Monday, November 21, 2011

Whoopie Pies with Guest Jan Drexler!

    Whoopie Pies!                   
By Guest Jan Drexler

***Warning: No Diet Zone ahead***

What? You’ve neverheard of Whoopie Pies?  


You came here to be educated, I hope. You are in the presence of a homeschool mom.

Whoopie Pies originally came from the Amish in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The recipe has travelled, changed, been tweaked, flavored and gigantisized to the point that there are now two official versions – New England Style and Amish Style. The difference between the two is that the New England Style is made with marshmallow fluff as the filling.

That’s just crazy talk.

(Unless you’re from New England, of course.)

Back to the history lesson.                                                

Amish legend says the treats got their name because when Amish school children found them in their lunch pails, they would shout “whoopee!”

In western Pennsylvania they call them “Gobs”, and have traditionally been a favorite of miners.
…or anyone who likes their cake with the frosting on the inside where it’s less messy.

And the State of Maine has recently made them the official state snack.

(But remember, they make theirs with marshmallow fluff, so does it really count?)

Of course, the only true Whoopie Pie is the original Amish treat.                                   

My recipe is from a great book called “The Amish Cook”. It’s a collection of newspaper columns and recipes written by an Old Order Amish woman from Indiana, Elizabeth Coblentz. Elizabeth passed on several years ago, and the column is now being written by her daughter, Lovina. Kevin Williams is the editor and English end of the enterprise.                                    

I’ve tweaked Elizabeth’s original recipe a bit, but the method of making these treats is still the same. If you want the original Amish taste and texture, use lard instead of butter. Yes, they’re wonderful that way, but I don’t always keep lard on hand. So I use butter. The cookies aren’t quite as light, but they still have a good crumb and flavor. And that’s what’s important, right?

The pies consist of two parts – the cake-like cookies and the filling. If you’re short on time, you may want to make the cookies one day and the filling the next – although be sure to keep the cookies away from your hungry family until you get the filling made…

Whoopie Pies (makes about 2 dozen pies)

(makes about 4 dozen, you need 2 for each pie)

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup, minus 1 tablespoon milk
1 cup hot water

These cookies are made like a cake. To be successful in getting the right texture, repeat the following to yourself as you’re mixing the batter: “I’m making cake, not cookies. I’m making cake, not cookies. I’m making cake, not cookies.”

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a measuring cup, add milk to one tablespoon apple cider vinegar to make one cup, and let set for about five minutes to sour the milk.

Stir together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt until the mixture is uniform in color.                        

In your mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and vanilla together until creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until the mixture is smooth.                                                

Add the flour mixture and the sour milk alternately, about ¼ of each at a time, blending well after each addition. Add the hot water and blend until smooth. You now have a thick, rich, chocolate cake batter.

Drop by tablespoon full, spaced apart, onto cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes, or until the top of the cookie springs back when lightly touched.   

Cool for 5 minutes before removing them to wire racks to cool completely.           

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
¾ cup butter
1 ½ cups powdered confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk the flour into the one cup milk. Heat in a saucepan over medium high heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, or until thickened.

Pour into a bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, soften the butter to room temperature. Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the cooled milk mixture and beat for 7 minutes, or until fluffy.                       

Fill your whoopie pies with the desired amount of filling, and enjoy.


These are also great frozen! Just wrap each one in plastic wrap and freeze.

[Editorial note from The Belle: Oh. My. Stars. Look at that last photo!!! Is your mouth watering, too?]


  1. Nice post!!
    Looking yummy!cocoa bean cookies are very delicious...

  2. At last!!!!! I now know what a whoopie pie is! Not what I imagined at all. And I just happen to be reading an Amish book right now so I think I'll have to try this recipe out to enhance my reading pleasure. :-)

  3. Oh, Jan, I can't wait to try these! I have a version of this frosting recipe (credited to the Waldorf Astoria as opposed to simple Amish women... go figure!!!) and it's yummy. A very different consistency and my mother-in-law's sister-in-law uses it exclusively on her to-die-for banana cake... A lovely frosting, light and airy, kind of the original 'dream whip' home-style.

    Thank you so much for sharing this today! I'll let you know how it comes out when the chitlins and I undertake the task. I wonder how it would be with a more brownie-like consistency??? Studded with chopped nuts????

    Oh, I think I'm in love. :)

  4. Cafe Cookie, thanks for stopping by!

    Kav, I'm with you. I want to try these! I don't think I've ever eaten one (although I've heard of them forever).

