Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chocolate Cherry Cola Whoopie Pies

by Darla

Chocolate Cherry Cola Whoopie Pies by BakingdomYou will read no spoilers here. Please do not share any. Thank you!!!

I watched the finale for Downton Abbey (season 3) yesterday. Finally. I didn’t watch it for a whole extra week, and somehow, I managed to sit down in all the glory of spoiler-free blissful ignorance.

I hate spoilers!

I’m River Song, when it comes to spoilers. No Spoilers!

I don’t know how I got all the way to the season finale without one single spoiler, but I did.

Yay me!

Unfortunately for me, I have been in a state of denial and rejection at what took place in said episode for the last 24 hours. I was chatting with my friend (who’d already seen the finale, and knew what was in store) at the time, and the conversation went something like this:

Me: No. No. No. No.

T: What’s happening?? I should have watched it with you.

Me: [Character name]. No. No.

T: Is it over?

Me: Yes. How could they do this?? I hate them. [Denial of what I saw]. No. I refuse. No. No. No.

T: *ad libbed to protect details: You’re cray cray, Darla.

Me: I reject your reality. Your argument is invalid. No. Lies. I hate Downton! I got dizzy. When it happened. I KNEW. I KNEW WHEN — WAS –. THE BASTARDS!! HULK SMASH!

I continued to rant in denial and anger for 20 minutes. I have very patient friends. Then I comforted myself with chocolaty-cherry-sugary goodness. And all did not end well, but at least there was chocolate.

Hemp Non Dairy BeverageI’m sure most of you know that I try to offer up vegan substitutes to some of my recipes. Sometimes, I can…and sometimes, I’m not able to work it out. Either way though, I’ve relied on Pacific Foods non dairy beverages as an option in place of milk and cream many, many times.

I usually prefer their almond or hazelnut milks, because both of them have flavors that lend themselves beautifully to baking, but I was recently contacted and asked if I’d like to try their new hemp milk in a recipe.

In most cases, substituting a non dairy beverage in for milk, it’s 1:1, so it’s easy to try these out on almost any recipe, and the hemp milk worked beautifully in my whoopie pies. In fact, I felt I was able to add a smidgen more than usual, which helped my recipes turn out softer and fluffier.

Chocolate Cherry Whoopies by BakingdomWhen I was deciding what to make for these, I had two craving: soda and fruit.

I never drink soda. Well, almost absolutely never do. I’ll have one on a rare occasion as a treat, but when I do, I try to have an all natural version. I’m about to sound all preachy, but seriously, soda is just SO. BAD. For your health, that is. So I’ve almost completely eliminated it.

It sucks. I miss it. A lot. And I miss cherry coke the most. Le sigh.

But. That’s fruit and soda, right?? Yes. So guess what kind of whoopie pies I made (Not that you have to, since I’ve already told you, like, twice, but whatever, just play along, ok)?! With some chocolate. Because chocolate.

Cherry Chocolate Cola Whoopie Pies by BakingdomI was torn between using maraschino cherries and bings, or another fresh cherry, but I couldn’t find any fresh cherries in the middle of february, so my problem was solved for me. ;)

You can use any maraschinos you like, but I really prefer the ones they sell at Whole Foods, because the juice they’re in is natural, so it tastes way more like real cherries.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Whoopie Pie by BakingdomThese turned out perfect! The soda flavor isn’t particularly strong, but it lent a lovely lift to the cookies, and since the recipe only calls for three quarters of a cup, I got to splurge. Win-win!

These are a perfect combination of rich, fragrant chocolate cookie cakes and soft, fluffy cherry filling. I love the chopped bits of cherry in the filling the most; they add a great texture to everything and an occasional sweet-tart zing.

These were so quick to make, too. You guys need these in your life.


Chocolate Cherry Cola Whoopie Pies
Makes a bakers dozen (13) medium sandwiches

*If making vegan/dairy-free, as always, be sure your individual ingredients are marked vegan and/or dairy-free.


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cherry cola
1/4 cup milk, or non dairy milk, such as hemp, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature (margarine for vegan/dairy-free)
2 eggs, at room temperature (1/2 cup apple sauce for vegan/dairy-free)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature (margarine for vegan/dairy-free, I prefer sticks)
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk, or non dairy milk, such as hemp
1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries

To make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a one cup measuring cup, gently stir together the milk and cola; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until just combined. Scrape the bowl as needed, then stir in the vanilla extract. Sprinkle 1/3 of the flour mixture over the butter mixture and beat until just combined, then add half of the milk mixture, and mix until just combined. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and milk (additions will be 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 of the milk, another 1/3 of the flour, remaining milk, then remaining flour).

