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Making whoopie (pies)

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Up until recently, I had never heard of whoopie pies. However, suddenly the damned things were everywhere on the blog front and even the New York Times explained that whoopie pies are ‘having their moment‘.

So what is it? It’s somewhere between a cake and a cookie, sandwiched with frosting. This American treat has its origins  in New England, where it is sold in petrol stations and milk bars. According to Wikipedia, an alternative name for a whoopie pie is the gob, which doesn’t sound too appealing to me at all.

Anyway, I decided to give them a try. These are incredibly easy to make and you probably have all the ingredients already (except perhaps the buttermilk, although apparently you can make your own in 5 minutes). These pies are traditionally made with chocolate cookie/cake sandwiched with vanilla frosting, although there are many variations. I decided to make some pies with traditional vanilla filling and the remainder with butterscotch filling, because I love caramel. Traditionally, these pies are also of quite a decent size (the recipe below is meant to make 6 pies), but I decided to make mini versions.  According to the writers of a cookbook titled ‘whoopie pies’, apparently making them mini is also acceptable.

So how were they? I actually preferred the traditional vanilla to the butterscotch filling as the pies are quite dense and the butterscotch was perhaps a bit too subtle. The texture of the pies is different to anything I have eaten before and I can only describe them as a cake-like biscuit. I enjoyed the novelty of these and they were so easy I would definitely whip up another batch again.

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Whoopie Pies

Adapted from the New York Times

Ingredients

Note: this recipe originally makes 6 filled pies, although I made smaller pies and made about 16.
Also note, the quantities for the buttercream are enough for all the pies. If you wish to make both fillings, halve the recipes.

For the pies

115g butter, at room temperature
220g brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
280g all-purpose flour (or 340g if using spelt flour)
40g cocoa
235 ml buttermilk

For the vanilla buttercream

3 large egg whites
150g sugar
230g butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the butterscotch cream cheese frosting

450g cream cheese, softened
85g butter, softened
220g brown sugar
2 tbs golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Method

For the pies
  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
  • Cream together butter and brown sugar then add egg and vanilla and beat until light and creamy.
  • Place the baking soda, flour and cocoa in a separate bowl and whisk together.
  • Add the flour mixture to the liquid in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Combine well after each addition.
  • You can use an ice-cream scoop or a spoon or pipe the batter onto your paper lined baking tray.  The pies spread a bit so err on the side of giving them space. If you want to make them traditional sized, use 1/4 cup of batter for each pie, but you can make any size you like, just make sure you make an even number.
  • Bake until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched. How long will depend on the size of the pies, the larger pies will take 12 to 14 minutes, my smaller pies took about 7 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before filling.

For the vanilla buttercream

  • Combine egg whites and sugar in a double boiler, whisk until sugar is dissolved and the temperature on a thermometer reads 65/70C (if you don’t have a thermometer, wait until the mixture is hot to the touch).
  • Using an electic mixer, whisk egg whites and sugar on high until they double in volume and become thick and shiny. Continue to whisk until cooled.
  • Reduce speed to medium and add chunks of butter (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time), until all the butter is incorporated.
  • Add vanilla and salt. Increase speed to high and whisk for 1 more minute. Use immediately.

For the butterscotch buttercream

  • Beat the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer until smooth.
  • Add the sugar, golden syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before using.
Assembly
  • Use an ice cream scoop, spoon or pipe buttercream on flat side of half the pies, then sandwich another pie on top. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or wrap individually and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Enjoy!

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6 Responses to “Making whoopie (pies)”

  1. I totally agree. I whipped up a batch on Sunday morning and it was all gone by the time lunch rolled around. I was really surprised by the texture too. I really like that its a cake but in the form of a biscuit. I reckon I might try other flavour combos.

    ps. they are a lot easier to make than their french counterparts *cough*macarons*cough*

  2. Rachel says:

    Whoopie pies! NOM.

    Quite similar to Chocopies, a prepackaged Korean version available in most Asian supermarkets.

  3. I too had never heard of these little morsels until about a month ago and they seem to be popping up everywhere! Yours look great – might try out the recipe before I miss out on the Whoopie craze!

  4. Clare says:

    So delicious! Well done Em!

  5. Ooh, a cake-like-biscuit? So intrigued. Have heard much of the whoopie pie too. Must try them- easier craze than the macaron 🙂

  6. Thank you! We had these in Boston and fell in love with them there. Been looking for them again ever since so I’m delighted we now have a recipe for them!

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