As you probably know, whoopie pies have been trendy lately. Their history is vague, but most likely were treats Pennsylvania Dutch farmers found in their lunchboxes. Discovering their wives had included the giant cookie sandwich, they’d yell “Whoopie!” Other names are gobs, hucklebucks and BFOs (big fat oreos). Bakeries in Lewiston and Roxbury, Massachusetts claim to have sold the first pies commercially in the early 30s. So there’s a bit of the history. It is not a reference to the warnings of marriage in the Jazz classic “Makin’ Whoopie” or from the silly musical “Whoopie,” but its roots center around two moist cookie cakes with fluffy, creamy filling holding them together. (Most of this info from here.)
I followed Martha Stewart’s recipes pretty closely, and this worked out pretty well for my first time making them. It served as Matt’s birthday cake, and he helped me make it the night before, which was a lot of fun.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 large ripe banana)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl.
- Beat butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture.
- Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip. Pipe batter into 1 1/4-inch rounds on baking sheets, spacing rounds 1 1/2 inches apart. OR Spoon tablespoon-sized (smallest) batter onto parchment paper up to 3 tablespoon-sized (largest) onto paper.
- Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Slide parchment, with cookies, onto wire racks. Let cool.
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup whole milk (yes, whole milk)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Peanut Butter Buttercream
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl; set aside.
- Add butter, shortening, and sugars to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; cream on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla; beat until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture. Beat together, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
- Drop 12 slightly rounded tablespoons (or more) of batter 2 inches apart on each baking sheet. Bake the cookies in the upper and lower thirds of oven, 10 minutes; switch the positions of the baking sheets, and rotate each one. Continue baking until the cookies spring back to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes more.
- Remove from oven; let cookies cool on baking sheets, 10 minutes.Transfer with a metal spatula to a wire rack; let cool completely. Meanwhile, line a cooled baking sheet with a new piece of parchment; repeat process with remaining batter.
- Spread 1 scant tablespoon buttercream on flat sides of half the cookies.Top each with one of the remaining cookies, flat side down, and gently press together. Transfer pies to a tray.
- (Optional) Melt half the chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat; add remaining chocolate, and stir until melted and smooth. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip or a small parchment cone. Pipe chocolate in a spiral pattern on top of each pie. Let chocolate set before serving, about 1 hour. *I did not do this.*
Peanut Butter Buttercream (the glue!)
*Very simple, makes 1 1/2 cups*
- 1 1/2 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- Cream peanut butter and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed. On low speed, mix in sugar until combined, then beat mixture on high speed until fluffy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Spread onto cookie cake parts of whoopie pies right away.
This recipe turned out quite well! It’s a little fussier than most baking I do everyday, but the second batch literally took 1/3 of the time of the first batch, so practice helps! Also, since I varied the sizes of the whoopie cookies, make sure you have pairs that are the same size, whatever their size (or else they won’t fit together with the buttercream). I learned that the hard way, haha. And for some variety, I added just a jar of vanilla frosting (with red food coloring b/c Matt loves red) to some of the cookies. There you have it, whoopie pies!