Black Velvet Whoopie Pies

Makes 2 dozen. Recipe is from McCormick.

For the cookies:

1 (15.25- to 18.25-oz.) box German chocolate cake mix with pudding

1/2 cup water

1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tbls. black food coloring

3 eggs

1 tbl. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat cake mix, water, cocoa powder, oil, food coloring, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed just until moistened, scraping the sides of the bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes.

2. Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter, 2 inches apart, onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Cookies will spread, so avoid crowding them on the baking sheet.

3. Bake 8 minutes or until cookies are puffed and spring back when touched, turning baking sheets halfway through baking. Cool on sheets 1 minute, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

For the filling:

1/2 cup butter, softened

11/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 (7-oz.) jar marshmallow crème

1/2 tsp. orange extract

1/2 tsp. red food coloring

1/2 tsp. yellow food coloring

1. Beat all the filling ingredients in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.

2. Assemble the whoopie pies by placing 1 tablespoon of filling on the flat side of a cookie. Top with a second cookie, pressing gently to spread the filling. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling.