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Makin' Whoopie (pies)!

March 19, 2013 - Dorma Tolson
I confess! I was makin' whoopie this past weekend. Whoopie pies, that is! And I'm glad I did. Saturday was a cold, miserable day in Ohio and I didn't feel like leaving the house, but I did want to spend some time in the kitchen baking. After I started looking through cookbooks for an interesting recipe that not only sounded simple, but for which I also had all of the ingredients on hand, I settled on one for chocolate whoopie pies I found in a cookbook by the same name, "Whoopie Pies," by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell, published by Chronicle Books of San Francisco. If you're not familiar with whoopie pies, they're a delicious little cake pastry with delectable cream filling. Sometimes they're called gobs, and you have probably seen them at various grocery store and restaurant bakeries in the area and also at Amish bakery stands at the Rogers "Sale." Let me warn you though, the little ones or "gobs" can be habit forming and these are anything but diet food. You'll realize that once you see the list of ingredients. I almost figured out the Weight Watchers points from the recipe, but then I thought, "why spoil the fun?" Another warning, even if you've tried the "store bought" kind and liked them, you may never want them again after trying this recipe. Ohhh, yum! These really are a treat. When I purchased the cookbook I also bought a special "whoopie pie" baking pan, which allowed me to make perfectly even-sized 4-inch whoopies. The tray is not necessary, however, and you can simply drop the batter by tablespoons — one Tbsp. for a small gob and 2 Tbsp for the large 4-inch size. While the tray gave a uniform size, it did limit the number I could put in the oven at once. This recipe produced three batches, for only nine completed whoopies. My afternoon of baking would have gone more quickly had I been able to put more in the oven at a time. Because of the number of times you need to whip the ingredients for 3 minutes or more, I suggest using a stand mixer, otherwise this batch of whoopies will wear you out! I settled on the recipe for the "Classic Chocolate Whoopie," because chocolate ones are my favorite. Of course chocolate anything is usually my favorite, even if it does cause migraines for me. And, is usually the case, I had a headache Sunday from too many whoopies! My husband and grandson loved them and there really wasn't enough to share with anyone else for an opinion. The book has dozens of recipes for both different-flavored cakes and fillings. I'll probably try the pumpkin whoopies at my grandson's request. Here's the Classic Chocolate recipe:

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 of dark brown sugar (packed.) I didn't have dark so I used light. 1 large egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 1/4 cup milk

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Unless you're using the special pan, like I did, line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift together flour, coca powder, baking soda and salt in small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening and brown sugar on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk to the batter and beat on low until mixed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add remaining flour mixture and milk and beat until completely combined. Drop by tablespoons according to desired size onto the prepared sheets. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes, or until the pies spring back when pressed gently. Since I used the specialty pan and mine were a bit larger, they needed to bake 12 minutes. Incidentally, I sprayed my pan with cooking spray before each batch and they came out beautifully. Remove from the oven and let cakes cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool. Recipe says this will make about 48 two-inch cakes. I got 18 four-inch cakes.

I made "Classic Marshmallow" filling for my whoopies. Here's the recipe:

1 1/2 cups marshmallow cream 1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening 1 cup powdered sugar 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

In the bowl of your stand mixer with paddle attachment beat together marshmallow cream and vegetable shortening, starting on low and increasing to medium. Beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until mixed together. Increase speed to medium and beat about 3 minutes more. This will make a generous amount of filling, and although I didn't use it all, I wished later that I had piled it on. The cake has a tendency to soak up some of the filling, so don't be afraid to overfill them. Enjoy!

 
 

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