Well, it’s a couple days late, because I was sick, but here it is, finally.
O.K., so this may not technically qualify as a cookie, but it’s not really a pie either as it’s name suggests. It’s more like a sandwich. A sweet, creamy, chocolaty sandwich that has no nutritional value what-so-ever, but is oh, so delicious! If you’ve never had a whoopie Pie, one bite and you will learn why the name. It will make you feel like leaping up in to the air and shouting, “Whoopie!”
I was first introduced to Whoopie Pies as a child when we moved to a community with a large Amish population. It is a dessert the Amish are well known for. In an effort to recreate the treat I remembered from childhood, I asked my mother for the whoopie pie recipe she received from her friend whose husband grew up in an Amish family. The friend also has Amish relative in her own family so I was certain of its authenticity.
The recipe called for lard. I had never baked with lard before and could have substituted Crisco, but I decided to follow the recipe to the letter. I thought it might be difficult to find lard these days, but it was available in the baking aisle at Walmart.
I learned some things about lard that I didn’t know. We’ve all been told not to use lard because it’s bad for you, right? I compared nutritional information, and discovered lard has only 10 more calories and 1 more gram of fat per Tbsp. than Crisco. It’s free of trans fat as is Crisco. The one major difference is that while Crisco contains no cholesterol, lard has 10 mg per Tbsp. In comparison, one large egg has 215 mgs of cholesterol, so you do the math.
Well, I made the authentic Amish Whoopie Pie recipe and was disappointed. It didn’t have the dark chocolaty flavor or dark brown color that I remembered, and they raised too much in the oven when they baked. It went online and found another recipe claiming to be an authentic Amish one as well. It was a bit different, so I made another batch using the second recipe. The color was darker, but they still raised too much and seemed to lack chocolate flavor as well. I looked up whoopie pies one more time on line, and found a third recipe the was much different. Finally, I got the results I wanted. Dark, chocolate cake-like cookies that weren’t too puffed up.
Yes, that’s three batches of whoopie pies that I went through. My three-year-old son enjoyed taste-testing the discarded Whoopie Pies, and he had fun helping me make them. But he didn’t enjoy that nearly as much as he enjoyed making and eating the filling.
For the filling I went back to the original recipe from my mother’s friend. One other difficulty with that recipe is that it calls for the use of raw egg whites in the filling. We’ve also been told not to eat raw eggs because they might carry salmonella. The folks over at Egg Beaters have solved this problem for us. They make cartons of pasteurized eggs whites that are disease free. This also saves you the sometimes frustrating task of separating your own eggs. No shells, no broken yolks.
So here are the recipes for the cookie part and the filling that I combined to make my Whoopie Pies.
Whoopie Pie Recipe
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup buttermilk (Buttermilk can be substituted by adding 1 tbs of vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk.)
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter two baking sheets. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar until well blended. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla. Stir the baking soda into the hot water. Adding one-third of each ingredient at a time, alternately add the hot water mixture, buttermilk, and dry ingredients, ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until combined.
With wet hands, shape dough into 1-inch balls and arrange 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. With a wet palm, flatten each ball into a 1 1/4-inch disk. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the tops crack. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
2 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp milk
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup Crisco
Beat egg whites until foamy. Stir in vanilla and milk. Beat in 2 cups of powdered sugar until well mixed. Beat in remaining powdered sugar. Add in Crisco and beat until smooth and well-blended.
Spread bottom of half the cookies with a heaping teaspoon of filling. Top with remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for five days.
See Cookie of the Week Part 2: Valentine Whoopie Pies for a fun twist.