Sunday, August 3, 2008

Another season...another reason...for making whoopie...pies...

I'm a New Englander from way back. Living in New York City makes me a veritable Southern Belle on my mom's side. Basically her people got off the Mayflower and moved ever Northward. Even the Italian side never moved south of Connecticut. With all this Yankee in my blood, I must admit that I've never actually made a whoopie pie in my life. Until now...

Yesterday I planned on participating in the Great American Bakesale for Share our Strength. I was running a bit late...the whoopies (I'll get to them soon) were taking longer than expected so I called Nichelle from Cupcakes Take the Cake to let her know I was coming, but would be there in a bit. Then the rain started. Pouring. The sky completely opened up. I continued fussing with said whoopies and their filling and got a call back from Nichelle that she expected with the rain that the sale was canceled. Sigh. Next time! And by the next time I'll be ready with I hope a tweaked and improved whoopie recipe.

It all started with a conversation with Lawman. I was trying to decide what to make for the bake sale. Cupcakes or cake didn't seem advisable given the predicted heat. I didn't want to see my frosting slowly melt and vanish. I thought about cookies, but Lawman said he didn't like buying single cookies. In his opinion, buying a single cookie ultimately unsatisfying. Now I like to think that I make some pretty darn good cookies, but I couldn't sway him. And if the point was to sell something to earn money for charity then I didn't want to make something that my husband wouldn't even buy! So cookies were out.

Then it came to me. Whoopie Pies! I've been on my own whoopie quest to find the best whoopie in Maine (still haven't found it). And I've started seeing some whoopies in the city--suddenly this primarily Amish and Yankee treat is now chic. But I have yet to taste a whoopie in New York that is a good as the stuff I had as a a wee New Englander. This was my call to adventure!

Lawman brought me back to earth with the reminder that I've never made whoopie pies before. With mere hours to complete my task, how would I find just the right recipe? I'd like to say that I went to the worn family cookbook and whipped up the recipe that my mother and her mother before her had passed down through the ages, but I won't lie, I started with ye olde and for this Whoopie Pie Recipe from Gourmet Magazine.

The recipe was pretty straightforward. I was a little short on the Droste Dutch Processed Cocoa and had to add in a couple tablespoons of Hershey's to make my full half cup. And overall I was disappointed in the chocolatey-ness. Next time I'll make sure I have the full 1/2 cup of Dutch Process Cocoa and maybe add some more for good measure. It was strange, as they cautioned in the recipe when the whoopies were fresh out of the oven they weren't much to write home about. But by the evening the flavor had developed more and the chocolate came through. I would have liked the cake to be a bit moister, but a cold glass of milk certainly helped.

The frosting was a bit challenging to control. I don't know if it was the cursed summer humidity or the nature of the marshmallow frosting beast. Here are some of my whoopies with their semi contained frosting.

Marshmallowy Oooze!

Lawman and Lawman-in-law eliminated the evidence of the truly messy ones and by that I mean scarfed them down. So they couldn't have been that bad. Marshmallow ooozing and cake dryness aside it was a fairly successful first try. But the call to adventure remains. The road ahead to whoopie perfection may be fraught with trials. But I will continue until a decisive victory is won and I have gained the power to bestow whoopie boon on my fellow man!


Anonymous said...

At the that what I think it is...a new plating plate!? Man those look good. -LC

Anonymous said...

Love Whoopies. Where in NYC have you found decent Whoopie Pies? Where can you order good ones online (other than Wicked Whoopies)? Thanks for the great post.

Anonymous said...

I'm a life-long NY / NJ guy, so I don't know what makes for a good "authentic" whoopie, but I've always liked the ones at Whole Foods.

Brownie said...

I'll have to try the Whole Foods version.

You can occasionally find them at the greenmarket being sold by folks from PA. I've seen whoopie pies at Baked in Red Hook and have heard that they are good, but haven't yet had a chance to sample them. They are on my list for my next trip there. Last time I was too busy stuffing my face with grasshopper bars and cupcakes.

I've also heard that they have whoopie pies at Trois Pommes in Park Slope. Most of the treats I've seen marketed as "whoopie pies" in the city have ranged in appearance from the familiar large rounded cakey cream filled treats to more cookie-ish oreo-like things.

Any whoopie tips and suggestions are welcome! Share the whoopie love!

Anonymous said...

In NYC I've seen them in BJ's, but only strawberry filling with yellow cake. They are amazing but dont have a long shelf life. and Stop and Shop has mini size in chocolate cake with white frosting.
Hope this helps. Keep me posted as well. Thanks