Olivia Dish

Whoopie Pie Yay

In Homemade, Sweets on July 21, 2010 at 11:26 pm
whoopie pies in progress

Let them eat whoopie pies!

You go ahead and eat your of-the-moment cupcakes. I’m already on to the next small thing: whoopie pies.

Whoopie pies may be old news to the people of Maine and Pennsylvania Dutch country, but in the South, I still have to explain what they are. Odd, isn’t it, since a whoopie pie sounds pretty danged Southern, right up there with the Moon Pie and Cheerwine.

Despite our being Southerners, my nieces and I have made baking whoopie pies into something of a summer vacation tradition. I first learned about whoopie pies while visiting Rockport, Maine, with my friend Beans Somegood. Beans insisted we stop at a gas station and pick up a couple of homemade ones. “They’re everywhere,” she promised me. And they were.

Whoopie pies, if you don’t know, are two small rounds of  cake (a bit like mini hamburger buns) sandwiched around a cream filling. The story on the name is this: Amish wives packed the easy-to-hold desserts in their farmer husbands’ lunches. When the husbands would find the cakes, they’d cry “whoopie!”  True? Who cares? Let the cupcake top that story, I say.

Whoopie Pie Recipe

A good enough start

I like chocolate whoopies, but an Amish cookbook I have also shows recipes for pumpkin and oatmeal whoopie pies. I’m sure you could make up most any combo.

I made my first batch of whoopie pies using a recipe I happened across in Gourmet magazine. It’s pretty good, and you can find it here.  But I kept thinking I could do better.

ingredients

A few whoopie essentials

While visiting a friend, San Francisco food writer Jodie Chase, we made a Devil Dog cake from another recipe in Gourmet. It was topped with an Italian meringue-like frosting.  That, I thought, would make a much less greasy and sugary whoopie pie filling.  So over the last two years, I’ve merged the two.

For the little cakes, I’ve reduced the salt from the Gourmet recipe to 1/2 teaspoon and subbed cheaper regular cocoa powder for the Dutch process.  For the filling, I replaced the corn syrup in the Devil Dog frosting with  Lyle’s Golden Syrup.

whoopie pie filling

The fluffy filling...

You can either spoon the filling onto the cake halves or you can put it into a zip lock, clip off the corner and squeeze it on. Either way, it’s not too messy–and certainly not as messy as the butter/marshmallow cream/powdered sugar filling you find in the Gourmet whoopie pie recipe.

Tonight, I assembled more than a dozen whoopie pies with the help of two teenaged giggling girls. We wrapped some in plastic to eat later; whoopie pies actually seem to get better if you can let them age overnight. We, of course, ate a few of the fresh ones too. They’re pretty hard to resist.

whoopie pie

...and the finished product

The girls may laugh a lot, but they also have an entrepreneurial streak.  While they were assembling the whoopie pies, one said, “We should open a bakery.”  Then the other added, Tom Sawyer-like, “yes, and Aunt Olivia can do all the work.”  They giggled uproariously, because they were, indeed, still breathing.

And I realized what I’d call that bakery. Move over, Cupcake Cuties.  Make way for Whoopie Giggle.

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