Apr 19, 2010

Two Fat Cats Whoopie Pie

Could there possibly be a better name for a dessert?  Just calling it Whoopie Pie is a stunner, but adding Two Fat Cats?  It's wonderful.  Rose says that whoopie pie is a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition.  The staid Amish women would put it in their husbands' lunch boxes, or so the story goes, and when their husbands opened the lunch box, they would shout "Whoopie!"   Well, maybe.  I come from Pennsylvania Dutch stock myself.  As the Wikipedia article on "Pennsylvania Dutch" will tell you, you don't have to be from Pennsylvania to be Pennsylvania Dutch--you can be from northern Indiana, too, as I am.  (You're not Dutch either; "Dutch" is a corruption of "Deutsch.")  We did not have whoopie pies, although we did have Shoo Fly pies, as well as Old-Fashioned Cream pies (not a cream pie at all--more like a heavy, very sweet custard).  Also, I never heard my grandfather say "Whoopie!"  I might have said "whoopie" when I ate this "pie," which is also known as a "gob."  I don't like to call it a gob.  Amish women used to call it a hucklebuck, which sounds more like something my grandpa would have said, but I never heard of that either.
I don't know what took me so long to get around to making this. I think I was put off by the fake marshallow cream because I really don't like marshmallow and figured I wouldn't want to make something that resembled it. I was wrong on that count, although my "marshmallow" didn't fluff up the way it's supposed to. But more about that later.
The cake was simplicity itself. But here's a sad picture.
I got out my package of dark brown Muscovado sugar, and it was hard as a Muscovado rock. I tried the wrap-the-sugar-in-a-damp-towel trick and the microwave-with-bowl-of-water trick, but the rock remained stubborning rockish. So I got out some boring but soft light brown sugar.
The sugar, egg, butter, and oil mix up to be a tawny brown. If you used Muscovado sugar, it would be darker. And probably better, too, but you don't have to rub it in.
Then the flour and cocoa mixture is added alternately with the buttermilk. Jim told me to include a picture of the buttermilk so you could see that I don't have that much left to use up.
I used a two-tablespoon measure to put the batter on the baking sheet. As I was doing this, I kept making them bigger and bigger because it looked like I had way too much batter for six blobs of batter. After I did about three, Jim said, "So do you put the other six on the other baking sheet?" "Huh?" I said. "Well, aren't these just halves?" he asked. I said a few words that would have shocked my Pennsylvania Dutch forebears, and started mentally dividing the batter into twelve blobs instead of six.
I smoothed the batter a little, but the mounds of chocolate batter went into the oven looking pretty rough.
But they came out of the oven looking good, making me glad I hadn't bothered with more smoothing.
Then the frosting. I swear I'm getting worse at making buttercream since I found out it was hard. Before I knew how tricky and unpredictable it was considered to be, my buttercreams turned out fine. A friend of mine really jinxed me when she asked me if I'd give her a little tutorial on buttercreams. I haven't made a decent one since. The idea with this "marshmallow" is to make a meringue, then a "finishing cream," and then mix then together.
Bubbling sugar syrup.....
Mixed with a beaten egg white. I may not have beaten the egg white enough, because it didn't maintain its texture after I added the syrup. Last time I made a meringue, I said I thought it was better to overbeat than underbeat, and I should have paid attention to myself. I have it on good authority (Rose) that adding a bit of cream of tartar makes it difficult to do damage to the egg whites by overbeating. Now we all know.
Suffice it to say that the buttercream did not look like marshmallow cream, and I did not get to "step back on my heels and congratulate myself on making a perfect buttercream," which I'd been looking forward to. I was even thinking of clicking my heels together as I congratulated myself.
It still tasted delicious, and Sarah, for whom it served as a birthday cake, was completely in love with the whole idea of whoopie pies in general, and her particular Whoopie Pie with a candle on it in particular.
Oh, by the way, I do remember somewhat snobbily declaring that Fudgy Pudgy brownies did not pass my Presidential dessert name test. And yet here I am, crazy about the name Whoopie Pie. Maybe it's just in my genes. Assuming that I ever figure out how to make buttercream again, I'd happily serve it to the President. And, who knows, he might just take one look at it, smile, and say, "Whoopie"!

