Monthly Archives: March 2011

What is your flavour?

written by Becky

For those that know me, you know I love ice cream. The creamy coolness and tasty flavours options make it a delicious treat whether it is hot or cold outside (yes, I have been called crazy for getting ice cream in the middle of winter on cold and wet days). This is why I love Marble Slab Creamery where you can choose your amazing base flavour (or flavours – there is no reason you can’t mix several ice creams in one dish) and then add whatever you want to it – whether that is cookie dough (my personal favourite), skor bar, coconut, raspberries, graham crackers, chocolate chips, etc. It is a phenomenal idea but I don’t understand why it is limited to ice cream. Why not mix and match Whoopie Pie flavours? Pick your cookie, pick your filling, pick something extra (an option in Whoopie pies that have yet to be explored on this blog so far but are self explanatory from the list of suggestions!). (Nobody better steal my million dollar idea!)

So now we come to the fun part! The flavours! These are the ones I have come up with but I would love to hear if someone has any suggestions! First there are “The Whoopie-Cookies”, then there are “The Stuffers” and finally the “Gourmet Indulgences”! I have a list of Specialty combos (things like “Nanaimo bar: Chocolate coconut cookie, custard buttercream filling, chocolate glaze” or “Cinnamon Dulce Latte (my favourite Starbucks drink): snickerdoodle cookie, dulce de leche slather, latte filling, rolled in cinnamon & sugar”) but I think I will save that for another post!

Your job? Well to request what you want obviously! I have already had one request, which will be tried this weekend, turn the well-loved (at my work anyways) Guinness Cupcake with Baileys Cream Cheese Frosting into a Whoopie Pie. So this will be attempting two things: aiming to please the “requester” of these Whoopie Pies of course and to perfect the “cupcake-Whoopie Pie” recipe swap!  Of course these will make a debut on this blog on Sunday night but for now, the point is just to say – what do you want??

What is your flavour combo that you want to try as a Whoopie Pie?

The Whoopie Cookies The Stuffers Gourmet Indulgences
Classic Chocolate Fluffy Vanilla Cream Roll-ins
Fudgy-Brownie Chocolate Marshmallow Toasted Coconut
White Chocolate Dark Chocolate Chocolate Sprinkles
Marble Milk Chocolate Colourful Sprinkles
Chocolate Chip White Chocolate Cinnamon sugar
Double Vanilla Chocolate Ganache Toasted Almonds
Red Velvet Cream Cheese Crushed mints
Gingerbread Maple Cream Cheese mini chocolate chips
Spiced Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese Skor bar
Carrot Cake Lemon Cream Cheese Mini M&Ms
Mocha Tiramisu Chopped Peanuts
Coffee Peanut Butter
Almond Strawberry Cream Bonuses
Coconut Cinnamon (add with a stuffer)
Pistachio-Cardamom Red Hot Cinnamon Raspberry Jam
Oatmeal Raisin Chai-spiced Lemon Curd
Peanut Butter Peppermint Salted Caramel
Brown Sugar-Caramel Mocha Nutella
Snickerdoodle Latte Dulce de Leche
Lemon Salted Caramel
Lime Coconut Extras
Strawberry Toffee Crunch Chocolate Glaze
Mango Hazelnut Cream Caramel Glaze
Banana Banana Cream Chocolate Dipped!
Graham Cracker Kahlua cream
Chocolate Malt Baileys
Sweet Potato Ginger Custard buttercream
Caramel Apple Maple Bacon
Zucchini Spice Eggnog
Skor Bar
Chocolate Coconut
Maple
Chocolate Hazelnut
Eggnog
Amaretto
Guinness Chocolate
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My First Whoopie…Pie

Written by Courteney

Peanut Butter Banana Whoopie Pies

Yes, I gave in to the easy, juvenile joke for my title.  But hey, can you blame me?  It’s a great title for a post!

Today, I made my very first whoopie pie.  A lot of you out there might be thinking, “What??  She has a blog exclusively devoted to whoopie pies, and she’s never made one before??” And you’d be correct – I never have.  Thus far, my contribution has been three forms: (a) Eating whoopie pies, (b) Discussing whoopie pies, and (c) Telling people about whoopie pies.  But today, all that has changed.  I have made my first whoopie pies.

I’ve been meaning to learn to make a whoopie pie for a while, but the question was: which one?  Something that was tasty but not too complicated, as it was my first attempt. A few weeks ago, one of my coworkers had walked past me eating peanut butter banana (yum!).  It was a treat from when I was a kid, and also happened to be the only food I had left at my desk.  She laughed when she saw me, and asked if I was trying weird food combinations again (she had seen me eating peanut butter on apple slices a few weeks earlier, as I had promised a few friends I would try it).  When I expressed my confusion, peanut butter banana being such a normal snack, I discovered that she had never even heard of it before – and thought it sounded kind of gross!  So in honour of my co-worker (and to prove to her what a delicious combination it is), I decided to make Peanut Butter Banana Whoopie Pies.

