My rating: 2 1/2 stars for the book 4 stars for the actual pie!
I’ve heard lots of noise about Whoopie pies. Hey they were even on The View and have been billed as the next big thing since cupcakes by the NY Times. So what are these “pies”? Well, they aren’t the tarts that Americans traditionally label as “pies”. Rather they are muffin tops sandwiched together by some kind of nuclear white cream.
I decided to take one for the team and ordered “Making Whoopies: the Official Whoopie Pie Book” by Nancy Griffin. It’s not a big book – more the size of a human head (note I’ve been told my nugget is pretty huge).
There are 16 whoopie pie recipes, 5 are non-traditional ie not real chocolate ones – red velvet, pumpkin, banana etc. I was enjoying the cuteness of the book but as I started going through it I noticed a massive problem. There are only 4 recipes that you can easily make in Australia The other 12 recipes require either “Marshmallow Fluff” or “Vegetable Shortening” – neither of which is easily available except at usafoods.com.au
In fact, the books says that traditionalists insist the frosting must contain vegetable shortening or marshmallow “Fluff”. So let’s try the only whoopie pie recipe that can be easily made in Oz. Can you tell I’m not in a whoopie kinda mood right now? I was going to make Zingerman’s Bakehouse Whoopie Pies that accompanied a New York Times March 17, 2009 article about the popularity of whoopie pies. But, I realise that Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella made this recipe already (the photos look faaabulous). So, I decided to go off-piste and make a non traditional pie from the book. After all, it’s these recipes that make the book added value.
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Banana Choc-chip Whoopie Pies (makes 8-12 whoopies) adapted from Nancy Griffin Cakes
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened (113gms)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (100gms)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (55 gms)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1.2 cups (3 medium – large) mashed bananas
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- 1/2 cup cream cheese (113 gms)
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar (330 gms) (this is icing sugar mixture)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 tbls milk as needed
- 3/4 chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F (176.7 C). Lightly grease 2 baking sheets or line with parchment paper. For the cakes: in a large bowl, cream the butter sugars and salt until light and fluffy. Add vanilla then bananas. The mixture will look curdled; that’s okay. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
Whisk together the flour and baking soda; add to the banana mixture, mixing until evenly combined. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then mix for 1 minute more. Stir in the chips and walnuts
Scoop the dough by the quarter cup for large cakes and by the tbl for small cakes. Allow plenty of space between them. [6 on a large tray worked out]
[6 on a small tray was not such a good idea]
Bake for 12-14 mins until the tops spring back when lightly touched with your finger and the edges are light brown. Remove and cool for 10 mins on sheet. then transfer to rake to completely cool. For the filling: beat the cream cheese, confectioners sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add just enough milk to make the mixture spreadable. Add walnuts. To assemble: Spread the bottom of one of the cakes with 2 tbls of filling. Place another cake on top of the filling, bottom side down.
These tasted really delicious. The texture is like a muffin but the ratio of choc chips to dough is more like a cookie. Its more like a bunch of choc chips held together by banana cake (no complaints here!). The cream cheese frosting is also a nice touch.
Be warned though that this thing is huge and sweet. Next time I’ll make it using tablespoon sizing rather than 1/4 cup as I sent my guests a step closer to typeII diabetes.
Overall, delicious whoopie pie but book may not be worth the import cost. See below – a human bite barely made a dent into this beast.
If you are a sweet tooth, you MUST try a whoopie pie.
Always shop around. I bought my copy at Amazon.com. At time of post I also found good prices at:
- fishpond.com.au/ Making Whoopies: The Official Whoopie Pie Book
- amazon.com/Making Whoopies: The Official Whoopie Pie BookDessert Baking Books)