Lavender & Crystalized Ginger Whoopie Pies

This month’s not official #Baketogether is Whoopie Pies. The grand nieces were visiting so I enlisted their “help”. I didn’t have any buttermilk in the house and I needed to steep the lavender flowers in hot milk to extract their flavor. From what I’ve read heating buttermilk isn’t a good idea. So, I used regular milk and buttermilk powder. The lavender flavor is mild in this version, so feel free to up the quantity of flowers for a more intense flavor. The ginger was also a bit subdued, so I might try adding some ginger powder to the filling if I made these again.

Lavender & Cyrstlaized Ginger Whoopie Pies
       Makes 14 filled whoopie pies

For the whoopies

2 cups (9 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons buttermilk powder (optional)
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste or extract
1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon lavender flowers, or more to your taste
purple food coloring (optional)

For the filling

4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
4 oz butter at room temperature
3 – 4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup crystalized/candied ginger cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder (optional)

Make the whoopies
1. heat the milk and lavender flowers together just until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Steep for at least 15 minutes. Strain out the flowers
2. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line three cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick baking liners.
3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, buttermilk powder and salt in a medium bowl until well blended and no lumps remain. Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until well blended and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just blended between additions. Add the vanilla with the last egg. Add food coloring. Do a better job than I did. I ended up with a purplish gray. Stop to scrape down the bowl and the beater as needed. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just blended. Add the milk and mix until just blended. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix on low speed until just blended.
4. Using a small mini scoop, shape the dough into balls and arrange about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, until a pick inserted in the center of one whoopie comes out clean, 9 to 11 minutes. Move the sheet to a cooling rack, let the whoopies sit for 10 minutes, and then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

Make the filling
Beat the cream cheese and butter together. Add powdered sugar and ginger powder. Add enough so that you have a fairly stiff filling. Fold in the ginger.

Fill the whoopies by spreading a generous amount of filling on one half and topping with another half.

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