I’m a huge fan of “perfectly-sized” individual desserts. To name a few: creme brulee baked in ramekin, ice cream cone cake, monster-size ice cream cookie sandwich, chocolate mousse poured into wide-mouth glasses and served with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, and yes, “frosted like crazy” cupcakes. But cupcakes are so 2008 that even professional bakers featured in the first “All Things Baking” 3-day event at Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel tried to brush off audience questions about cupcakes during the education program; the wedding cake makers want to move on, “demand for cupcakes has slackened”. So, move aside cupcakes. There’s a bit of a scramble as to what’s the next sweet thing…nothing seems to stand out yet, but in contention are cake pops, French macarons (not the Philippine-style macaroons) and Maine’s official state dessert, whoopie pies.
Of the three, I’d say whoopie pies would be my next baked choice — hand-held dessert sandwiches that are super simple to make and bake up in 10 minutes, can be made ahead of time and with usually a layer of delicious cream cheese filling for a truly finger-licking yummy dessert. Familiar with whoopie pies? I once brought a batch of individually-wrapped chocolate whoopie pies to a party and my friends thought that I messed up on my oreo cookie dough. The verdict though = they want more of these whatchmacallit soft snackies. If you are more of a cook than a baker, then probably you know more about Whoopi Goldberg than a whoopie pie. A pair of little, usually round, cakes sandwiched together with a sweet frosting or filling —- that’s a whoopie pie. Definitely not pie-like, and not really a cake, but more like “soft n’ phat” cookies. Why a pie then? Food historians really have no clue.
My first batch of whoopie pies that started as mounds of soft cookie dough in parchment paper-lined cookie pans soon flattened and spread out of shape while baking — they were ugly, but delicious. After numerous tinkerings with moisture content of whoopie pie recipes I found online, I gave up and made classic chocolate chip cookies instead. Things changed in my kitchen this past summer. I finally made it to the Annual Wilton Summer Tent Sale this year and got me this 20 % off whoopie pie pan. I think before whoopie pies were all the rage, these pans were labeled muffin-top nonstick pans to simply make the browned crispy crown of baked muffins. My whoopie pie pan works like a charm…I wished I bought 2 pans instead. I’m just a big fan of whoopie pies now and my friends yell “whoopie” whenever I give away these delicious treats to them. Whoopie pies these days are no longer just made with chocolate, flavor combinations of both the dough and the fluffy fillings are endless. Check out Wilton website and if you’re lucky you may find a heart shaped whoopie pie pan. Now let’s get into a joyful mood and make some easy and fun whoopie pies.
Fun Makin’ Whoopie Pies
Use any boxed cake mixes (with pudding in the mix), but use only 3/4 cup liquid or water instead of usually 1 to 1 1/4 cups water specified in the back of the box recipe directions.
1 (18.25 oz) boxed cake mix (with pudding in the mix)
3/4 cup water (if making chocolate whoopie pies, use leftover brewed coffee)
1/2 cup canola or corn oil
3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray your Wilton Whoopie pie pan(s) with nonstick cooking spray. Mix together cake ingredients until smooth and well-combined using electric mixer. Use a medium cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoons) to drop dough into prepared pan(s); batch makes about 32 circles. Bake in preheated oven and test for doneness after 10 minutes. Toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes and then gently remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Prepare the filling.
Filling # 1:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) softened butter
1/2 cup (4 oz) softened regular cream cheese
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme
Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until well-blended. May add more confectioners’ sugar if icing is too thin.
Filling # 2:
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip
1 pouch Dr. Oetker Whip It (Stabilizer for Whipping Cream)
Simply add contents of Whip It pouch to cool whip and beat with electric mixer.
Filling # 3: Store-bought or your favorite recipe for buttercream frosting
To assemble: Using the same cookie scoop you used to scoop the cakes, place one scoop of filling on flat side of one cooled cake. Top it with a second non-filled cake to form whoopie pies and press gently so the filling sticks to both sides. Wrap each whoopie pie tightly in plastic wrap. You may store in refrigerator in airtight container for a few days. Now if you like to take the whoopie pies to a whole new level with drama, sophistication and excitement…(1) roll the edges in sprinkles, mini chocolate morsels, or coarsely chopped nuts (2) Make a piping consistency of milk (or liquid coffee creamer) and confectioners’ sugar, transfer to piping bag with a round tip (Wilton tip # 4 or 6), pipe some dots or curved lines, sprinkle nonpareils over icing (grab a soft brush and brush away excess) and let icing dry off before packaging. Whoopie!
I took home complimentary copy of AirTran in-flight magazine for one reason. There’s a feature on Philadelphia-based baker, Lindsey Love and her assortment of whoopies (her website is http://www.cocolovehomemade.com). Enjoy the scanned photos from the magazine. Would be fun to join a whoopie pie eating contest during the Hershey Farm’s Whoopie Pie Festival, visit website http://www.hersheyfarm.com.
Now, is it a pie, a cake or a cookie…well it could be anything except Whoopie Goldberg!