The next time you have overripe bananas in your kitchen, don’t make a banana bread. Instead, make some Banana Whoopie Pies. The classic whoopie pie is a chocolate cookie with a vanilla filling. This is a great combination in many types of desserts, but there is something about the soft, cake-like outer cookie and the creamy filling that make whoopie pies almost irresistible. This banana version is even better.
Soft, banana bread-like cookies are the base of these whoopie pies. The batter is somewhere between the thickness of banana bread batter and cookie dough, which lets the whoopie pies hold their shape well during baking, but spread out enough to make a good-sized sandwich. The cake is tender and very moist, with just a little bit of cinnamon and vanilla to highlight the flavor of the banana – which comes through very clearly. I used a cream cheese filling to sandwich the pies together. The cream cheese goes very well with the banana, and adds a little bit of tanginess that contrasts with the sweetness of the cake.
This recipe doesn’t make a huge batch of whoopie pies, but the pies are generously sized. You can easily double the recipe to make more, or scale down the size of your pies (and reduce the baking time by a couple of minutes) to get smaller, bite-sized pies and get more of them. These keep well when stored in an airtight container at room temperature, but they are so moist and flavorful that I bet you’ll find them as difficult to resist as I do.
Banana Whoopie Pies
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups mashed banana (2 medium)
Preheat oven 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vegetable oil, followed by vanilla and mashed banana. Add flour mixture and stir until just incorporated.
Drop 2 tablespoon balls (approx 1 1/2-inch balls) and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned around the edges and “set” in the center.
Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies (1 dozen sandwich cookies).
Cream Cheese Filling
3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 – 2 cups confectioners sugar
In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Blend in vanilla and confectioners’ sugar until mixture is smooth and thick. Add additional confectioners’ sugar if mixture seems runny.