    Ruthy, anything would be good with brownie! :)

  5. Jan, in the photos, is that your bowl pulled away from a stand mixer? Or is that some kind of funky electric mixing bowl??

  6. Hi everyone!

    Reading through this post again makes me want to make more of these - the batch I made for the pictures is long gone...even though I tried to hide them in the freezer...

    Missy, yes, my mixer looks a bit funky - it's a Bosch, and it took me awhile to get used to the design. It has an extra-heavy-duty motor off to the side, and the beaters (or whips in the picture) are powered from the bottom rather than the top as in other stand mixers. Once I got used to the post in the middle of the bowl, I fell in love with this mixer!

    And Ruthy, yes. I think anything would be good with a brownie!

    The Amish Cook newsletter published a recipe for Oatmeal Whoopie Pies last week - the same filling, but with oatmeal cookies. They looked delicious!

  7. A friend of mine that I met through CURE International got married on Saturday near Lancaster, PA. She had whoopee pies at her reception! Isn't that a fun treat?! I'm going to try these. Thanks, Jan

  8. Maureen! Great to see you here!

    Whoopie pies would be a great wedding reception idea. Isn't Lancaster County a great place to visit?

    Everyone else - go to to see the great things Maureen is involved in. You'll be wowed.

  9. Jan, I just looked it up. Very cool looking!

    Maureen, I think that would be very fun!

  10. It look like an amazing organization!

  11. Yay, Jan! Love to see another Bosch in action. My girls made Whoopie Pies very similar to these last year at Christmas. Yum!

  12. Isn't the Bosch great? I'm using it tomorrow to make dinner rolls for Thanksgiving. I could make them today, but I have a feeling they'd disappear before Thursday...

  13. Jan, these look yummy! Last year, my newspaper ran a column called The 12 Cookies of Christmas in which we featured 12 different Christmas cookie recipes. One of them was for peppermint whoopie pies. They were very similar to yours, except they had about an inch of frosting in the middle, and featured crushed peppermint candies in the frosting and stuck to the sides. They were wonderful! (I might add, as a bonus to the staff, each baker we featured had to make a batch of the cookies for us to sample...uh, photograph for publication.)

  14. Stephanie, don't you just love those photo ops?

    Adding the peppermint sounds delicious!

    And I could have put more frosting in mine, but
    I hate to dilute chocolate too much...

  15. I need input!! I hope y'all are still around this evening!

    I'm making a sweet potato casserole. I'd like to make it far enough ahead to possibly freeze it. Maybe mix it up. Freeze. Then bake right before I need it. Do you think that would work??? I could save the oat topping for right before baking. Do it up fresh.

    Have any of you ever tried freezing one?

  16. Jan these look delicious!

    Funny aside. You mentioned the oatmeal ones. My class had a project to design a candy bar and then do a pitch for it to convince Willy Wonka to make it in his factory (Why, YES! we were reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!)

    Anyway, one of the girls designed a cookie that was an oatmeal type cookie on the outside full of frosting between the layers. The top was decorated with candies.

    It looked really good! Too bad it was made of clay. :(

  17. I don't see why it wouldn't work, Missy. Just be sure to take it out with plenty of time to thaw.

    I'm curious about the oat topping. I always mix sweet potatoes, brown sugar and pecans in mine.

  18. Missy, that's sounds like it would work for your sweet potatoes. My food-service-professional husband says yes, you'll want to freeze it if you're going to wait more than 48 hours to cook it. (If you make it Tuesday pm to serve Thursday and keep it in the fridge, that would be "fine" - according to the pro).

    Depending on how big it is, it will take 12-24 hours to thaw, so make sure you give it enough time or you may have a chilly middle.

    I think it's a good idea to save the topping until just before baking - otherwise your nuts or whatever will get soggy.

    Mmmmm....can't wait for the sweet potato casserole our pastor's wife is bringing on Thursday...

  19. Thanks, ladies! This is one I saw on Food Network this past weekend. With Chef Ann Burrell. It looks much healthier than the one I've always made that has a ton of butter and brown sugar in it. Here's a link:

  20. Mary, I've always loved Little Debbie oatmeal cakes! You just reminded me of those. :)

  21. I'm lovin' on the idea of the oatmeal ones, too... Oh my stars, I love those Little Debbie oatmeal pies. Crazy good.

    Missy, let us know how the casserole works frozen. I think the topping would be okay if you open roast it (no cover) but give us a shout. Always good to know what can be done ahead of time so we can enjoy the company! (Grandbabies in my case!!!)

  22. This is so cool. I didn't know people really made these. Seriously.

    I am so impressed.