The recipe for the cookie portion is from Martha Stewart’s Banana Whoopie Pie recipe, but I’m not sure where the peanut butter filling is from – I just got it from this blog.  I made a double-batch so there would be enough for my coworkers and Whoopie Pie testers, as well as a few extra for my family. But for the purposes of this entry, I’m going to write the actual amounts for one batch, to keep it simple.

I first combined 2 cups of flour with ½ tsp of baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, which I set aside (the dry ingredients).  In a separate bowl, I mashed 1 cup of bananas (about 2 ripe bananas) and mixed it with 1 cup of sour cream.   If the bananas look a little brown, it’s because I had put the three bananas I was saving for this in the fridge earlier in the week, as they were ripening too quickly.  If you’ve ever put really ripe bananas into the fridge for a few days, you’ll know that their skin turns black, and the outer layer of the flesh also turns a little bit brown.  But it’s still good, though!  And it smelled soooooo good at this point – already!

Banana and Sour Cream, pre-mixing

In a third bowl, I mixed ½ cup of butter with ½ cup of granulated (white) sugar and ½ cup of packed brown sugar and mixed them with my electric hand mixer for a few minutes, until it was creamy and pale.

Next, I added 1 large egg and ½ tsp of vanilla extract, beating until they were incorporated.  Then it was time to combine the bowls.  I alternated beating in the dry mixture and the banana-sour cream mixture, making sure to start and end with the dry.  Finally, I used my cookie scoop to scoop the batter onto my cookie sheets, about 1 inch apart, before popping them into my pre-heated oven (350F).  There was some trial and error involved with these last two steps.  I have a medium-sized cookie scoop, so I initially scooped heaping spoonfuls for the cookie.  However, I quickly discovered that the batter spreads quite a bit, leaving me with monster-sized cookies, probably the size of the ones Colin is modeling in the last post.  For the next round, I scaled down to a full-sized scoop’s worth, but that was pretty much the same size.  I ended up doing a half-scoop, which seemed to make them a reasonable size.  And then for fun, I did tiny 1/3-sized scoops for bite-sized treats.

From L>R, the Monster, the Full-Scoop, and the Half-Scoop. The half-scoop ones look puny here, but they're really not.

The last item I had to play with was the baking time – this is something that can vary considerably with different bakers, simply due to different ovens.  After baking them for the recommended 12 minutes, I found that they were still very soft (but delicious nonetheless – tasted like banana bread!).  I ended up settling on about 20 minutes, but this isn’t unusual as my oven doesn’t seem to heat that well.

I don’t know where the peanut butter icing recipe came from, so I’m just going to credit the blog for it.  This was AMAZING – reminded me of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup filling.  And super-simple to make: just beat 1 cup of creamy peanut butter, ½ cup of butter, and 1 tsp of vanilla together, then slowly add icing sugar up to 2 cups, stopping when you achieve the desired consistency.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying too much attention and accidentally used my half-fat margarine instead of butter.  I discovered this back when I was learning to make a red velvet cake, but half-fat margarine ≠ butterEspecially when it comes to icing.  It has to do with the chemical bonds, but basically, half-fat margarine uses single bonds instead of double-bonds, which makes it much softer and, consequently, much more runny.  So my icing turned out a little soft and not as structured as I would have wanted, but overall, it’s not too bad.  In my defense, I was listening to the last period of the Vancouver Canucks vs. Columbus Blue Jackets game while I was doing this.  (Final score: VAN-4, CBJ-1, in case you’re curious)

To assemble the pies, I did was spoon the peanut butter filling into a plastic bag, twirl up the open end, and snip off a small corner: instant piping bag!  I piped a circle of the peanut butter filling onto the flat bottom of one cookie, then topped it with another (flat bottoms in) and voila! – Peanut Butter Banana Whoopie Pies!

Overall, I enjoyed making the whoopie pies.  The recipe was really simple, especially with the proportions of ingredients being equal, I pretty much only needed my ½ cup measuring cup and my ½ tsp measuring spoon (with a few notable exceptions)!  This meant that I didn’t have to worry too much about forgetting a measurement, although I could always go back to my recipe to check.   Unfortunately, the cookie recipe does tend to spread quite a bit, so I probably need to invest in a smaller sized cookie scoop to make them again – doing the half-scoop meant that my cookies were not always the same size and not always perfectly circular.  I probably also need to work on my piping skills and presentation, as evidenced by the first photo in this blog 😉 Overall, though, I loved the icing, and the cookie had a really strong banana taste so it didn’t get lost with the icing.

