My name is Julie, and I'm a Whoopie Pie Snob.
For real- this is serious business.
My mom grew up in a small town in Ohio, directly adjacent to Amish country. My grandparents still live in said town, and, consequently, I grew up on a steady stream of high quality, delicious, Amish recipes. What does this have to do with Whoopie Pies, the sandwich cookie/cake confections run rampant in American bakeries and enjoyed by the masses since the trend took hold a few years ago??? Oh, LET ME TELL YOU.
(Read as: Put in your earplugs, Julie is a-goin' on a rant).
Whoopie Pies originated from the Pennsylvania Dutch, a.k.a, the Amish. They feature a delightful hybrid between cake and cookie, with a fluffy, meringue-y, filling. They are NOT, repeat, NOT, the 'two cupcake tops with butter cream in the middle' that bakeries sell you for $4.95 a piece. They are far more delicious than that. I may or may not have had a public tantrum or two regarding this issue in, say, Corner Bakery and/or Au Bon Pain. Not that cupcake tops with butter cream filling are not delicious, they are just NOT WHOOPIE PIES.
Needless to say, I'm an aficionado of real Whoopie Pies. I made a batch in honor of a friend who was visiting and took a bunch to work. Please let the following email from my coworker do the talking in this particular occasion:
There are NO hard crusty edges on these bad-boys; only soft, scrumptious-ness. I use the recipe my mom and grandma both used while I was growing up, which comes from a friend of my mom's. It has been published in the "Lake Center Christian School Cook Book," sponsored by the Lake Center Christian School Kaufamn Project in 1987. Should you be in possession of this vintage, local, gem, this is Ruby Miller's Whoopie Pie recipe, with one minor change I've made to the filling. (I use a junk-load more sugar so the filling is a little thicker).
(For a printable version of this recipe, click here)
Whoopie Pies (Yield - 3 dozen)
4 cups flour sifted
2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa (sifted)
1 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda, dissolved in 1 cup hot water
2 egg whites (I use the pasteurized ones that come in a carton since they are not cooked)
4 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon vanilla
4 Tablespoons Milk
1 cup shortening
1-2 pounds powdered sugar
For the cookies....
Step #1 - Preheat oven to 350*F.
Step #2 - Mix flour, cocoa, and salt in a bowl.
Step #3 - In a separate bowl, mix sugar, shortening, eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy.
Step #4 - Add the flour mixture to the egg/sugar mixture, alternating with milk.
Step #5 - Add hot water/soda and mix until well combined.
Step #6 - Drop by the spoonful into walnut sized blobs on a well greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Cookies are done when they are set and slightly cracked on top. (My oven only took 9:30 to bake this round.) Give the batter a light stir between each batch; otherwise you'll see pinkish streaks in the batter. This is not a bad thing-- it's just the chemical reaction of the buttermilk and the cocoa. The same reaction is how real, old school red velvet cakes turned red. Allow cookies to cool completely before filling.
For the filling...
Step #1 - In a clean, dry bowl, beat eat egg whites with an electric or stand mixer until soft peaks form.
Step #2 - Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. The original recipe calls for only 2 cups of sugar. Mine turn out soupy when I use only 2 cups, so I end up using 1-2 pounds of sugar depending on the weather. I know this sounds funny, but when it is hot and humid, it takes more sugar to get the filling to stand up. If you are taking these anywhere, I recommend making the filling thicker (the texture of a thick icing), as they travel better that way.
Step #3 - Spread a thick layer of filling in between two cooled cookies and, ta-da!! You are done!