – I halved the recipe and got 16 sandwiches