Place 1 tablespoon scoops of the batter about 3-inches apart on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until the centers are no longer soft. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before filling.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whip the butter for 5 minutes on high speed, until the butter is light in color and creamy.

Add the sugar and milk and mix on low speed for 1 minute, stir in the cherry juice and vanilla. Increase mixer to medium speed and whip the mixture for another 6 minutes, until the frosting is very light and creamy.

Stir in the cherries until incorporated.

Assemble: Spread or pipe a generous amount of filling onto the bottoms of half of the cookies. Place the remaining cookies, right side up on top of the filling.

Recipe by Darla

Delish Chocolate Cherry Whoopie Pies by BakingdomAnd the winner is…

Screen-Shot-2013-03-04-at-3.14.24-PM…comment #12!

Screen-Shot-2013-03-04-at-3.06.50-PMCongratulations, AmyKB! I will contact you shortly!

If you have never tried non dairy beverages in your baking, I want you to have the chance!

Pacific Foods is giving away a mixed case of non-dairy beverages or a case of hemp milk (winner’s choice)!

To enter to win, just answer the following question in the comment section below:

“What’s your favorite way to use non dairy beverages in cooking? If you’ve never used them before, then what’s something you would like to try making with non dairy beverages?”

One answer per person, please. You must comment to be entered.

Contest ends Sunday, March 3rd, 2013 at 9pm PST, and you’re automatically entered to win!

Want an extra chance to win? Just follow @Bakingdom on twitter and tweet, “I want to win a sampling of @PacificFoods delicious non dairy beverages from @Bakingdom! http://t.co/cWbg9cfXRL #PacificBakes”

Once you’ve tweeted, return here and leave a comment saying you shared the tweet. Be sure to leave this as a separate comment; each comment is an entry.

Sorry, this giveaway is open to US readers only.

The winner will be chosen randomly at www.random.org and announced Monday, March 4, 2013.

I will contact the winner, so don’t forget to add your email in the email section!

**Comments are moderated, so if you’ve never commented before, it will take some time for your comment to appear!**

Good luck with the giveaway!


For another opportunity to win a sampling of Pacific Foods non dairy beverages or hemp milk, join me tomorrow, Wednesday, February 27th, along with Nutmeg Nanny and Completely Delicious, from 1:00 to 1:45pm PST for a twitter party hosted by Pacific Foods to discuss baking with non-dairy beverages, and to answer your questions. Follow @PacificFoods and tweet along at #PacificBakes.

If you don’t already, follow me on Facebook and Twitter! You can also follow Pacific Foods on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: This post is sponsered by Pacific Foods, and I also received non-dairy beverages at no cost. However, all opinions herein are 100% my own.

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{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Neonmoon10 February 26, 2013 at 8:20 am

I love using coconut milk in place of some of the water for rice.


2 ladywild February 26, 2013 at 8:21 am

I made a pie for thanksgiving using coconut milk in place of the milk in a pumpkin pie. It didn’t set well :-(, but I’m working on making it better for next year. The flavor was awesome.


3 Eva @ Eva Bakes February 26, 2013 at 8:31 am

I use soy milk in place of regular milk in almost all of my baking. It’s hard to tell the difference, except when whole milk or heavy cream is called for.


4 sue @ cakeballs, cookies and more February 26, 2013 at 8:38 am

I miss pop too, gave it up over three years ago, but it could be worse, could be chocolate I gave up!


5 Rachel February 26, 2013 at 8:42 am

My body doesn’t tolerate regular milk as much as I would like, so I use Vanilla flavored unsweetened Almond milk to drink, make oatmeal, or to make pancakes and waffles. I’ve never tried to actually bake with it because a lot of the baking recipes I use say that you really need the fat from the whole milk to get the right texture – and I tend to agree. So if you have any suggestions on how to get similar textures using dissimilar products, I’d appreciate it!


6 Jen W February 26, 2013 at 8:45 am

We have used it in smoothies, but would love to start subbing it in baking recipes!


7 Krystal February 26, 2013 at 8:47 am

I haven’t yet used nondairy beverages in baking, but I’d love to try them out so I can make desserts that my mom can enjoy with me!


8 Krystal February 26, 2013 at 8:48 am

And I also tweeted! :)


9 Tiffany February 26, 2013 at 8:55 am

I’ve started to use soy milk in a lot of my baking. It seems to give stuff a slightly sweeter hint of flavor (probably because i get vanillia soy milk) which just adds to things. My puppy Dodger agrees to. He’s fallen in love with the peanut butter treats I make him with it.


