Monday, May 23, 2011

Adventures in Cooking - Makin' Whoopie.....

Whoopie Pie. Heard of it? Maybe, maybe not. It's an American thing, though from which part exactly I'm not sure (Amish? Deep South? I've read conflicting things). Anyway, the baking craze in Melbourne for the past year or so has been cupcakes, which I love. But I've seen Whoopie Pie cookbooks popping up in book shops and I've seen posters up in homeware stores for Whoopie Pies. Boredom Abounds' mother even saw some for sale in a cafe in Toorak about a month ago. 

So, I thought I better give these Whoopie Pies a try. I googled a few recipes and found this one. It seemed easy enough - and it was. Really, really easy. I did make a few alterations, so below you'll find the original recipe with my changes in brackets.

3 cups all purpose (plain) flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda (bi-carb soda to us)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened (6 ounces / 170 grams)
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses (I used treacle, which is basically the same thing)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 cup peppermint candies (which I didn't use - I hate peppermint. Blech)

Lemon filling 
(I didn't use the lemon filling part from the recipe at all because I couldn't find marshmallow spread. Instead I made a basic lemon rind icing)
125 grams cream cheese (room temperature)
50 grams unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 cups cups icing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons buttermilk
1 - 2 teaspoons lemon rind


Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt together in a bowl. I think I've stared at this photo for to long - it's starting to look like an insane clown's face.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar together on a medium speed until light and fluffy. Mine didn't really get "light and fluffy'" but it looked okay to me (and I was getting tired of standing there watching it get beaten without getting fluffy, so I MOVED ON).

Basically, it looked like this.

Add in molasses/treacle, egg and vanilla and beat until well combined.

Add in the flour in two lots and beat on medium speed until it's completely mixed in.

It will become really thick and form a dough that looks like this. See how easy it is so far? And super quick to do as well - unless you're trying to blog about it and make it all pretty.  When you're trying to take the photos one-handedley.....let's just say the camera near the electric mixer is a bit of a recipe for disaster and leave it at that.

Press the dough into a large, thick, flat disc and wrap in cling wrap. This was tricky, mostly because the cling wrap would NOT BEHAVE. But a more coordinated person than I would not have a problem with something so simple. Refrigerate the dough for four hours or overnight (I was pressed for time, so mine only stayed in the fridge for about 90 minutes. I don't think it made much of a difference to be honest). Note that I did not realise how unappetising the above photo looked until I posted it just now.

Preheat the oven to about 180 degrees Celsius. I had my fan forced oven on about 150 degrees.

Roll spoonfuls of the dough into balls about 1 inch wide/high. Roll the balls of dough in the raw sugar, coating them completely (this was my favourite thing). Place them on an ungreased baking tray and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are a golden brown.

Once baked, let them cool down completely.

To make lemon filling (it's super easy):

Mix ingredients together and beat in electric mixer until smooth and combined. Place icing in the fridge for about an hour to let it firm up a bit. See? Sooooo easy.

To assemble the Whoopie Pies:

Make sure you match up cookie parts that are exactly the same size. Spread icing on the flat, underside of the cookie and stick another cookie to it with the flat side to also stuck to the icing.

Et Voila - Whoopie Pies!

- I would probably add another 1/2 or whole teaspoon of ground ginger next time, just to enhance the flavour a bit. I don't think it was strong enough (but I DO love ginger).
- I would also replace the molasses/treacle with golden syrup next time. I think the treacle had too sweet a flavour, because with the raw sugar on the outside the biscuits are very sweet.
- Rolling the dough in raw sugar before baking them is possibly the BEST IDEA EVER. It adds such a nice, sweet crunch to the cookies. I cannot believe I never thought of that before. Totally unhealthy of course. Which actually makes it more delicious - it's a proven scientific fact. It's a basic formula: Bad for you = most delicious thing EVER.
- I think I would make the balls of dough smaller next time. They rose perfectly, but I think they are just too thick and high. I think next time I would also press them flat a little bit before baking, just so they spread out and flatten a bit more.
- I would like to try to make the proper filling next time, just because it sort of seemed like cookies stuck together with icing, and if I wanted to do that I would just go and buy some Mrs. Fields and icing in a tube and settle in for a long, diabetes inducing afternoon of cookies stuck together. So I'd like to make a proper American Whoopie Pie with the right filling. They're a cute party item I think. 

I enjoyed making these, and they are easy to do, but I can't see them taking the city by storm the way cupcakes have.

I will make them again though - I'm thinking next time I'll try either red velvet or chocolate peanut butter and making them more snack sized. Your thoughts?

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Anonymous said...

Yes! Make Red Velvet!! So I can like the bowl...and the beaters...

Julia @ Boredom Abounds said...

I'm guessing this Anonymous comment is from Angie - who else would ask to 'like' the bowl when I cook?!

Melanie B said...

And her godson would be there right by her side! We made jam drops today and I had to wrestle the bowl and wooden spoon out of his hot little hands before there was no dough left. Remi prefers cake batter and biscuit dough to the cooked versions. Glad to see you makin' whoopie in the kitchen! They look great

Zaire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kiki Chaos said...

Haha... glad wrap will never bend to your will ;) I've had a whoopie pie recipe hanging round that I picked up from Wheel & Barrow, but it's chocolate with marshmallow filling. TBH, i think they'd be too sweet for me, but they look fantastic!

Julia @ Boredom Abounds said...

Melanie - yes, he definitely takes after his godmother! You should take Remi to Cold Rock ice creamery. They have a cake batter ice cream flavour that is SO GOOD.

Kiki - Wheel & Barrow on High St is where I've seen the posters! I'd like to try the chocolate ones - I'm a sucker for a chocolate brownie biscuit.

Hannah said...

These looks glorious, well done! And you're so dedicated with the step-by-step photos!