Banana Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting

I had to make a dessert for a church pot luck dinner, and as usual I had a few verging-on-overripe bananas on the counter. What to make with those bananas? I was banana cupcaked out, and banana bread wasn't desserty enough, so I searched the Web for some ideas. The recipes that caught my eye: Banana Whoopie Pies.

Mmmm ... they sounded so good. But Banana Whoopie Pies for a church function? Wouldn't that sound a little risque?

I had never made whoopie pies before, or even tasted them, but they sounded so good that I decided to risk it.

Ohhh ... they turned out sooo good. Two cakey cookies that tasted like banana bread, sandwiched together with a generous dollop of fluffy, sweet, tangy cream cheese frosting. At the church dinner, I heard no complaints. Just a few "mmm's" and "oohs." I'll be making whoopie pies again for sure.

Banana Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Cookies adapted from Taste of Home; filling from Martha Stewart

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (1 large or 1 1/2 medium bananas)
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Filling (from a Martha Stewart recipe -- you'll have some left over):
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, combine banana and buttermilk. In a third bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with banana mixture.

Drop by tablespoonfuls two inches apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. (At this size, you will make about 50 cookies.) Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until set. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

For filling, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, and butter until fluffy. Beat in confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Use a pastry bag with a large star top to pipe a generous dollop of filling on the bottoms of half of the cookies. Top with remaining cookies and press together gently. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving; store in the refrigerator.

Makes about 25 cookie sandwiches.