TASTING PANEL:
Sarah: "Wonderful! The creamy center is amazing--this is what marshmallows should taste like."
James: "Tasty. Light and fluffy." [When I offered Sarah the last two pies to take home, James enthusiastically accepted].
Jim: "The crust has a kind of chewiness that I like, and the cookie thing has a nice chocolate flavor. The cream is not overwhelming, but it's really very good."

22 comments:

faithy, the baker said...

OMG! hahahaha..now after looking at Mendy's and yours and Vicki's, i realised that i must have read something wrongly! I think when Rose said in her instructions to make 6 scoops ..means = x2 so means for top and bottom..cos i made only 6 which means = 3 whoopie pies..no wonder mine is so HUGE and spread like pancakes! HAHAHAHAHA But then again..my batter was still quite watery though compared to what i see in yours and Mendy's. No wonder i was wondering how to eat my huge pancake pies..

Melinda said...

I have read 2 newspaper articles here in England, declaring whoopie pies the 'new cupcake' craze. You are very timely and a dessert hipster.
I remember having whoopie pies with ice cream in the centre. Could I be remembering wrongly? Or perhaps we made them incorrectly in Oregon.
I love the idea of 3 great big whoopie pies. Sounds like Faithy read it the way you did. That is too much whoopie for one pie! More like a oppsie pie.
Yoru buttercream couldn't have turned out too bad as it seems to have gone down well. Believe me, curdled horrible buttercream doesn't taste very good.
Barack would be lucky to have a whoopie pie of yours.

Vicki said...

Oh for heavens sake, I did the same math as you ending up with three giant Whoopie Pies. I cut them in fourths to serve, although everyone happily agreed they could eat a whole one.

doughadear said...

Marie,
Whenever I have to make a buttercream I approach it with a reluctant hand.
I'm picturing a lunchroom with grown men yelling out Whoopie! Too funny. Well, yours look pretty nice and I'd be happy to celebrate a birthday with these.

Marie said...

Faithy and Vicki,
You need a faithful guy like Jim reading over your shoulder to correct your basic math mistakes. Although I kind of like the idea of Whoopie Pancake Pies!


Melinda,
I am the hipster dessert woman! I can't imagine why I didn't think of that title before. Thank you. I beat the frosting for about ten minutes to get it past the curdled stage, but it never did get nice and fluffy.

Oriana,
You never seem to approach anything with a reluctant hand. You're always game!

Anna said...

I’m sorry you had trouble with your egg whites, but I’m glad you posted.

I’m generally pretty brave in the kitchen, but somehow marshmallows have always seemed too intimidating to attempt.

It’s been my rule in recent years that I attempt to overcome such timidity, mostly because I loathe being pushed around by my neuroses.

I’ve been wondering what to bake next, and I think these may well be it. Thanks for the inspiration.

Rachelino said...

Marie-
They looks beautiful! It too adore the name for these lil' whoopie pies. I was going to try to squeeze these in after making cakes for events all week (and a bake sale this weekend!), and both my husband's sanity, and the lack of two critical ingredients kept me from overextending myself. I look forward to trying the whoopies another time. Onto another adorable name - CHIFFONLETS!
P.S. I got to meet Rose and Woody this weekend!! It was awesome!

Anonymous said...

Looks like the egg whites were under-beaten as you said, but still the pies look so cute, and glad to hear that they tasted good! Any ideas where to get beeswax for the caramel floss?

evil cake lady said...

aw, I hate it when my muscovado hardens into a big rock! i do use that as an excuse to whack the heck out of it with a rolling pin, or the handle of my chef's knife, or whatever i find that seems fit. then i let the beater take care of the little chunks when i add it to the mix.

a hipster dessert woman! you go, marie! and whoopie! sounds better than fudgy pudgy, really. i think obama would be okay with whoopie, which is much better than gob. gob belongs over there in the no pile with ingot.

Sweet Sensations said...

Am I missing something? I was trying to find the recipe for your Whoopie Pies... Is it posted?

faithy, the baker said...

hmm...my muscovado sugar never gets hardened like that before.. strange to see how sugar gets hardened like that.. the only sugar that we have here hardened are the palm sugar & rock sugar but those are meant to be that way..lol!

Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

I love all the step-by-step photos--very helpful. I always get in the "baking zone" and forget to document the process. :)

Mendy said...

ב''ה

I keep the muscavado (and all brown sugar) in the freezer (thanks to my lovely wife.) You just leave it out for a few minutes and its back to the softness you bought it at. Has not failed me yet!

Marie said...

