Neapolitan Whoopie Pies

Chocolate Cake Cookies
cookie adapted from: Dessert First

1 1 /2 c. + 2 Tbl. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. +2 Tbl. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 Tbl. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1/4 c. + 2 Tbl. sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 c. milk chocolate, melted and cooled 
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 
1 c. buttermilk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.  Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.  With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, 4 minutes.  Add your egg and mix until combined.  Mix in the chocolate and vanilla, making sure to combine really well.  Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk, in 3 batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Make sure to let it mix thoroughly.

Heap the batter onto the baking sheets with a 1-ounce ice cream scoop.  Bake until the tops crack, 12-15 minutes or so (mine are perfect at 12 min.).  Cool on a rack.  Repeat with remaining batter. Yield: 30 cookies - 15 pies.  

Vanilla Bean Buttercream
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 vanilla bean or 1 Tbl. vanilla extract (I use vanilla bean paste)
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbl. heavy whipping cream

Strawberry Frosting
1/2 of the above vanilla bean frosting
1 -1 1/2 tsp. strawberry extract
red food coloring

In your mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter for 20 seconds.  Add the vanilla bean seeds and beat for 15 seconds.  Add the powdered sugar and salt and beat on medium-low for one minute.  Scrape bowl.  Increase speed to medium and beat until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds.  Scrape bowl.  Add the 1 tsp. vanilla extract and whipping cream and beat for 20 seconds on medium.  Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Yield: 3 cups.  Divide frosting into two bowls.  Add strawberry extract and a few drops of red food coloring to one of the bowls and leave the other bowl plain vanilla.       

To Assemble Pies:  Spread some vanilla icing on the flat side of one cookie, then spread some strawberry icing over the vanilla icing.  Top with the flat side of another cookie.  Repeat with remaining pies.  Or another great way to fill the cookies would be to add both the vanilla icing and the strawberry icing to a piping bag and pipe onto the flat side of one cookie.  This will give you a pretty pink and white swirl of both of the fillings combined.    
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