Today’s guest blogger, Suzanne Woods Fisher, not only enlightens us with the history of the Whoopie Pie but also shares a sweet recipe.
Whoopie Pies and the Amish: A Recipe of Endurance
By Suzanne Woods Fisher
Ever wonder what the fuss is about whoopee pies? Or how it got such a silly name in the first place?
A whoopie pie is a sandwichy-treat that toggles the culinary line between a cookie and a cake. It has other names: moon pies, black-and-whites, gobs and bobs. And it’s all the rage in the dessert world.
Whoopie Pies have been an East Coast phenomenon for generations. Historians believe that the whoopie pie, most likely, has Amish or Mennonite roots that reach back to medieval Germany. Amish women packed the highly portable dessert in their farmer-husbands’ or children’s lunchboxes, prompting the recipients to exclaim “Whoopie!” when they discovered the treats. Coal miners called them “gobs” because they resembled chunks of coal.
Whatever its beginnings, the cream-filled cookie has made its way into culinary pop culture: Sur la Table and Williams-Sonoma recently rolled out whoopie-pie mixes and pans, food blogs are abuzz about them and Food Network Magazine featured a recipe for a red velvet whoopie in a recent edition. Central Market and Whole Foods stores make and sell whoopie pies in their bakery departments. And they’re popping up on the dessert menu at many restaurants.
The whoopie hoopla touches on two important dessert trends these days: small desserts and nostalgic desserts. And while the most classic version is chocolate and marshmallow, the cookies and fillings can be assembled in countless combinations—sweet or savory.
Whoopie pies, like the Amish, have endured for hundreds of years. It’s a classic recipe that holds tight to its origins, adjusting when necessary, but never forgetting what it was made for.
Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pies
Makes about 48 two-inch cakes1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar 1 large egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup milk Classic marshmallow filling (recipe below)
1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt onto a sheet of wax paper. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening and brown sugar on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 2 more minutes.
3. Add half of flour mixture and half of milk to batter and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add remaining flour mixture and 1/2 cup milk and beat until completely combined.
4. Using a spoon, drop about 1 tablespoon of batter onto a prepared baking sheet and repeat, spacing at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes each, or until the pies spring back when pressed gently. Remove from oven and let cakes cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
To assemble: Spread filling onto the flat side a cake using a knife or spoon. Top it with another cake, flat-side down. Repeat with the rest of the cakes and filling. Alternatively, you can use a pastry bag with a round tip to pipe the filling onto the cakes, which will give you a neater presentation.
Classic marshmallow filling1 1/2 cups Marshmallow Fluff 1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening 1 cup confectioners’ sugar 1 tablespoon vanilla extract Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling, award winning author of fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell. Download her free Amish Wisdom app for your iPhone or iPad by clicking here and get a daily word of encouragement or wisdom from the Plain life. Suzanne loves to hear from readers! You can find her on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.