Makin’ Whoopie

I know the kid inside me still exists when I make something like whoopie pies and can’t resist telling everyone that I’m “makin’ whoopie!” C’mon, giggle with me: it feels good.

Whoopie Pies Even though I’ve lived in New England my whole life, I never tasted a whoopie pie until about a year ago. I’m stuck between the two purported places of origin, Pennsylvania and Maine, yet they had somehow eluded me. Then one day when I was looking at food blogs, I came across a recipe and… well, the rest is history. I’ve made whoopie several times since and it always leaves a satisfied smile on the faces of my partners. What can I say? I’m that good. ;)

Whoopie PiesThis recipe comes to us from Omnomicon, who enlightened me with the history of whoopie pies within her family. I balked at first at the inclusion of shortening, but I sucked it up, bought some organic version to ease my conscience, and now I agree–they do benefit from it. So no, you don’t have to use Crisco, but you should use some shortening. The texture depends upon it, and it helps set up the filling, too. You don’t have to get fancy with a pastry bag and decorator tip–it’s just going to get smooshed anyway–but if you’re a perfectionist, it might make you feel better to apply the filling this way. A butter knife was just fine for me. They’re relatively easy. The filling recipe makes almost enough to fill a double batch of the cookies/cakes, if you’re not heavy handed. When I needed to make a lot of these, I tripled the cookies/cakes and doubled the filling and it was just about perfect. Lastly, while many will argue that most baked goods are best on the day they’re prepared, I will argue that whoopie pies just get better with age. I generally make them 1 day before I need them and while it isn’t necessary, I do store them somewhere cool to keep that filling set the way I like it.

Whoopie PiesWhoopie Pies (that are authentic-ish)
adapted from Omnomicon
1 batch makes 16-18 3-inch whoopie pies

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup organic shortening, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla or the seeds of 1/2-1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, warmed slightly

Put all the above into the bowl of an electric mix and mix… and mix… and mix. Seriously. Mix at a pretty high speed for 7-10 minutes (you’ll know it when you get there). It’ll look curdled for a bit, but then it will transform into this beautiful, buttery filling. Don’t worry–it comes together. You just have to be patient. Once that’s all set, put it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. I prefer to use my 2 dark non-stick pans for this recipe.

For the cookies/cakes:

  • 1/4 cup organic shortening, softened (otherwise you get bits of it in the final product)
  • 1 cup buttermilk, slightly warmed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream the sugar and the shortening, then blend in the rest of the above. Add to it:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp natural cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Mix until fully incorporated. Plop batter onto the cookie sheets using a cookie scoop… the smaller the scoop, the smaller the final whoopie pies. I like to make them small so I can get more out of the recipe. Bake for 8-10 minutes (you can use the toothpick method to check doneness), then remove to a wire rack immediately to cool. Once fully cooled, spread the filling on the flat side of one cookie/cake, apply the flat side of another, and you now have a whoopie pie.

Supposedly, these are well-known for being wrapped individually in plastic wrap. If you decide to put them together in a covered container instead for storage, just know that they will stick to it a little. You can also freeze individually-wrapped whoopie pies. I’ve kept them in the freezer for up to 3 months with no ill effects and rather enjoy them frozen–sort of like eating frozen devil dogs. YUM.

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