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Whoopie Pies

Cookies adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies (page 207), Filling adapted from Emeril Lagasse
Makes about 3 dozen (or 1 dozen large pies)

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups shortening
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk
3 cups confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Make cookies: Line two rimmed baking sheets with nonstick baking mats (such as Silpats), or with parchment. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat until well combined. On low speed, slowly add dry ingredients; mix until well combined.

2. Drop 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until set, about 8 minutes, rotating halfway through. (When the top of the cookie is gently touched, it should feel soft but not wet.) Cool completely on a wire rack.

3. Make filling: In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the shortening and 1 tablespoon of vanilla, and mix well. Add the milk and sugar, and beat until smooth.

4. Assemble cookies: Spread 1 heaping tablespoon filling on the flat side of 1 cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Cookies can be refrigerated in single layers in airtight containers up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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