Home Cooking Recipes
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Quick & Easy
By Beverly Barbour

Whoopie pies

There is an epidemic of whoopie pie fever! It all has to do with the name as there is nothing remotely resembling a pie in this dessert. Whoopie pie is a heavy cake batter baked to make cookies which are then sandwiched together with icing. Nothing really new about that. Suddenly some clever cook noticed that not all cookie sandwiches are alike and came up with a whoopie of a name for those made with soft cake-like cookies.

An Oreo would not fall under the whoopie pie category. There should be no crunch in a whoopie pie. This means that the batter for the sandwich is cake-like not cookie-like and definitely not pie-like--go figure that one out.

Legend has it that the original whoopie pie was composed of marshmallow creme filling sandwiched between two soft chocolate cookies. My sainted mother, who wasn't a great cook but made great soft chocolate cookies with fudge icing, could have put her cookies together with a marshmallow creme straight out of a jar and saved herself a whole lot of work boiling and beating that fudge by hand.

Believe this one if you want to. A Pennsylvanian grandmother thinks that whoopie pies originated with Amish cooks who made them to put in their husband's lunch pails. The lucky farmers are reported to have found them and shouted, "whoopie" when they opened their lunch pails. I think it is more likely that the woman opening the jar of marshmallow cream yelled, "whoopie, I don't have to make fudge."

Just to be in fashion you could play around with your own favorite cake or chocolate cookie recipe and see if it will turn into a soft but not crisp, nearly flat round cake. Other people have done so with their own recipes and here are a pro's results.

Dark Chocolate Whoopie Pie

Adrienne Garcia, pastry chef from Menlo Park, Calif., has this version. She uses 72 percent Valrhona dark chocolate, an excellent baking chocolate imported from France. If you can't find that any brand with 72 percent cacao solids will work. Makes about 12.

8 ounces dark chocolate, drops or chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 F and line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Warm a bowl or the top of a double-boiler and place in hot water that comes up the sides. Add chocolate, stirring often until just melted; remove from heat and set aside. Cream butter and sugar together until light in color. Add one egg and thoroughly incorporate; repeat with second egg. Add the warm, melted chocolate and mix completely. Combine milk and vanilla, then stir into creamed mixture. Stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Blend into the combined ingredients. Portion dough using a 1-ounce scoop or large spoon (just try to keep all cookies the same size). Drop parchment paper about 2-inches apart. Bake 5 minutes and then switch shelves and rotate cookie sheets. Bake about 3 minutes longer until tops spring back lightly when touched, about 8 minutes baking time in all. The cookies will appear slightly cracked on top. Cool on racks. When thoroughly cooled, match up evenly-shaped pairs. Spread filling between the flat bottoms of two like-sized cookies.

Easy Whoopie Pie Filling

This is soft enough to pipe, yet it holds up between the cookie layers. You can make this a day or two ahead and store in the refrigerator but bring it to room temperature before assembling the "pies." Makes about 2 cups, enough for 12 or more 3-inch sandwiches.

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 jar (7-oz) marshmallow fluff
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla or mint extract

Cream butter and sifted confectioners sugar until thoroughly combined. Add marshmallow fluff, salt and vanilla; mix until well combined.

Espresso Whoopie Pie Filling

3/4 teaspoon coffee liqueur
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powdered, or more

Use the above recipe but use just a drop of vanilla extract rather than 1/4 teaspoon called for. Then combine the ingredients below and add them.

Lemon Whoopie Pies

Lemon filling is good with this recipe or use the Classic Marshmallow filling. The recipe gets its flavor from the zest and juice of one fresh lemon. Makes 20 pies.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) butter, room temperature
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1 lemon's grated zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Place rack in middle of oven and preheat to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift together into a mixing bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat together butter, shortening and both sugars until light and creamy. Add eggs and buttermilk; beat well. Add lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla; beat until completely combined. Gradually add sifted dry ingredients. Using a spoon, drop about 1 tablespoon of batter onto prepared sheets, spacing at least 2-inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 12 minutes, or until cakes begin to brown. Remove from oven and cool on sheets for at least 5 minutes; transfer to a rack to cool completely before spreading half with Filling and covering with other half.

Lemon Filling For Whoopie Pies

The lemon zest is optional but it adds a lot of flavor. No mascarpone cheese, try cream cheese but use a little less.

3 cups confections sugar
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, or more

Sift the confectioners sugar and set aside. Beat together the cheese and the butter. Gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in extract and zest.

Who can resist little cakes with frosting in the middle?


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