10 Tanya February 26, 2013 at 9:26 am

I love cherry cola!! This looks amazing. :)


11 Kim February 26, 2013 at 9:45 am

Frosting or Cake Mixes.:)


12 AmyKB February 26, 2013 at 10:17 am

it might be strange, but my favorite non-dairy substitute in baking is coffee creamers! I use the amaretto flavor in cake fillings, the chocolate flavor in cakes, etc. works great!


13 Melinda @cookingalamel February 26, 2013 at 10:29 am

I use coconut milk for just about everything now, cause I’m pretty lactose intolerant. Sooo creamy and delicious. I’ve never had hemp milk, but it sounds intriguing!


14 Christina February 26, 2013 at 10:36 am

I love using almond milk in puddings!


15 Talia February 26, 2013 at 10:52 am

I’ve made smoothies and oatmeal using almond milk, usually for the added protein for my son. I’d be interested in learning additional ways to cook with non-dairy beverage; I think my husband might have a lactose sensitivity and I’d like to try to accommodate him!


16 Megan February 26, 2013 at 10:57 am

I think this recipe would be a good venture into non-dairy cooking for me.


17 Janine - sugarkissed.net February 26, 2013 at 11:17 am

I use almond milk in my coffee and cereal but have never thought to use it in my baking. This is certainly the recipe to try it out! Your photos are absolutely mouth-watering!


18 grace February 26, 2013 at 11:37 am

coconut milk is a staple for me–i use it in cakes, muffins, quick breads, and more!


19 rachel February 26, 2013 at 11:58 am

I like using them to bake with.


20 Olivia @ Liv Lives Life February 26, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I actually use rice milk in place of dairy milk or water in lots of recipes. It’s especially delicious to use vanilla flavored rice milk in cake or pancake recipes!


21 Danielle February 26, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I love using almond milk in baking, especially with cookies and brownies.


22 Theresa Sea February 26, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I’m lactose-sensitive, so anywhere we can substitute soy or almost milk for cow’s milk is a blessing! I love having creamy soups thickened with flour and soy creamer. SO GOOD.


23 Alice February 26, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Alas it’s been all dairy, all the time for me in cooking so far. I would love a chance to try out hemp milk for this recipe. :)


24 Megan J. February 26, 2013 at 1:10 pm

I’ve never used that kind so I would love to try it…and of course I would make these whoopie pies! :) I love cherry coke…..it’s soooo delicious! :)


25 Darla February 26, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I have never tried any of these milk substitutes, but coconut milk in rice sounds amazing!


26 Summer February 26, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Love your blog, and love, love LOVE when you have vegan recipes! Thank you from the bottom of my vegan, dessert-loving heart!


27 Katherine S. February 26, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I’m lactose intolerant so I love to use non dairy substitutes when I bake. My favorite is using coconut milk in pancakes.


28 Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet February 26, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I have never used them but the first thing I would make is their blueberry almond smoothie!


29 Caley February 26, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I love using coconut milk in cookies, frostings, or anything else that requires milk or cream. I love the understated coconut flavor it yields!


30 Tianna February 26, 2013 at 2:48 pm

I use almond milk instead of regular milk in all of my baking!


31 Huiran Xaxni February 26, 2013 at 4:31 pm

First time commenter here but I love soy and almond milk to drink! Never thought to use it for baking but id love to try! Coconut milk to cook rice with sounds delicious! :)


32 Karla G February 26, 2013 at 5:45 pm

I like using coconut or almond milk in oatmeal! Oh, and yes, the end of the finale of Downton sucked. I can’t believe they did it!! And you knew, just KNEW what was coming! So awful! Can’t wait for next season ;)


33 Karla G February 26, 2013 at 5:46 pm
34 Rosa February 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm

I like using non-dairy products in almost everything that requires dairy lately. It’s just something I’ve been wanting to try (changing my diet, etc.). But my favorite thing is to use it in vegan baking recipes, like cupcakes and cookies. I haven’t thought about using it in smoothies and coffee though. That is something I’d like to try!

Also, I agree with you about Downton Abbey. As far as I’m concerned, the last 2 minutes didn’t happen. Nope. Rejected. Denied. Sorry.

Now, I’m off to bake something from your website to make me feel better! ;-)


35 Jenny February 26, 2013 at 6:53 pm

I actually liked it in making ice cream


36 marybeth i February 26, 2013 at 9:14 pm

we have not tried with baking yet but we make daily coconut milk smoothies


37 MaryB February 26, 2013 at 10:01 pm

I’ve never used non dairy beverages in cooking or baking but I would love to try them in cookies and maybe even ice cream. Thanks for offering the chance to win.


