Saturday, February 19, 2011

Making Whoopie... Pies, that is!

Makin Whoopie… pies, that is…

Sometime before Valentine’s I was increasingly feeling the urge to bake. As was my wont, I headed to watch TV, and on the History Channel, they were talking about the Amish people of Pennsylvania and their favourite snack, the Whoopie pie. It’s really a "cookie sandwich" with a nice sweet filling such as marshmallow fluff (or crème), buttercream, or cream cheese frosting. I had never seen anything like it before and the entire process had me fascinated as I watched them being put together, first by Amish women and then by a couple of bakeries, and wondered if I could do the same.

So, I began researching these beautiful looking treats online. I soon realised that there are as many recipe flavours for whoopie pies (like pumpkin, ginger, coffee, etc) as there are bakers, so it took me a while to find one that would really ‘work’ for my style of baking, which follows two simple rules:

  1. Make whatever it is from ingredients that you always HAVE in the house (like all purpose flour, butter, vanilla essence, etc.) I hate searching for overly expensive specialty ingredients, lol!
  2. If it contains some weird ingredient you can’t afford (or find) in T&T, forget it.
And as luck would have it, I found a recipe for red velvet whoopie pies and did a road test, hoping to blog about them. Unfortunately, though they tasted great, they came out looking like saucers instead of the beautiful domes I was looking for, simply because I had over beaten the batter in the food processor. (Note to self: mix it the old fashioned way next time.)

So, I decided to try again, this time with a different flavour - vanilla. Unfortunately, disaster struck again, not with the look, but this time in the taste department. …
(Second note to self: re-read recipe and double check the words “baking powder” and “baking soda”… too much of the latter makes baked goods bitter.)

Never one to give up, another recipe was discovered online, this time for dark chocolate whoopies. A simple list of ingredients and the easy prep encouraged me, so much so that I even went as far as to make an orange frosting to go with them… check out the bacchanal that followed! 

Okay… in here are a mix of sifted all purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa (I love Cadbury’s Cocoa for my baking purposes), salt and baking soda – don’t worry, I double checked!

Using a wooden spoon, I worked some Blue Band butter and some Cookeen shortening together with a cup of brown sugar…

Then I broke out the hand mixer to beat the mix until it almost doubled, after which I added one large egg and some vanilla essence.

Next, I added the milk and flour by halves and started mixing like a madwoman… this is the result. The batter is pretty solid and you can stand your spoon in it easily.

I dropped the mix by heaping tablespoonfuls onto wax papered jumbo baking sheets. These things will spread out, so leave at least 2 inches of space between them. I was able to get 12 of these to fit easily. This bowl gives you 24 total to make 12 whoopies.

All done! See? Told you they spread out. You can use a flat spatula to get them off the paper and on to a cooling rack, but be careful or else they’ll break apart on you.

While they cooled, I worked on the orange frosting.

Butter, orange zest, icing sugar… you beat the orange zest and butter first, though… I just thought I’d pose these things together for you all, lol.

Second stage: adding the icing sugar by spoonfuls and beating them in.

Third stage: incorporating a couple tablespoonfuls of fresh squeezed orange juice into the mix.

The finished product. The colour came about by adding in some yellow and red food colouring. I was aiming for orange, but it came out like this instead, but it worked for me.

Now for the fun part… makin’ whoopie! Just size them up and look for twos that have similar shapes and dimensions.

Slather on some frosting on one half…

Then cover with the other and repeat! You just made whoopie! Here’s the full online recipe, taken from, which in turn was adapted from the Whoopie Pies cookbook (the link below takes you to the book for sale at

Chocolate Cake for Whoopie Pie, adapted from Whoopie Pies
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk

1. Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter, shortening, and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well incorporated. Beat in half the flour mixture, and then half of the milk. Repeat with the rest of the flour and milk.
4. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpats. Using a 1 tablespoon scoop (or a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon) drop mix on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Rap cookie sheet against counter so that the mixture spreads out a little bit.
5. Bake the cakes in the middle rack of the oven, one cookie sheet at a time for *10 minutes. Let cakes cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a rack.

*Halcie’s note: When I baked mine at the temperature and time suggested in the recipe, they were not done. I’d suggest baking for about 15 to 18 minutes maximum, because at 10 minutes they are still somewhat gooey. Test with a skewer or toothpick after 15 minutes; when it comes out clean and the tops spring back when touched, they’re done.

Orange Frosting (made with real orange juice)
¾ cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
2 to 2 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
Orange food colouring (optional)

  • Beat butter and orange rind at medium speed with an electric hand mixer until creamy.
  • Gradually add in the icing sugar, beating until well blended.
  • Stir in 2 tablespoons orange juice, adding additional orange juice if necessary to reach the desired consistency.
  • Stir in a little orange food colouring for desired colour. 

Thus ends my whoopie adventure... for now, at least!
As a side note, I ended up baking some and took them to work on Valentine’s day, and they were happily gobbled up. These are sure to become a regular staple at my house, but I have made a mental promise to myself to attempt the vanilla whoopies once more. I mean, take a look at what could have been…

I know, right? Great colour and texture, but not the taste. I still think of them as the whoopies that went "WHOOPS!"

Anyways, time for me to go. Don’t forget to leave a comment or two to let me know you passed by. Thanks again for visiting, and like I always say, don’t forget to mind the pot!

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