The side view. Again, L>R: The Monster, the Full-Scoop, and the Half-Scoop.

PS For those of you who noticed my banana number discrepancy (2 used, 3 refrigerated), I had one extra banana left over, so I made chocolate chip banana muffins.  Yum!

Right out of the oven

I still can’t quite believe that Courteney used low-fat margerine again (in both the pies and the filling!)… butter is the only way in baking in my books! Her argument was that they tasted fine but we don’t know how good they could have been! They still were quite tasty though!
– Becky


How to Eat a Whoopie Pie: A Public Service

Written by Courteney

Seeing as not a lot of people out there know what a whoopie pie is, we here at Let’s Make Whoopie…Pie thought we would provide a public service in the form of a whoopie pie-eating primer.

Special thanks to one of our wonderful whoopie pie tester and whoopie-pie model, Colin, whoopie pie tester and photographer Victoria, and to our chief baker Becky for the whoopie pie!

How to Eat a Whoopie Pie

In Six Easy Steps

Step 1: Obtain the Whoopie Pie

 

“Wow! A GIANT whoopie pie just appeared in my hand! This is incredible!”

As you can see, the first step to eating a whoopie pie is obtaining one.  As you can see, Becky graciously provided a GIANT-sized whoopie pie that is almost the size of Colin’s hand.  The obtaining step is also an excellent time to admire the whoopie pie.  Note the size, shape, symmetry, colouring, and cookie-to-icing ratio in anticipation of the taste.

Step 2: Take the First Bite of the Whoopie Pie

"OMFG! This is AMAZING!!"

Unfortunately, Colin was so enamoured with his whoopie pie, we didn’t manage to capture the actual first bite.  We do, however, have Colin’s incredible reaction to said first bite.  I think the face says it all: it was so much better than anything he imagined!

Step 3: Savour the First Bite of the Whoopie Pie (Optional)

"Yum! I like this tasty treat!"

As stated in above, this step is optional. If the whoopie pie is full of ridiculous deliciousness, feel free to skip this step and move on to Step 4.

Step 4: Eat the Whoopie Pie

"Stop taking pictures and let me eat! I'm ignoring you now"

At this point, I think Colin just went for it.  Clearly, the man wanted to enjoy his whoopie pie.  I don’t really think this step requires instructions.  The ‘bite, chew (optional but recommended in order to appreciate the flavour of the whoopie pie), swallow, repeat’ is a pretty well-ingrained habit in most people.  Colin kind of looks like he loved the whoopie pie so much he just wants to fill his mouth with the yumminess.  To me, that feels like high praise.  Success!

Step 5: Evaluate the Whoopie Pie

Clearly, Colin approves.

Take a minute to evaluate the taste of the cookie, the icing, and the combination of flavours.  Rate the texture and moist-ness of the cookie.  Pass judgement on the whoopie pie.  As you can see, Colin approves.  Clearly.  With a little bit of crazy-eye.  If he starts whispering about his “Precious”, we might have to stage an intervention.

Step 6: Enjoy the Whoopie Pie

*Nomnomnom*

Just enjoy.


Cupcake/cake recipes for Whoopies?

Written by Becky

So the problem with Whoopie Pie’s (if I can say that there is a problem) is that there just are not enough recipes out there for them! There are only3 cookbooks, each with less than a couple dozen recipes (which mostly overlap with each other). There are also at least another half dozen cookbooks coming out this year (they say it is the Year of Whoopie Pies!) but they aren’t released yet. This means there is still a lot of creative recipes to invent for Whoopie Pies! So my question (as well as a friend at work’s) is whether cupcake/cake recipes can be used or if they need to be altered to make Whoopie Pies. Also, since I already have the fabulous Martha Stewart Cupcake book, I was really hoping that these recipes would be usable for Whoopies.

I was already making a cake this week for a friend’s birthday on Wednesday. Since I like to workout late on Tuesday’s, I figured it would be easier to make the cake on the weekend and freeze the cakes until Tuesday when I make the icing and assemble the cake. (I shall post pics of the finished cake plus the recipe later… even though this isn’t a cake blog!) At the same time, this gave me an excuse to try a cake recipe for Whoopie Pies. I made only two cookies (so what would be one pie) for this experiment as I wanted to still have lots of batter for the cake.

The answer: FAIL! No, cakes/cupcakes are not the same as Whoopies! Although the cake batter sat nicely on top of the cookie “sheet” when I first put the mounds down, they spread way too much when baked and just ended up flat circles! Well, very tasty flat circles. It was a shame to have to eat them really (haha, right, I was REALLY disappointed!) as they were so flat… and chocolatey and moist! Really they had the ideal taste for a chocolate Whoopie Pie that I am looking for but they just weren’t the right texture to hold their shape. (But I am VERY excited about the cake on Wednesday, I think it will be amazing!)