38 emily February 26, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Tweeted :) @emilynhr


39 emily February 26, 2013 at 10:41 pm

I’ve never used these products before, but I would love to try them in dessert recipes, such as cakes and puddings.


40 Lisa Flores February 27, 2013 at 1:57 am

I have never used it in my baking because I never thought to do so but I must try it soon. I do live almond milk and coconut milk with my cereal and sometimes coffee. My son loves to use the coconut milk in smoothies. So he is now the official smoothie maker to his younger brothers because of his “secret ingredient”. Thanks for the chance yo win.
P.S. these cherry cola whoopie pies are on my plans to make this weekend. Yummm!


41 Sarah February 27, 2013 at 4:33 am

Those look awesome! I quit soda too and I used to looooooooove Cherry Coke.

As for my favorite way to use non-dairy beverages in baking, it’s everywhere! I am a vegan, so I only use non-dairy beverages :) I mostly use soy because my kid is allergic to tree nuts and I gave her soy first and now she only likes soy. But I like to use other dairy free milks in stuff for me so I can mix it up.

Crap. Now I really want a whoopie pie.


42 G.G.,as in Gaby Guillen February 27, 2013 at 5:03 am

I like to use non-dairy bevereges in smoothies!!!!!!!!! One of my favorite smoothies that contains it is almond, coconut, and strawberry smoothie :D


43 Danielle February 27, 2013 at 5:34 am

My favorite way to use non-dairy beverages is in milkshakes. I love the way coconut milk adds just a hint of coconut to my milkshake. Plus I can pretend it’s healthier! Yeah, it isn’t really, but my world is a happy world. I haven’t used it in much else besides smoothies since I’m not a milk drinker of any kind, and most of the other dairy baking excursions I go on use buttermilk. I’ve been told that I can make a buttermilk-esque potion with non-dairy by adding lemon juice or vinegar to it, just like with dairy milk, but I haven’t tried it yet. I do plan on giving it a try, but I’m always nervous about doing that in case it goes wrong.


44 Catie February 27, 2013 at 7:12 am

On Valentine’s Day I made cupcakes with a box of chocolate cake mix, two egg whites, and a bottle of Jones Soda Zilch Pomegranate, and they were delicious!


45 Heather February 27, 2013 at 10:01 am

That sounds incredible! Is that all you used? I am thinking I might have to try that soon!


46 Mary B. February 27, 2013 at 7:20 am

I personally don’t use non dairy beverages in cooking/baking, but all three of my husband’s sisters are varying degrees of dairy intolerant. One of them is gluten intolerant, as well…if I win, I would probably give away some of it and save some to search for the perfect gf/df cinnamon roll recipe! My hubby has tried a couple recipes, and now it’s his mission to find one for his sister. :)


47 Heather February 27, 2013 at 8:29 am

Your reaction to the Season Finale of Downton Abby is almost EXACTLY like my reaction to The Angels Take Manhattan…. I cried for hours, and I’m still angry at Steven Moffatt! And I have tried baking with non-dairy products… I have to say, rice milk works very well! :)


48 Jacqui February 27, 2013 at 8:35 am

I have never used non-dairy milk in baking, but I would love to try! I would love to try out a cake or some type of frosting with it.


49 Stephanie February 27, 2013 at 10:00 am

I exclusively use non-dairy beverages in cooking. My favorite is unsweetened almond milk. I use it in baking and in any receipe that calls for milk. I find that it does not scorch like cows milk can. I like that it is more nutritious and adds a little fiber.


50 Shelly February 27, 2013 at 10:51 am

I haven’t baked that much using non dairy milk, but I love to use soy milk when making pancakes.


51 Shelly February 27, 2013 at 10:52 am
52 tracey hudson February 27, 2013 at 11:15 am

I use hemp, hazlenut and almond milk for everything from chocolate pudding to alfredo sauce to chia smoothies. Absolutely love it & do not miss the dairy at all. Thanks for this wonderful whoopie recipe too. Cannot wait to try it!


53 Casey February 27, 2013 at 11:41 am

I use almond milk in ALL of my baking! Cookies, cakes, brownies, you name it! At my house, we really try to limit our dairy consumption. It makes fantastic ice cream! I’ll add this whoopie pie recipe to my to do list!


54 bianca @ sweet dreaming February 27, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I always use almond milk instead of dairy milk in recipes!


