Usher In the Fall Season With Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Making Whoopie Pies at Home
My husband has always had a taste for whoopie pies. We lived in the Midwest when we were first married, and when we ventured out on weekends we traveled towards the northern parts of Indiana where these pies were abundantly available and the varieties were varied. Here in South Florida, they are only available at certain novelty shops and in convenience stores. They are satisfactory, but still not the same as those homemade whoopie pies or "moon pies" up north.
Last week while surfing the net, he came across a recipe for these pies made from pumpkin, and he thought it would be a great way to usher in the coming fall season. I am not a big lover of sweets, unless it has something chocolate, but the final product tempted me and I could not resist. I must say that they were absolutely satisfying. And coupled with my cup of coffee, well, let's just say that there was no better way to begin my day.
The Origins of Whoopie Pies
Whoopie pies are scrumptious, sweet mini-sandwiches filled with cream cheese or frosting between two moist cake layers. In stores, the most popular types sold are chocolate and caramel. Both types come with marshmallow filling between the cakes. The round shape of this cake is an attractive feature and the thick layer of sweet filling between is so creamy it oozes out when you bite into the sandwich.
Whenever we travel, my husband looks for these treats at gas stations, diners, and mom-and-pop type shops. Usually, they are up front by the cash registers wrapped in single plastic wrap or simple packaging. You can imagine the thrill he displayed when we found them sold by the box at a specialty store one day!
Whoopie pies are considered a New England phenomenon and Pennsylvania Amish tradition. According to food historians, Amish women would bake these desserts (known as huckelbucks, or creamy turtles) and put them in farmers' lunch pails. It is also the official state treat of Maine. The world's largest whoopie pie was created in South Portland, Maine, in 2011 and weighed 1,062 pounds. It was broken into pieces and sold to raise funds to send Maine-made whoopie pies to soldiers serving overseas.
Whoopie Pie Trivia
- Other names of whoopie pies are moon pies, gobs, black moons, scooter pies, round dogs, cream cakes.
- In Bath, Maine, during the Heritage Days festival, the town holds a whoopie pie eating contest.
- Five hundred people attended the first annual Whoopie Pie Festival in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine.
- According to a Southwestern Pennsylvanian folklorist, the origins of the whoopie pie are in medieval Germany, where cream-filled cake was baked. German religious groups, such as the Amish and the Mennonites, who settled in Pennsylvania as early as the 1730s, brought the confection.
- Gob is a name owned by Tim Yost of Yost's Dutch Maid Baker in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, though the name is used widely throughout western Pennsylvania. Why "gob"? Could be that the miners who carried gobs in their lunch boxes likened them to lumps of coal, which were also called gobs.
- Why "whoopie"? The lore is that these were popular treats packed in the lunch boxes of Amish schoolchildren (makes sense, as a frosting sandwich is less messy than frosting on top of a cake). They would pop open their lunch boxes, spot the treat, and shout, "Whoopie!"
- Marshmallow Fluff is the main ingredient in the filling of a traditional whoopie pie. Manufactured by the Durkee-Mower Company in Massachusetts.
Source: Whoopie Pies, S. Billingsley and A. Treadwell, Chronicle Books LLC, 2010
Pumpkin Whoopie Pie Cakes
- 3 cups whole wheat flour, or all-purpose flour
- 2 tbs cinnamon
- 1 tsp bakng powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt, or regular table salt
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup turbinado sugar, or granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup canola oil, or sunflower or vegatable oil
- 3 cups chilled organic pumpkin puree, or regular canned pumpkin
- 2 eggs organic, cage free, or regular eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, or regular vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking soda
Visual Photo Guide: Pumpkin Whoopie PiesClick thumbnail to view full-size
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, dark brown sugar, and the oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.
- Use a small cookie scoop or a large spoon to drop a rounded, heaping tablespoon of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, making sure that the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. The cookies should be firm when touched. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack.
- To make the filling (see the ingredients below), beat the butter on medium speed until smooth with no visible lumps, about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time, then add the maple syrup and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
- To assemble the whoopie pies: Turn half of the cooled cakes upside down. Pipe or spoon the filling (about a tablespoon) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges of the cake. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving.
Visual Photo Tour: Maple-Cream Cheese FillingClick thumbnail to view full-size
Maple Cream Cheese Filling
- 3 c powdered sugar
- 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 tbs pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
My husband wanted to make his cakes perfectly round so that the filling would flow out from the edges slightly puffy. Using a piping tool will make the job easier, but he used a basic spatula and they still looked pretty. Also, make sure that you pick up a small cookie scoop or ice cream scoop to make the cakes. It makes the cakes nice and round. Lastly, don't forget to pick up some parchment paper when making your grocery list of the ingredients.
The recipe makes about forty sandwiches. We kept a few out to enjoy during the week and the rest we stored in the freezer for later in the season. it is suggested that you eat the frozen pies within thirty days because the filling tends to lose its fluff and taste.
If you have any thoughts or tidbits to share about your experience with whoopie pies please mention them in the comment section below.
Rate This Whoopie Pie Recipe
Whoopie Pie Favorites
What is your favorite Whoopie Pie Combo?
© 2012 Dianna Mendez