Rob Benes, Kids Cuisine – A new treat I’m introducing my daughter to is the whoopie pie. I hope you’re not scratching your head wondering what the heck is a whoopie pie. They’re one of the of tastiest treats on the planet — especially when they’re homemade.
To give you a little history, whoopie pies can be traced back to the Pennsylvania Dutch and most of New England. The pies are two small disk-shaped cakes with a sweet creamy frosting sandwiched between (I make my filling using Marshmallow Fluff as the base ingredient… you can buy Fluff at any grocery store; or you can make your own marshmallow filling, which I’ve done, too).
While whoopie pie recipes vary — some call for canola oil and some call for shortening — the result is basically the same. I prefer to use shortening, though; I know it may not be the healthiest thing to to eat, but my motto is “there’s no such thing as bad food, it’s just that people eat too much of things too often… moderation is the key.” I think the shortening gives the you a better baked product, superior taste, and longer shelf life.
The traditional whoopie pie is chocolate cake with a white, vanilla-flavored filling. But, you can also take out the cocoa powder and use pumpkin, oatmeal, banana, apple, carrot or anything else for that matter that lends itself to good baking. The filling, too, can be switched to complement the cakes. For example, if the cakes are banana flavored, try a peanut butter filling; or if carrot cakes are made, try a cream cheese filling.
When following a recipe (any recipe for that matter), use the best ingredients you can find (even if it costs you a bit more). Quality ingredients (and fresh ingredients) do make a difference.
Here’s one whoopie pie recipe I follow:
3/4 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups milk alternative
2 teaspoon vanilla
10 tablespoon cocoa
4 cup flour
2-1/2 teaspoon soda
Pinch of salt
Method (use an electric mixer)
1. Cream shortening and sugar.
2. Combine beaten eggs, milk, and vanilla, and beat into creamed mixture.
3. Slowly stir sifted dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, and beat on medium speed about 2 minutes.
4. Drop with tablespoon onto greased and floured cookie sheet (enough dough to make a baked cookie about 2 to 2 1/2 inches).
5. Bake at 350 F until cookie just springs back when pressed in center with finger.
6. Remove to rack and cool completely before filling.
1/2 cup dairy-free butter alternative or margarine
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup Marshmallow Fluff (about 1/2 of a 7 1/2-ounce jar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. In a medium bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat butter and remaining ingredients until light and fluffy.
2. Fill cakes.
If you want, drizzle the pies with melted chocolate or ganache! Wow!
Whoopie pies store well in an airtight container in the refrigerator and also freeze well.
Also, the pies are great for kids’ birthday parties. You can even make one gigantic whoopie pie and top it with candles instead of the usually round or square or rectangular birthday cake. The kids will get a huge kick out of a “Whoopie Pie Birthday Cake.”
Let me know if you try making the pies. Have fun!