55 Arielle February 27, 2013 at 1:45 pm

I love using non-dairy beverages in everything from breakfast to dessert. Vanilla almond milk is the perfect base for a banana, peanut butter and oatmeal smoothie.Rice milk simmered with butternut squash and chipotle makes a terrific, untraditional sauce for a baked pasta dish. And when refrigerated, full-fat coconut milk transforms into a fantastic whipped cream!


56 Kari M February 27, 2013 at 2:28 pm

I make overnight oats with coconut milk and almond milk.


57 Moontaj February 27, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I can’t process normal milk so use Rice Milk, love it. Use it in alllllll my baking & cooking. Especially love it for brownies. I’d love to try hemp milk.


58 Jillian_R February 27, 2013 at 4:42 pm

We use a LOT of almond or soy milk, mostly in our coffee and cereal. I have just recently added it to an oatmeal muffin recipe with great success. The only time we really miss the dairy is when I want to make a gravy!


59 Amber A. February 27, 2013 at 5:01 pm

I’ve never used non-dairy beverages. If I had some, I would totally make these whoopie pies! They look amazing!


60 Jennifer February 27, 2013 at 5:56 pm

I used almond milk to make pumpkin pie for my dad this past Thanksgiving.


61 Jocelyn @BruCrew Life February 27, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Those are gorgeous looking!!! I love the extra bit of frosting and cherry on top!!!


62 Katherine February 27, 2013 at 7:29 pm

My family has been drinking homemade almond milk for over 10 years ( my moms a health nut, lol) and I love adding it to my drinks and smoothies.


63 Kathy February 27, 2013 at 8:19 pm

I’d like to try almond milk in an amaretto flavored cake!


64 Milena February 27, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Well, it seems to me like rice pudding with almond milk would be amazing. I feel like nut milks lend an interesting flavour to cooking…


65 Angel February 27, 2013 at 9:08 pm

“What’s your favorite way to use non dairy beverages in cooking? If you’ve never used them before, then what’s something you would like to try making with non dairy beverages?”

I found a delicious recipe for a cobbler that used cake mix and sprite that I wanted to try out. I actually only recently even heard of people using soda in baking and it sounded super intriguing :).


66 Becky February 28, 2013 at 4:33 am

I’ve never used dairy substitutes, but my dear roommate is lactose intolerant. While she does happily eat the cakes, cookies, etc. I make, I feel really bad that she pops a pill beforehand! I’d love to try a nice fatty, lactose-free liquid to make cheesecake and ice-cream with, since I know she misses eating those. :3


67 Teresa February 28, 2013 at 1:27 pm

I get a thrill out of using non-dairy drinks in desserts that feature the flavor…that was a nonsensical sentence but I use almond milk in almond desserts, hunt down hazelnut milk for hazelnut tarts and so on. I get excited about new milk types!


68 S. Isaac February 28, 2013 at 3:00 pm

I would love to try almond milk in baked oatmeal – I really enjoy quinoa sp? cooked in coconut milk with blueberries for breakfast.


69 Jan N, February 28, 2013 at 4:43 pm

i have never use non-dairy in my cooking…i would like to try them in my cake recipes.


70 Song February 28, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Oatmeal! I love coconut/almond/soy milk in my oatmeal for breakfast!


71 manda March 1, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I would like to try baking with it.


72 Nikki March 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm

smoothies and milkshakes!


73 Barb March 2, 2013 at 4:26 pm

I have never used non dairy but would love to try in cake recipes and icing


74 Kel March 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm

I use non-dairy in smoothies, french toast, and also in soups. thanks!


75 Margot C March 3, 2013 at 12:07 am

I use Soy Milk all of the time for baking, it’s wonderful VERY IMPORTANT buy the unsweetened kind!

margueritecore [at] gmail [dot] com


76 Madeline March 3, 2013 at 8:29 am

I use almond milk every morning in my oatmeal.


77 Madeline March 3, 2013 at 8:30 am

I follow you on Twitter (@shala_darkstone). Here’s my tweet – https://twitter.com/shala_darkstone/status/308252978534547456


78 Cee March 3, 2013 at 2:02 pm

I like to use almond milk to make nacho “cheese,” to add to curries (coconut milk) or to jasmine rice, and I like soy milk in my ice cream recipes, since it’s so rich. If I’m baking, I tend to go with almond or soy milk. Vanilla soy milk is my favorite addition to pancakes.


79 Cindy March 14, 2013 at 11:48 am

Just an FYI that you can’t simply swap margarine for butter and call it vegan. Most margarines are still made with animal/milk products such as butter fat, whey and/or casein. You need to buy a vegan alternative such as Earth Balance.


80 Darla July 9, 2013 at 11:04 pm

As you can see just before the ingredients in the recipe, I specify that you should always double check your ingredients.


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