The winning recipe from the 2012 Ghirardelli Chocolate Championships, which I judged at the LA County Fair this year, was for Mini Whoopie Passion Bites. These are Mini Chocolate Passion Fruit Whoopie Pies, with a rich, brownie-like cookie sandwiching a sweet, tangy passion fruit filling. The combination is delicious and unexpected, as passion fruit and chocolate isn’t a combination that you find all that often, and that is one of the reasons that it won top spot in the contest. The other reason is that these mini whoopie pies are downright delicious. The brownies are fudgy and have a great chocolate flavor, and the filling is a perfect contrast.
The cookies here are tender and have a fantastic chocolate flavor because they are essentially brownies, and not as cake-like as the cookies for some other whoopie pies are. The filling is a sweet-tart passion fruit frosting made with cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar and passion fruit puree. You can find passion fruit puree frozen in some specialty markets (and you can always use a fresh passion fruit), but many markets carry passion fruit juice or passion fruit puree in cans in a specialty aisle. It is worth tracking down – and this would make a great frosting for all kinds of other cakes and cupcakes, too.
The original recipe calls for baking the whoopie pies in a mini whoopie pie pan. This is great if you have one and makes the process very easy, but if you don’t have one, I strongly recommend piping your batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet instead. The batter is thick, but thin enough to pipe easily, and it is much easier to get round (and similarly sized) dollops of batter onto your baking sheet when piping then by trying to “drop” the batter with a spoon. You can use a piping bag or a large ziploc bag with the corner snipped off, as both will do the trick. I have written the piping directions into the recipe below, but feel free to use a mini whoopie pie pan if you have one.
These brownie whoopie pies would actually be very good with all kinds of filling, so once you’ve tried the passion fruit version here, you can experiment with other flavors like vanilla, chocolate mint or even lemon. I also recommend substituting the milk chocolate for all dark chocolate if you are a dark chocolate fan, as you will get the same good results with a slightly more intense chocolate flavor that way (I also used dark chocolate in my drizzle on top of the cookies). The contest, of course, is sponsored by Ghirardelli and their products definitely deliver some excellent results here. If you can’t get your hands on them, however, be sure to choose another high quality chocolate to work with when making this recipe.
Mini Whoopie Passion Bites
(source: recipe by Peggy Linberg, winner 2012 Ghirardelli Chocolate Championship, LA County)
3 ounces Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
3 ounces Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Filling and Topping
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons passion fruit puree
3 ounces Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or prepare a mini whoopie pie pan).
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt together the bittersweet chocolate chips and butter. Stir until smooth and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, beat together sugar, eggs and vanilla until well-combined. Stir in cooled, melted chocolate mixture.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Whisk into the chocolate mixture, mixing just until everything comes together and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Pour batter into a piping bag (or a large ziploc bag with the corner snipped off) and pipe quarter-sized dollops of batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cookies will spread slightly as they bake, so leave about an inch between rounds of batter.
Bake for 5-7 minutes, until the cookies are set. Slightly larger cookies may need an additional minute or two of baking time.
Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.
Make the filling: In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Blend in passion fruit puree. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until icing is thick and fluffy.
Assembling and Decorating: Spread filling between cooled cookies and sandwich them together.
Transfer a small amount of leftover filling into another piping bag (or a ziploc with the corner snipped off) and drizzle lines of passion fruit over the tops of the whoopie pies.
Melt remaining 3-oz of milk chocolate and drizzle over the whoopie pies, as well.
Makes about 36 mini whoopie pies.