A whoopie pie is a commonly found treat in New England, but is relatively unknown elsewhere, especially on the West Coast. The pies are not really pies at all, as you have probably discerned from the photo above, but are two chocolate cookie/cake discs with a vanilla cream filling sandwiched between them. They’re not like sandwich cookies and not like cream filled cupcakes, but are an entity unto themselves. No one can say for certain where the name came from, though the most widely held belief is that they were named after the reaction that they were intended to elicit from people who ate one.
This recipe comes from Tish Boyle’s The Good Cookie (and is also available on Leite’s Culinaria) and I like it because it doesn’t use shortening in the filling. Don’t get me wrong here: I have had some excellent cookie and cake fillings that use shortening and have no objection to using it in general, but the filling here is simply wonderful. It is very fresh tasting, and not at all greasy or heavy, as vegetable shortening-based fillings can occasionally be.
The cookies are moist and soft, with a rich and chocolaty flavor. They are not overly rich to the point where they overwhelm the flavor of the filling. You might feel compelled to eat them with a bit glass of milk, since they have a very nostalgic quality to them. They are a huge hit at parties, with adults and kids alike. The only change I would recommend making is to double the filling if you like a lot of cream in your whoopie pies.
The cookies are soft and keep very well when stored in an airtight container for several days – assuming that they last that long, of course. The two-bite sized cookies are awfully hard to resist.
(recipe from The Good Cookie)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, very soft
1 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light, then beat in the egg yolk and vanilla extract.
Add the baking soda to the hot water.
Adding 1/3 of each ingredient at a time, stir in hot water, buttermilk and flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture, making sure to end with an addition of dry ingredients and to mix only until just combined.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on cookie sheets, flattening slightly.
Bake cookies for 5-7 minutes, until the tops of the cookies are cracked and cookies look set.
Cool completely on a wire rack before filling.
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 tbsp butter, very soft
3 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
small pinch of salt
With the mixer on a low speed, beat together the sugar and butter until combined. Mixture will be somewhat crumbly. Add in cream, vanilla and salt and beat at high speed until smooth.
Spread the cooled cookies with the filling. Double filling recipe if you want more, but the book recommends using one heaping teaspoon per sandwich.
Makes 24-28 whoopie pies.
ScottAugust 31, 2006
The name alone is interesting enough for me to try this.
The first thing I thought when I saw the picture was “Oreo Cookies” – and I’m not even American!
There’s a totally romantic notion about New England to me, so if these can make me feel like I’m there, I’m all for it.
peabodyAugust 31, 2006
Looks good. I actually plan on making a pumpkin version of these come the fall.
JenniferAugust 31, 2006
These look delicious! I was just contemplating a similar recipe the other day.
UnGourmetGalAugust 31, 2006
I just heard of whoopie pies last Thanksgiving, but I haven’t eaten one yet. I’m saving myself for a pumpkin version, it sounds so good. Yours look great, the ultimate oreo cookie.
RiaSeptember 1, 2006
These look absolutely tempting! I’ve had great success with the recipes you post here, and your stories and comments are most helpful in enhancing the whole culinary experience. Thank you very much!
I would like to ask if the cookie itself is sweet, or is its sweetness (or lack of it) the perfect pair for the filling?
Patricia ScarpinSeptember 1, 2006
Wow, they look delicious!!
I thought of Oreo Cookies, too (and I’m from Brazil).
I have tried some of your recipes and the results are really good. Tks for sharing!
AnaSeptember 1, 2006
Yum, those cookies look like they would be good in ice cream sandwiches too!!
SharonSeptember 1, 2006
I grew up in Maine, where Whoopie Pies are a big treat (and commonly available at bakeries and delis). I mentioned them this week at work in Texas, and nobody had ever heard of them so I promised to make some. How convenient that you posted what looks like a great recipe! It might be hard not to make the nice shortening-y version of the filling, though…
EllieSeptember 1, 2006
picture perfect, and they sound divine!
ValerieSeptember 1, 2006
I’ve never tried a Whoopie Pie, but how could I not love them? Will definitely have to try this. I love Peabody’s idea of a pumpkin version, too. That makes me think – what other flavors can I try?
Sam O.September 1, 2006
I’ve had pumpkin ones, with cream cheese filling… YUMMY!
StephanieSeptember 1, 2006
Despite growing up in the house of a professional baker, I never really got into cakes and cookies, and the like.
But when my mom made whoppie pies? Oh, heaven. Probably my favorite of all her recipes! In fact, I now have it her recipe, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy, on pain of death…so I’d best not say any more!
LoriSeptember 3, 2006
What an enticing photo, Nic! I’ve always thought that Whoopie Pies were like large Oreos.
PrissyCookNovember 20, 2006
So, I’m making my first whoopie pie this evening, which is a big step for this Tx girl living in Az. The recipe I found is pumpkin, which should be a perfect pre-Thanksgiving office treat.
KimFebruary 22, 2007
For all of you who are misinformed… Whoopie Pies are NOTHING like oreos except for the color and the chocolate! LOL!
Think more – two pieces of moist chocolate cake, with a cool, creamy filling in the middle.
Can’t wait to try your filling recipe – I made Whoopie Pies last week but that filling was YUCK!
KariJune 4, 2007
I made these this weekend, and they were fantastic! They were a big hit at the party I brought them to. At first I thought the filling was a little too sweet, but in the end I decided it was the perfect balance for the richness of the cookies. I will definitely make these again.
LoFebruary 11, 2008
We have Whoopie Pies in New York, too, they’re not in every supermarket but you can find them is some convenience marts and some bodegas. These look a lot like Wicked Whoopies, do they taste alike as well?
kateFebruary 21, 2008
Hey, can’t wait to make these.
I don’t know the origin of these, but they’re big in PA dutch country, too. You can get them at any mennonite market, some supermarkets, too.
The filling sounds great–wonder if it would be even better with
egg yolk for some of the heavy cream.
fionaNovember 2, 2009
may i know what can be replaced by the heavy cream? thanks[:
LisAwayMay 24, 2011
Made these last night. They were my first time ever trying Whoopie pies which I’ve wanted to make forever. They are a very dark chocolate and the filling is really just like a good frosting. I’m glad you mentioned that a marshmallow cream is also a common filling because I think that’s more what I expected. These really are just like portable cakes. Quite good. But, yes, you’ll need milk.
MommasitaFebruary 10, 2012
These are very dry – not like cakes – more like a soft cookie. Very disappointed in this recipe.
AngelaFebruary 12, 2013
I made these on friday.. they were really good.. i dont think i stirred them good enough though i felt they were very heavy..but yet delicious.. what can i do to make the cake lighter