Jalapeno Cornbread Whoopie Pies with Goat Cheese and Bacon Filling
Jalapenos are the most popular chile peppers in the US. This is probably due to the availability and versatility of the chile. Jalapenos have a balanced combination of flavor and heat.
The demand for these have caused breeders to develop a broad range of varieties. You can now get jalapenos with various heat level and sizes. These can be used in salsas, stuffed, or eaten straight with cheeseburgers (my personal favorite).
For the cakes:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
For the filling:
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
4 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Makes about 15 whoopie pies, depending on size.
Heat oven to 375º and place rack in center. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a nonstick baking mat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine the buttermilk, butter and egg in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on low speed until just combined, then increase speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, or until well combined. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture and peppers and beat until just combined.
Using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the cakes begin to brown around the edges, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cakes are baking, make the filling. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the goat cheese, cream cheese and milk. Beat on low speed until just combined, then increase speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Reduce speed to low and add the bacon and chives and beat until just combined.
To assemble the whoopie pies, scoop about a tablespoon (we used the same scoop we used to make the cakes) onto half the cakes. Place the remaining cakes onto the filled cakes and press to sandwich them together.
*If you want to make them ahead of time, the cakes can be baked and frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost at room temperature for at least 2 hours before filling. The filling can be made up to 1 week in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for about an hour before using.