I have been on what you might call a whoopie pie kick lately. I made some classic chocolate-marshmallow whoopies a few weeks back when Mike Edison invaded Ian’s Pizza during his book tour and was shocked to find that so many Midwesterners were unfamiliar with this cookie-cake hybrid.
Whoopie pies, or gobs, are definitely a New Englander’s treat. Maybe I was subconsciously influenced by the time I spent in Massachusetts with my grandparents as a kid, but man oh man do I love whoopie pies. To make a whoopie pie, you basically need two mini cakes and something sweet to stick them together with. The classic version is a sturdy-but-fluffy chocolate cake with marshmallow filling. Around the holidays you might also see gingerbread or pumpkin cakes. Or cookies. Or pies, or whatever they are. There are a lot of goofy theories floating around about how and why whoopie pies were created and named, but the one that holds the most water with me is that they were a use for left over cake batter. As far as the name goes – I don’t know where it came from, but it makes me think of Ric Flair, which is a pretty righteous quality in a dessert if you ask me.
Anyway, my second favorite thing about whoopie pies, the first being that they’re delicious, is that they hold up really well in the mail. Unlike cupcakes, that either require that you make them in a jar or overnight ship them in really expensive packaging, you can easily ship whoopie pies. First of all, they’re sturdy. The cakes look fluffy but they’re really more on the chewy side, so they can hold up to being treated not-so-delicately by the USPS. Also, the traditional filling doesn’t call for any dairy, so you aren’t going to kill anyone with old buttercream should the package take an extra day or two to arrive. Why am I talking about the mail right now? More on that later.
This week is a special week in history and you might not even realize it. This week is Green Bean Casserole Pizza week at Ian’s Pizza. I have literally been looking forward to it since Green Bean Casserole Pizza week last year at Ian’s. It got Tony and I talking about casseroles and why they’re the best part about any big family meal. Seriously, all of them are the best. Broccoli casserole, green bean, sweet potato… especially sweet potato. As I kid I couldn’t believe my mom was just letting me scoop piles of candy-coated potatoes on my plate, leaving no room for vegetables whatsoever. But she did! And I loved it.
So now that it’s that time of year when everyone’s aunts are warming up their casserole dishes I thought I’d try my hand and turning my favorite one into a whoopie pie. I’m calling this an experimental recipe because I’m not quite finished developing it yet. But here’s what I made, feel free to tweak it all you like.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 & 1/2 c whole or half walnuts
- 1/2 tsp salt
Toast the walnuts in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes. I used a rimmed cookie sheet with a silpat. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Once those are toasted, remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool. Pour the sugar in a medium saucepan with a thick bottom – keep the walnuts nearby because you’ll need to move quickly once the sugar melts.
Cook the sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally at first. Once it starts melting you’ll want to continually stir it until everything it melted and a nice amber color. As soon as it’s amber, dump in the walnuts and stir to coat. Quickly spread them out on that same silpat (or parchment paper-covered) cookie sheet and use two forks to separate them. If you don’t do this (and if you don’t move quickly enough) you’re going to have walnut brittle. In my case, I shopped them anyway, so it doesn’t really matter – but if you choose to incorporate them in another way you’ll most likely not want one huge sheet of walnut candy.
Set that aside and make the cakes (or whatever.)
- 2 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbs ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 c brown sugar
- 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margerine, room temperature
- 1 & 1/2 cup pureed sweet potato*
- 1/4 cup blended silken tofu**
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
*If you can find it in a can, awesome. I couldn’t this year. So instead, I roasted two large sweet potatoes in a 400 degree oven for about 50 minutes. Then I scooped out the flesh, chopped it up and threw it in my food processor, pulsing it until it was pureed. Sweet potatoes are pretty fibrous, so this might take a while. Since my food pro was already dirty, I also threw 1/4 cup silken tofu in and blended it along with the potato.
