Friday, February 25, 2011

Whoopie Pies

Growing up these are something I always remember my Mom making… particularly the filling (my Mom made the best frosting)… they’re just a little crispy on the outside with yummy sweet frosting on the inside… kind of like a homemade devil dog… 

As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized these are unique to certain areas of the country… New England in particular.  Do you have whoopie pies where you live?  Do you call them whoopie pies or something else?

So, on this snowy, cold, raw night we’re going to get cozy, and have a sleepover with my nieces & nephew or ‘the cousins’ as they’re known around here, and I thought what better to go with our homemade pizzas than Whoopie Pies.  YUMMMY.

In my adult baking life I’ve tried many-a-recipe trying to recapture the taste of Mom’s.  None have come close… until I found these on Bakerella's  website (if you’ve never spent any time over there I would highly recommend checking it out… the cake pops are on my list of things to try).

There are variations to this recipe of course (in the fall I make pumpkin ones… YUM).  But, for this cold February day we’re making chocolate.

This is my ‘go-to’ cookbook.  It has all the recipes I download from the internet… I’ll do a tutorial on it at some point.  Anyway, under my cookies, bars tab is my Whoopie Pie recipe.


First, preheat oven to 375 (adjust for your oven as needed… I find 400 is better on mine to get the crispy).  Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper (optional but recommended… mainly for me b/c it makes clean-up so much easier.) Also at this point take a stick of butter out of the fridge to get to room temp for the filling.


Next in a mixing bowl sift 1 2/3 cup flour, 2/3 cup cocoa 1 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt (if using unsalted butter… if salted butter omit the salt here).




Get your helper to sift for you…



Then you’ll get a beautiful shade of brown (hmmm… I wonder if Lowe’s could match it for me as a wall color… sorry… I digress).


Next add 4 tbsp unsalted butter, and 4 tbsp vegetable shortening to your mixer bowl.


Take a picture of your cute helper (optional… but recommended)


Measure out 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (recipe calls for dark I’ve only ever used light so it’s up to you).


Make sure your helper doesn’t eat too much of the spilled brown sugar.


Add brown sugar to butter/shortening.


Mix until combined, and then beat for 3 minutes.


Add egg, and 1 tsp vanilla


Make sure your helper gets the majority of the egg in the mixing bowl.


Beat for another 2 minutes.


Then measure out 1 cup milk.

Add 1/2 cup of milk, and 1/2 the cocoa/flour mixture to mixer on low speed, and combine.  Repeat with the last half.

WARNING… a cloud of cocoa will form, and engulf your kitchen… but it’s cocoa, and it smells good so no worries.


Now you have a gooey… chocolaty… yummy…


I also love to use my Pampered Chef cookies scoops for this part.  You can use the 1tbsp one for smaller whoopie pies, I prefer the 2 tbsp ones, but it’s up to you.


If doing the 1tbsp you can fit 3 across on a standard cookie sheet, if doing the 2tbsp you can fit 2 across.


Recipe calls for baking them for 10 minutes.  I find I have to live them in for more than 20, but that may be my oven, so start at 10, and check them.  If they are shiny or glistening at all they’re not done.  They should be springy to the touch.  Take out, and leave on cookie sheets for 5 minutes, and them move to cooling rack.


Ok.. now for the gooey filling.  I use a standard buttercream for the filling which is very sweet.  You can use whatever kind of frosting/filling you prefer.  Bakerella uses a peanut butter filling, a cream cheese would also be good.

So, for my go to buttercream…

Combine 1/2 cup butter (room temp), 1 cup shortening (don’t you just LOVE this pre-measured sticks from Crisco??) in mixer, and beat until combined.



Add 1tsp vanilla (there is a clear vanilla you can buy so this won’t affect the whiteness of the buttercream, but I find it doesn’t change it that much, and I prefer using pure ingredients when possible).


Then add 1/4 cup of milk (more or less depending on the consistency you want… you can also substitute water here).


Mix milk in slowly as it will splash, once combined turn speed up to beat the mixture together.


Then add 2lb bag of confectioner sugar ( I actually use about 1/2- 3/4 of a bag, and adjust for the consistency I want… move sugar will make a thicker consistency, less sugar will make a runnier consistency).  Just like with the milk, add slowly, and at a low speed unless you want a cloud of conf sugar.  A great tip to keep the sugar dust from covering your mixture is to put a wet paper towel on top of it.



On the cooling rack I flip over half of the cakes, and try to align with tops of similar size.


A simple way to do the filling is to fill a pastry bag, or ziploc (with a corner cut off), and a star or round tip, and pipe or swirl on that way. 

For today I used my favorite frosting tool… I have no idea what it’s called… it’s a “Wilton” tool for cake decorating… it’s a bent knife/spatula… It spreads very easily & nicely.



Adjust the amount of frosting as desired…some like a good ole’ dollop, while others prefer a shmear… do what feels right.




This MUST be enjoyed w/ a tall glass of ICE cold milk…


Whoopie Pies

1 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, room temperature
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees line sheets w/ parchment paper. (Take butter out of fridge for filling to come to room temperature.

In a small to medium mixing bowl, sift together, flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

In mixer bowl, blend butter, shortening and sugar with a mixer on low until just combined. Then beat for 3 minutes.

Add egg and vanilla and beat for two more minutes.

On low speed add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk until incorporated. Repeat with remaining flour and milk and beat until combined.

Using a tablespoon, drop batter on baking sheet two inches apart. Bake for about 10-20 minutes depending on your oven. Until pies spring back when pressed gently, and are no longer glistening.

Remove from oven and cool for about five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.



Buttercream Filling (Can also be used for cakes & cupcakes)

1/2 cup butter (1 stick… room temperature)

1 cup shortening (I don’t recommend butter flavored)

1/4 cup milk (adjust for correct consistency)

1 tsp vanilla (can also add 1 tsp of flavored extract depending on what you’re using the buttercream for… almond, lemond, rose, etc)

2 lbs conf sugar (sifted if using to decorate).

Cream butter, and shortening.  Add milk (at low speed), and vanilla.  Mix until blended. At low speed add conf sugar until you get to desired consistency, scraping the bowl as you go.

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