Whoopie Pies

Whoopie Pies

Whoopie Pies started life as a very humble pies. They are said to have been invented by resourceful Amish housewives who were looking to create a portable treat to pack into their hardworking husband’s and dutiful children’s lunch boxes. Such was their delight at receiving such a welcome treat, these husband’s and children shouted ‘whoopie!’, and the name has stuck.

So, many of our American friends will need no introduction, as they have formed part of their baking lexicon since the 1920’s. But for us Kiwi folk they are something of newbie on the baking scene. Quite simply these rustic and chunky bundles of fun are delicious and well worth a try. Whoopie pies have a texture somewhere between a cake, slightly soft, and a biscuit, chewy and saucer like. Most importantly, they are utterly scrumptious.

Traditionally they are filled with Swiss meringue butter cream. We’ve included the recipe here. We won’t lie. There is a bit of technique involved with whipping up a batch of Swiss meringue buttercream, but the smug sense of achievement once mastered makes it worth giving it a go. It’s silky-smooth, it pipes like a dream and is less cloyingly sweet than traditional buttercream. A great addition to your baking repertoire.

Really though, the joy of the Whoopie is that they are pretty relaxed, and anything goes as far as filling is concerned. There is no reason why a regular buttercream icing wouldn’t do. Or ice-cream for that matter, especially if ease and speed are what you’re after.

Okay, so simple origins established, it’s time to bring on a little crazy - Helter Sketler sprinkle crazy! An easy flourish that will guarantee excited cries of ‘OH EM GEE!’ from lucky 21st century recipients.
This recipe has been adapted from the mighty & magnificent book ‘Baked in America’ by David Lesniak & David Muniz. These boys bake their pants off in this book, as they do everyday in their cake shop, Outsider Tart in London’s Chiswick. Wow. Wow. Wow. This book is well researched, well written, and bulging with personality.
And so, on to the business of making whoopie…..

CLASSIC WHOOPIE PIES

Makes approx 18

Ingredients

  • 300g plain flour
  • 75g Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 240ml buttermilk (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 110g soft unsalted butter
  • 100ml unflavoured vegetable oil (we use Rice Bran)
  • 225g brown sugar
  • 1 large egg

Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Line 2-4 baking trays with baking paper.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring jug, combine the buttermilk and vanilla. Set both aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, oil and brown sugar until light and fluffy. About 6 to 8 minutes. Add the the egg at medium speed, beating well to combine. Reduce the speed and alternately add the flour and buttermilk mixtures, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mixing until just combined. Scoop even sized spoonfuls onto the baking trays, spacing them 6cm apart. (We use a medium sized cookie dough scoop to ensure even sizing) Flatten out the whoopies slightly using the back of a wet spoon and tidy up the sides so they are a nice round shape.

Bake for 11mins or until they spring back when touched. When they’ve cooled a little, remove them from the tray and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. If you only have 2 baking trays you will need to reuse these with the rest of the mixture.

SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

Ingredients

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 260g caster sugar
  • 270g unsalted butter cut into cubes (room temperature)
  • 3 teaspoons real vanilla essence
  • pinch of salt

Tools

  • A free standing mixer with a whisk and paddle attachment.
  • A hand held electric mixer or a manual whisk
  • A pot that is large enough for your mixing bowl to sit on filled with approximately 5cm water
  • Sugar thermometer (not entirely necessary)

Method

Ensure your mixing bowl, whisk and whisk attachment for your mixer are completely free from grease. You can do this by wiping them down with a paper towel that has been dampened with a little lemon juice.

Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl of your mixer and place over a pot of simmering water. Immediately start whisking constantly but gently. You are wanting to dissolve the sugar without cooking the egg. We use a hand held electric mixer on a low speed but you could easily use a manual whisk.

When the mixture reaches 75ºC, or when you can no longer feel any grainy bits of sugar when you rub some of the mixture between your fingers, take the mixing bowl off the heat and place the bowl back on the mixer with the whisk attachment. Mix on high until you get stiff peaks and the bowl is cool to touch. About 10 min. You are aiming to have the bowl and meringue the same temperature as the butter.

Switch to the paddle attachment and start dropping in one cube of butter at a time. It’s important to know that once the butter is added the mixture will take on a sloppy, curdled texture, this is normal! Like a stroppy toddler, this is just a stage your buttercream will go though. Once all the butter is added you need to keep mixing until your mixture transforms into a silky-smooth dreamlike Swiss meringue buttercream. Once this magical transformation has occurred, add the salt and vanilla and mix again to combine.

CONSTRUCTION

You will Need:

  • One packet of your choice of Sweet Palette Sprinkles placed into a wide lipped bowl.
  • A piping bag fitted with an approximately 1cm round nozzle, or a clean plastic bag with a 1cm hole cut in one corner.

Method

Lay your Whoopies out in evenly sized matched pairs on a baking tray. Place your Swiss meringue butter cream (or icing of your choice) into the piping bag. Pipe swirls of buttercream onto ONE of the pairs. When they are done, place the tops onto the piped base and squish them down gently. Now take the Whoopies, one at a time, and hold them with one hand above the bowl of sprinkles. With the other hand drop sprinkles on to the sides of the Whoopie, rotating until they are covered. Repeat until all the Whoopies are done. Volia!

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