Anna,
This frosting isn't real "marshmallow," so there's no need to be afraid. I think it will turn out perfectly as long as you beat the egg whites enough.

Rachelino,
All Rose and Woody have to do is keep on traveling the world, and eventually we'll all get to meet them!

Anon.,
I haven't looked for the beeswax yet (and Woody says it's not necessary), but I think you can buy it at craft stores like Michael's.

ECL,
I've never seen sugar that was as rock-solid as this was. I considered just putting it in the mixer to see what would happen, but my courage failed me.
"Gob" is a nasty word, isn't it?

Sweet Sensations,
Sorry--this blog isn't a recipe blog because we're baking through an entire cookbook, which is copyrighted material. If you don't want to invest in the book without trying it out, I'd suggest borrowing it from your library or checking out some of the recipes that are available on-line.

Faithy,
That's the advantage of living in a hot and humid climate!

Jill,
I know what you mean--if I didn't have my trusty photographer/right-hand man, my documentation would be pretty sparse.

Mendy,
Well, that's one of the advantages of having a lovely wife!

Kathy said...

OMG!!! These look fabulous and super delicious! It'll be a definite make for me!

Rozanne said...

Marie, your whoopie pies look awesome!
Too bad your sugar was hard. Try adding a slice of apple or a piece of bread to your bag of sugar. It will soften it.

gartblue said...

marie dear ..

gosh! they look gorgeous and I love your getting crazy over the name. whoopie!

I apologise for not being able to make the pies just yet. We've had a little tragedy and right now, I'm at Cebu, Philippines for a meeting.

So, don't cut me off just yet. I really wanna try the pies. at least for the marshmallow cream. and thanks to jim for the buttermilk pic. I've not been able to find it here and am thinking to subs with sour cream but am thinking the butterfat content would be too different.

Mabuhay! *greeting in philippines*

p/s am putting on a very business-like face while I write this. :)

Hanaâ said...

Marie, your whoopie pies turned out great. Sorry to hear you ran into some issues with the BC frosting. Sandwiched between the two chocolate cakes, you can’t tell that something went amiss. I skipped these because I had lots of baking to do for a bake sale at work last Monday. I ended up taking a Sweet Potato Bundt Cake, Dark Choc Cupcakes with White Choc Mousse, and a big batch of Almond Cranberry Biscotti (I had two people asking me if they could buy the whole plate, ha ha). Needless to say, the fundraising was a big success. We raised $215 for the Susan G Komen foundation.

I’m looking forward to the Chiffonlettes, even though I’m planning on baking it in a Bundt or Tube pan, and I don’t even like coffee. I know, weird!! I’m just excited to be baking a Chiffon Cake because I’ve never baked one before (not counting helping my mom make one when I was little).

Anna said...

Just checking in again after making some Whoopie Pies of my own.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to make such huge ones, so I just used my little cookie scoops (hold a level tablespoon).

I made 22 little cakes, for 11 portions.

They turned out okay, but next time, I think I’ll turn the heat down in the oven, mine got a little too brown. Maybe at a lower heat I’ll manage that better. (Though I’m sure the smaller size played a role too.)

The only part that gave me trouble was the meringue, I think my sugar syrup got over cooked then cooled too fast. After soaking the sugar blob off my beaters overnight, I tried again with more success. For me, the issue seems to have been the relatively tiny volume of sugar syrup. Hard to take the temperature of such a small amount, and it seemed to cool off fairly quickly, as such things go. On my second attempt, I just poured the syrup straight from the sauce pan into the egg whites, in about three stages (fairly quickly). Seemed to work fine.

Flavor and texture-wise, the buttercream was my favorite part of these. I think the cakes were too salty for my taste. Next time (and there will definitely be one, love this concept), I’ll probably use way less salt.

Louise said...

I would like to know if these will bake up just a good if made smaller - like with a 1 Tbsp scoop. I see one post said she made them smaller and they got too brown. Has anyone else tried it? thanks, Louise

Louise said...

I am going to make 200 of these whoopie pies - any thoughts on how may times I can multiply both the cookie and the buttercream? I was thinking of quadrupling it. Any thoughts?

Louise said...

A few thoughts about whoppie pies.
First, I made them with a 1 tbsp scoop and a 2 tbsp scoop. Both were very good but there was something special about the taste and texture of the 2 tbsp scoop ones. The extra thickness added something special .

Second - the buttercream marshmellow filling is TO DE FOR!

Louise