Whoopie for Whoopie Pies!

Growing up, if there was a reason to celebrate, there was a 99.9% chance that there would be whoopie pies involved. My mom is kind of famous for them… they are included each year in Christmas gifts and are at the top of everyone’s wish list for get-togethers and parties.

For those of you that are unfamiliar, whoopie pies are considered to be one of the best treats New England has to offer. In fact, they became Maine’s “official treat” in 2011. Over the years there have been some heated debates about where this tasty treat originated – some say Pennsylvania and others say Maine. As a Mainer, my theory is bias. Wherever they originated from, whoopie pies are said to have acquired their name from the overjoyed exclamations of children when they found the treat in their lunch. So the story goes, anyway – and I have to say that I agree.

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More cake like than “pie,” these treats are usually generously sized (about the size of a hamburger) and go best with a tall glass of milk. Traditional whoopie pies are made with vegetable shortening, not butter, for the best consistency. The original, and most commonly made, are chocolate cakes. However, pumpkin, gingerbread or red velvet whoopie pies are a favorite seasonal variation. The filling can vary depending on the baker – some prefer basic vanilla cream frosting (my personal favorite) and others prefer a marshmallow cream frosting. Cream cheese frosting is typically found between the pumpkin, gingerbread and red velvet cakes.

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Our version here at Stonewall Kitchen takes a Downeast spin with a layer of Seedless Black Raspberry Jam between the cake and the marshmallow cream filling. Feel free to substitute your favorite jam in place of Seedless Black Raspberry.

Now, let’s get started! (Find the full recipe below)

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To start, cream together the shortening and sugar. “To cream,” means to beat the two ingredients together until light and fluffy. Add the beaten egg yolks and stir to blend.

Sift all your dry ingredients together – the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and baking soda. This lets the cocoa powder get evenly distributed in preparation for the batter.

Add vanilla to the milk.

Alternate adding dry ingredients and wet ingredients to the shortening and sugar mixture in the bowl.

Now it’s time to decide the size of your whoopie pie. Personally, if I’m going to enjoy a whoopie pie, I prefer the original, full-sized version. Use a heaping tablespoon or a cookie scoop to yield a cake approximately 3 inches in diameter. Drop onto an ungreased baking sheet and leave plenty of space between cakes as they spread while baking.

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They will puff up in the oven and the cake should spring back when you lightly press the center. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet and then cool cakes completely on a cooling rack.

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While your cakes are baking and cooling, prepare the filling. Start by creaming the shortening and confectioner’s sugar together until fluffy. Next, beat in the marshmallow cream, salt and vanilla until desired consistency is achieved. If your filling looks too thin, add a little more confectioner’s sugar.

Once cakes are cooled, it’s time to assemble! Sandwich together the filling and Seedless Black Raspberry Jam between two cakes and enjoy!

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Downeast Whoopie Pies

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Ingredients:

Whoopie Pies – 

Filling – 

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar (more may be needed)
  • 1 cup marshmallow cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. For the whoopie pies, preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Cream together shortening and sugar. Add egg yolks, stir to blend.
  3. Sift together dry ingredients and add vanilla to milk.
  4. Add dry ingredients to shortening/sugar mixture alternately with milk/vanilla mixture.
  5. For small whoopie pies, drop by heaping teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. For large whoopie pies, drop by heaping tablespoons and bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool cakes.
  6. For the filling, cream shortening and 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar.
  7. Beat in marshmallow cream, salt and vanilla. If too thin, add more confectioner’s sugar.
  8. Sandwich together with Seedless Black Raspberry Jam and the filling and wrap with waxed paper for the true “Downeast Maine experience!”

What’s your favorite family recipe that has been handed down to you?

– Alyssa, Stonewall Kitchen

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