**I used tofu because I happened to have some on hand. You could use your favorite replacement for one egg, or, use one egg.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together either into a small bowl or onto a sheet of waxed paper. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the brown sugar and margarine. I use my stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for this, you could also use a hand-held mixer. It will only take 2-3 minutes to get mixed together properly. Add the sweet potato and blended tofu. (If you blended them together, just dump it all in. Otherwise, whir the tofu for a few seconds until it’s smooth and chunk-free.) Mix just until incorporated, then add the vanilla and mix a few seconds more. The batter will be thick.
I use whoopie pie pans, but you could just use a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Using a mini ice cream scoop, or a tablespoon, scoop about 2 Tbs of batter and plop it onto the cookie sheet or greased whoopie pie pan – leave about 2 inches between scoops because they spread a bit. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes – they’ll be firm to the touch when done. Cool on the pan on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.
Now you can make the filling. Whoopie pie filling is pretty weird, I have to say. Traditionally, it’s mostly vegetable shortening. Luckily non-hydrogenated shortening is available these days, so it’s not completely disgusting, but it’s still pretty greasy and weird. Some people simply fill whoopie pies with marshmallow fluff, and that’s fine. But I like how smooth and pretty it looks blended with shortening and powdered sugar, so that’s how I do it. I’ve tried a few variations of marshmallow filling and so far this one is my favorite.
- 2 c ricemellow fluff*
- 1 c non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (I like Earth Balance)
- 1 & 1/2 c powdered sugar
- 1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
*If you aren’t concerned with making these vegan, use regular marshmallow fluff. Or, go crazy and make your own vegan marshmallow fluff.
Beat together the fluff and shortening at low speed until mixed together, then kick it up to medium and beat about 3 minutes. Add the sugar, beating on low until mixed, and then on medium for another 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat about 1 minute more. The filling will be snow white and magically fluffy.
Time to assemble! I’m a little nutty, so I sort through my cookie cake things and find matching pairs. Sometimes a few will be oval shaped, or a little bigger or smaller than the others. I do my best to find each one a matching partner. I use a pastry bag to pipe a nice big pile of frosting on one cake, you could also use an offset spatula or even a spoon. Make a sandwich my smooshing another cake on top. Partner up all the whoopie pies and you’ll have a cute little pile of sweet burgers soon enough.
I chopped the candied walnuts and rolled each whoopie pie in them, so they got a little belt of sweet nutty goodness around them.
My husband thinks you should fold the chopped nuts into the filling so it’s less messy and you get some in every bite. TONY HAS SPOKEN. I zested a lemon into the filling thinking it might help brighten up some of these heavy fall flavors, but it got totally lost in there. I still think it could use some citrus… so do whatever you want with that information.
I wanna send you some mail:
Turns out, I really like to send whoopie pies in the mail. So much so, that I want to send some to you. So leave me a comment below telling me what kind you want. Classic? Pumpkin? Vegan? Not vegan? Sweet potato? Banana and peanut butter? Gingerbread? Let your imagination go nuts. Leave your request below and I’ll choose someone with a US shipping address to send these to on Thanksgiving Day. Once chosen, I will email the winner, well settle on a flavor and I’ll bake & ship you a package of whoopie pies from the Bake and Destroy kitchen! Can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Update: Congrats to Kelly! Vegan whoopie pies are headed your way!
if you could come up with a hot toddy version, that would be all kinds of amazing.
pumpkin and peanut butter would be good.
umm vegan chocolate chip cookie with maybe a berry-ish marshmallow creme. omnomnom.
Anything with chocolate and peanut butter sounds pretty good to me.
Peanut butter and sriracha, my latest obsession.
smore’s whoopie pies!!
Key lime or Ginger-Peach, definitely vegan!!
Vegan pistachio and with cardamom filling!
That headline blew my mind. Bookmarking!!
I’m thinking…..Pumpkin with cream filling and butterfinger. That would totally rock my world. I love whoopie pies and can’t wait to try this vegan recipe!
I’ve been on this whoopie pie fever as well and a lot of California people have no idea what it is but blows their mind when they bite into one! Mine aren’t as huge as yours though! And I feel like such a posuer for that!
Anyways, a sweet potato w/ marshmellow sounds interesting.
