Cookbook Review: Making Whoopies: The Official Whoopie Pie Book

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.

They are eaten by happy children with slim mothers in giant houses with spotless kitchens…

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.

Click here for Butter conversion

Click here for dry goods conversions

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)

Filling

  • 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.

Shopping

Always shop around. I bought my copy at Amazon.com. At time of post I also found good prices at:

Making Whoopies: The Official Whoopie Pie Book

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  • cashew
    March 14, 2011 - 10:28 pm | Permalink

    wow. full on. would love to try one… how would they post do you think?

    • Editor
      March 14, 2011 - 10:50 pm | Permalink

      Can certainly try Cashew!

  • Kate
    March 15, 2011 - 11:19 am | Permalink

    I cannot believe that Americans can get away with calling these pies!!! Surely they are oversized cupcakes?

    • Editor
      March 15, 2011 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

      They are a combination of a cake, cookie and a muffin all at once. Have NO IDEA why they call them a pie?! Very confusing!

  • March 16, 2011 - 11:45 pm | Permalink

    must try whoopie pies sometimes – have seen another recent post about a whoopie pie book – thought it was the same but it isn’t – so many there is a trend happening! Like the sound of your one!

    http://www.tinnedtomatoes.com/2011/03/chocolate-whoopie-pies.html

  • March 17, 2011 - 4:40 am | Permalink

    What a fun book! Your whoppie pies look so good that i wanna buy this book and try out all the other recipes too! Thanks for the review :)

  • March 17, 2011 - 10:09 pm | Permalink

    The world can be a cruel place. I’ve never eaten a single whoopie-pie, and yet there are entire recipe books dedicated to them? Wait, I amend my original sentence. The world is a lovely place :)

  • March 18, 2011 - 2:14 am | Permalink

    There has been so much talk on food blogs about whoopie pies, but I didn’t really know what it is all about. But after reading your post, I think I get a clearer picture. I like your frank review on this book. It’s such a pity we can only use so few recipes in the book. I found these substitute for vegetable shortening (http://www.ehow.com/facts_5595451_good-substitute-vegetable-shortening_.html) and marshmallow fluff (http://whatscookingamerica.net/Candy/MarshmallowFluff.htm). Hope it helps:)

  • March 28, 2011 - 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never tried a whoopie pie before. They look like oversized cookies stuffed with cream rather than “pies” but they do look delicious!

    I find I always have to cut down sugar in American recipes. They tend to have a very sweeth tooth!

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