Old-Fashioned Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies are considered a New England phenomenon and a Pennsylvania Amish tradition. A whoopie pie is like a sandwich, but made with two soft cookies with a fluffy white filling. Traditional whoopie pies are made with vegetable shortening, not butter. The original and most commonly made whoopie pie is chocolate. But cooks like to experiment, and today pumpkin whoopie pies are a favorite seasonal variation.

The recipe for whoopie pies has its origins with the Amish, and in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, it is not uncommon to find roadside farm stands offering these desserts. Amish cooking is about old recipes that have fed families for generations, with no trendy or cross-cultural fusions or mixtures. These cake-like whoopie pies were considered a special treat because they were originally made from leftover batter. According to Amish legend, when children would find these treats in their lunch bags, they would shout “Whoopie!”

1/2 cup baking cocoa
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup shortening
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk

 FILLING:
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Dash salt
1 cup milk
3/4 cup shortening
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. In a small bowl, combine cocoa and water. Cool for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and cocoa mixture. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.

2. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls

2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Flatten slightly with a spoon. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove to wire racks to cool.

3. In a small saucepan, combine flour and salt. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth; cook and stir over medium-high heat until thick, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and refrigerate until completely cool.

4. In a small bowl, cream the shortening, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add milk mixture; beat for 7 minutes or until fluffy. Spread filling on half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies. Store in the refrigerator.

Yields: 2 dozen

recipe

adapted from Taste of Home

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