The birth of Holiday Baking day and how Peppermint Hot Chocolate Whoopie Pies came to be.
Over the past five years, due to my husband’s job, we have moved four times and lived in four different states.
Four years ago my girls had a particularly hard time over winter break. We hadn’t lived in Alabama very long. There were no visits from family, no friends to have over for hot chocolate, no holiday parties to attend, no secret Santa exchanges… all of the fun things that most people participate in during winter break.
My husband was out of work and we didn’t have the extra money for the girls to buy gifts for each other, something they looked forward to every year.
After thinking about what we could do that would be fun AND allow the girls to have presents for each other, I decided to create a Christmas baking day, where we baked and decorated presents for people in our lives… teachers and school administrators, neighbors, friends from church, and each other.
We made and decorated three types of cookies, plus cupcakes, and loaves of Pumpkin and Hot Chocolate Bread. Once we finished baking for others, each girl created and decorated a special cookie for everyÂ member of the family. It was a fun activity and everyone loved their gifts.
Now every Christmas we have a baking day where we create gifts for all the people we love. We don’t spend a lot of money, but we spend a lot of time creating these gifts from the heart, and it has become a great tradition.
The Hot Chocolate Bread I created was such a big hit nearly everyone asked me for the recipe. It was delicious as is, but over the past couple of years I’ve tweaked the recipe, and the final (and my favorite) result is Peppermint Hot Chocolate Whoopie Pies. They are scrumptious, whether filled with whipped cream, ice cream or even canned frosting!
PS you can also use the dough to make Peppermint Hot Chocolate Bread. It’s really fun to add mini marshmallows to the top of the bread after it has cooked for a bit. They get all toasted and yummy!
You don’t have to own a whoopie pie pan to make these, but I think they look better when you do.
- 1/2 c cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 c butter, room temperature
- 1 3/4 c sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/4 c cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 1/4 c buttermilk, divided
- 2 c whole wheat flour, sifted (can substitute with 2 1/4 cups AP flour)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup each M&M's White Peppermint and M&M's Hot Chocolate flavors, mixed (can use more or substitute with any variety of M&M's... or you can use chocolate chips and mint chips. I have also made these with no candy and they were just as good.)
- Mini marshmallows (omit marshmallows if making whoopie pies)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add cream cheese, butter, and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream thoroughly.
- Mix in the egg and vanilla.
- Add the sifted cocoa powder and about 1/2-2/3 cup of the buttermilk, just enough to mix until smooth, but not too liquid-y.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a separate bowl.
- Add to wet ingredients with remaining buttermilk.
- Mix until just combined; do not over mix.
- Add M&M's and blend for about one minute (depending on your mixer, you may need to fold in the M&M's® by hand). Dough will be thick like a cookie dough.
- Place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough in each section of the greased whoopie pie pan and cook for approximately 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. (You can bake these like cookies on a sheet pan if you do not have a whoopie pie pan).
- Cool and right before serving add fresh, extra thick, whipped cream in between two rounds.
If using ice cream for the filling:
- Soften ice cream slightly and place a scoop in between two whoopie pies.
- Press together softly and place on a wax paper covered cookie sheet.
- Place in freezer for 15 mins or until you are ready to use.
To make a loaf with toasted marshmallows:
- Place loaves in the oven.
- After about 40 minutes remove from oven and top with mini marshmallows.
- Cook for about 20 more minutes until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean. You can also add the marshmallows at the last minute and put the pans under the broiler to toast the marshmallows, depending on how toasted you want them.
- The marshmallows should be a toasted golden brown.
- Cool slightly, remove from pan and enjoy!
Alternate marshmallow prep
- Spoon half of the dough into the bread pan, layer a cup (or more to taste) of marshmallows on top of the dough and then add the rest of the dough on top.
- Bake as described above.
You can make either whoopie pies or loaves of hot chocolate bread with toasted marshmallows. Recipe makes roughly 18 whoopie pies, two 8" disposable bread pans, or 5 mini loaf pans.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate Whoopie Pies
The recipe is super easy to make.
Do you have a favorite holiday tradition?