ANY FLAVOR you choose, man i could go for , maple bourbon, pecan praline, pumpkin, pistachio… holy moly im obsessed with them lately too! l’d be blessed to get your leftovers, like crumbs from your floor.. im sure there delicious 😉
I would love any kind you feel like making! But sweet potato w/pecans would be awesome!
Vegan s’mores whoopie pies! Or chocolate marzipan! Or pistachio! Whatever, I’m not picky – as long as they’re vegan, I will eat them!
oh man banana whoopie pies with peanut butter filling, and half dipped in chocolate sound amazing! I’m getting fatter just thinking about them.
Vegan pumpkin chocolate!!!!!! Agh!!!! Just the thought of that is giving me a sugargasm!!!!
I’m an equal opportunity whoopie pie lover and it hurts my heart to pick a favorite. Pumpkin rocks my world this time of year though.
alfajores! Lemony cookie with dulce de leche…mmmmmm
I’m a whoopie pie virgin, but I think peanut butter and banana would be awesome
ANYTHING VEGAN! I like surprises! Open for any kind of crazy and/or classic confection.
We buy something similar called moon pies, but they aren’t homemade. I would LOVE to try them homemade. Marshmallow, cookie, covered in shell chocolate. An interesting twist would be to somehow incorporate butterscotch into it. Love the flavor of butterscotch. White Chocolate is also yummy. I enjoyed reading this article, you’re a great writer.
I can’t figure out how to ship these things and have them not be ruined =/
As for a flavor request, pumpkin spice is always a win but red velvet or something with a salted caramel flavor would be just as amazing!
I have to make these, I love making whoopie pies
Eggnog. must have eggnog. I wonder if it can be mixed with creme for filling… with gingerbread cookies!
i dont care what flavor, i just want some of your whoopie pies.
Vegan gingerbread or pumpkin! We’ve been vegan a whole 2 months now and I’ve been wanting to try something that looks sooooo amazing!
‘black forest’….dark chocolate with cherries….oh yum 🙂
I’m thinking something spicey.
Like a spicey mocha flavor. Chocolate cake with coffee and chipotlr filling?
Black pepper and parmesan?
Orange and spicy ginger?
Also, that was posted from my phone so forgive the multiple spellings of spicy…sorry.
I think vegan pumpkin or vegan gingerbread would be perfect for the holidays!
I would LOVE a vegan whoopie pie! 😀 Pumpkin, sweet potato, chocolate … all sorts of deliciousness! It doesn’t matter as long as it’s vegan. *licks lips* You are so talented and create so many delicious goodies. I wish I lived in Chicago! 🙂
Vegan please! I’m new to being vegan and it would be really awesome to try these for thanksgiving!
Traditional chocolate with the marshmallow inside would be awesome or a chocolate with a peppermint with pieces of chopped up candy cane sounds yummy too for the holiday season. I am sure whatever you would make would be delicious! I would absolutely love to try some!!!!
Oh fuck, why do I live in France ?! 🙁
I’ve never had anything vegan before but I’m always willing to try something new. I never knew I liked pumpkin before last week when I had a pumpkin cupcake but it was out of this work. Anything with pumpkin and nuts sounds delicious. 🙂
MMMmmm, vegan pumpkin for me.
I think a dark chocolate cake with a raspberry marshmallow filling and a chocolate drizzle on top would be really good 🙂
lemon whoopie pies with almond frosting in the middle! or almond pies with lemon creame in the middle.
Something badass made with chocolate and awesome. That’s a flavor, right? No? Hmm…peanut butter and chocolate would be good, too.
Pumpkin or classic would be great. Non vegan as well, :).
vegan gingerbread/chocolate or peanut butter\ banana. thank you for having this give-away! what a lovely idea!
Maybe some kind of coffee, Kahlua flavor? Thanks for the giveaway!!
Gingerbread and marshmallow creme sounds amazing to me!
Irish Car bomb flavor! I’ve seen it as a cupcake…but a whoopie pie version would be AMAZING!
Smores flavored. Chocolate, marshmallow, graham craker…just like camping only in Whoopie Pie form. Yummy!
Any vegan flavor is great, though I like chocolate with some kind of cream a lot (vegan).
Sweet sassy Moses, I would love to try any flavor.
I’m not picky, but now I have a serious yen for a whoopie pie!
Do something with white chocolate and I’d marry you. Maybe white chocolate and strawberry? Such a delicious combination. Vegan would be preferred.
As long as it had a metric buttload of marshmallow creaminess in the middle, I don’t even care.
Hmmm… How about chocolate whoppies with a cherry vanilla filling, a la Cherry Garcia? There could even be bits of cherries and chocolate bits in the filling. Yuuuum.
Vegan, or non-vegan, it’s all good 🙂
Im absolutely DYING to taste the Vegan Sweet Potato. dYING i say!!!
Gingerbread pumpkin chocolate. WIN!
Id be in the never eaten one category . looks redamndiculously yummy though , and is now on my try list . Hmmm, for flavor I really like anything pumpkin , chai , red velvet and vanilla … Mmm.
I’ve never had a whoopie pie, slap me! It must be because I’m from California. If you sent me whoopie pies, there would most definitely have to be chocolate involved. Vegan, not vegan, I don’t care. Here’s some ideas, German chocolate, Cherry Cordial, Yellow with Cranberry-Orange filling, Banana Split…. Okay, I’m going to get back to my awful abc family holiday movie now.
I’d love to try either a sweet potato version or a red velvet kind with cream cheese filling. I’m good with vegan or not vegan. Make it how you’d want to eat it too so you can taste test haha.
I have never had a one haven’t been able to find a vegan one! I have a super crazy request apple, cream cheese, sriachi…best snack ever. Or apple cider.
Can you do something with an eggnog/rum/espresso note? I would like something that screams fall and goes well with coffee or warm drinks. Even a vegan or vegetarian can try to capture these egg nog and fall flavors!
i have never had one i am in missouri but i will take a gts in the dark cherry vanilla pepsi whoopie pie or surprise me with anything non vegan because C.M. PUNK IS THE CHAMP THE GREATEST IN THE WORLD
I would love to try one of these vegan and with chocolate and pumpkin and cranberry for the festive Thanksgiving mood. Yum. Seriously though, your whoopie pie looks jam packed with goodness and is making me want dessert for breakfast right now.
Chocolate cake with caramel chips, and a caramel whip filling with sea salt around the edges…. the perfect salted caramel dessert!!!
Sweet Potato Oatmeal/Chocolate Chip would be AMAZING. I can feel it in my bones…and in my feet, which will likely fall off after I eat the whole box in one sitting.
If you are still up to it, I’d love some regular chocolate ones, non-vegan.
I love your site and tweets and FB! Bake and Destroy!!
I would definitely want vanilla cake with espresso buttercream. Vegan, too.
I really hope I win. Thanks!
Mmmmm, a whoopie pie that taste like maple donut! Maple buttercream filled with donut-esque cake/cookies…FTW!
Dark chocolate with orange/lemon/lime filling would be divine.
Vegan Stuffed French Toast Whoopie Pies… <3 mmm…
Ohhh, I think I’d like sweet potato or bananas foster inspired or creme brulee inspired whoopie pie. Mmmm, mmmm, I’m so hungry now.
I have made your whoopie pies before they are delish, but to have you make some for me and send em would be awesome sauce!! I would want something Christmas oriented like chocolate peppermint? Or just banana peanut butter! 🙂
Mint Chocolate Chip
Peanut Butter & Butterscotch between chocolate cake
I am finding it impossible to choose, but either of these would be killer, gingerbread (tis’ the season) or a vegan take on a mini boston cream pie!!! (Omg…that sounds divine!) Thanks!
I would love a cardamom rosewater whoopie pie!
Also, lemon lavender…. maybe throw a little white chocolate in there for good measure.
Ok.. or caramel apple… hmmm. My mind is on an inspiration train now!
Hello gorgeous!! Whooie pies look like a fab treat. Being that I have never had a whoopie pie I’d love to have one from the maestro herself. I’d say pumpkin, with some sort of cinnamon cream? Happy thanksgiving!!
I already commented, but I thought of another combo that might be good, (vegan) pumpkin with a maple-flavored filling!