My next thought was to take a more systematic approach and compare a bunch of cupcake recipes to a bunch of Whoopie Pie recipes. Here is what I found, the only real difference I could decipher was the number of eggs: Whoopie Pies have generally about half as many eggs, a little less liquid and sometimes less butter. Here are the general ratios:
Cupcakes: 1 cup flour:1-2 eggs : 1/2-1 cup sugar : 1/4-1/2 cup liquid : 1/4-1/2 cup butter
Whoopie Pies: 1 cup flour : 1/2-1 egg : 1/2-1 cup sugar : 1/4 cup liquid : 1/4 cup butter

Next experiment? Trying a cupcake/cake recipe and altering the number of eggs and amount of liquid to see if I can make a Whoopie Pie out of it! Should be fun! I’ll keep you posted of course!


Traditional Whoopie Pies: A Poll

Written by Courteney

Today, Becky made two traditional whoopie pie recipes.  Vote which one you liked best!


It’s Pi day! In my world, that means Whoopie Pies!

Written by Becky

Aiming to Perfect the Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pie with Marshmallow Fluff Filling in honour of Pi Day! (After making them I realized it isn’t worth perfecting this recipe! Better to just make my own creations!)

To be honest, I had never actually heard about Pi day before – Courteney told me about it and after a moments thought, I realized what she meant: Pi day – Pi as in the “value of the ratio of a circle’s area to the square of its radius” (approximately 3.14159265) – is March 14 (3-14). So I figured this was a great excuse to make Whoopie Pies for a bunch of science “geeks” at work (besides the fact that I had been promising quite  few of them that I would bring some in so everyone could try Whoopie Pies!)


I decided on the Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Marshmallow Fluff Filling for two reasons: I wasn’t that happy with the chocolate Whoopie recipe I had tried before (as mentioned in the post about “A Hot Whoopie Pie Creation“) and wanted to try a new one, and because I bought the original Marshmallow Fluff last weekend I wanted to know what the Original Whoopie Pie tasted like! Problem is, there are quite a few recipes out there… so I decided to try two! I know, I have issues – I may be a little indecisive and a bit of a perfectionist!

The first one was from King Arthur’s Flour and although it had decent reviews, it didn’t actually differ that much from the one in the Whoopie Pie book. But it claimed to be true to the original (although other sources say the cookie/cakes are supposed to be made with shortening).

The second recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Cookies cookbook. A similar recipe is found here although it is not identical (I halved the recipe in the book so it was the same size as the one on the website except that the book one has 1/2 TB baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 cup butter instead of butter + shortening, all white sugar, and buttermilk instead of regular milk).

Based on looks, I would say Martha has the better recipe. Furthermore, the smell of these ones are divine! So much chocolatier! Taste – well, a little disappointing actually. Both are a little crumblier than what I would like. Sort of like a cake’ish-brownie. It isn’t bad, just not quite what I wanted! I was hoping for moist, taste, chocolatey goodness. I shall have to see what my co-workers think but I think I am still looking for the perfect recipe!

So onto the filling! To make the classic, it has to be the Fluff + shortening (check out the recipe/blog from King Arthur’s Flour for more info on this if you really care why!) Again, there are many recipes – some have more fluff, some have more shortening. I went with the recipe in the Whoopie Pie book (jar of Marshmallow Fluff + 1 cup shortening + 1 cup icing sugar + 1 tsp clear vanilla). The texture is quite different from what I am used to for icing, I think it is the Fluff/shortening combo. And the taste is uninspiring: it is sort of just a bland white slightly sugary mixture. Blah.

So yes, overall I am not into the classic recipe. I think it was a good experiment to do but I don’t think I will be buying Fluff again and I will have to keep looking for a great chocolate Whoopie Pie recipe so that I can fill them with tasty things like peanut butter icing!

Note: both are on the plate!


Disappointment at Starbucks

Written by Becky

I just wanted to make a short post to say that the Whoopie Pies at Starbucks were quite the disappointment.

Now I don’t want to sound like a bake-snob but several people that tried the Starbucks Red Velvet Whoopie Pies have in fact tried MY Red Velvet Whoopie Pies and they all agreed with enthusiasm that mine are much better.

The ones from Starbucks are quite small (definitely not worth the $1.60 they are charging), rather tasteless, flat (not fluffy and moist), and are filled with a buttery mess of icing. The icing was probably the worst part – it was really quite disgusting! It wasn’t even cream cheese icing! (I should point out that although Red Velvet cake is often made with cream cheese icing, the original classic version actually uses a baked icing instead but I still prefer the cream cheese one!)

So although Starbucks is getting word out about what a Whoopie Pie is, they are making a bad name for it! Although those that haven’t had one before, like my favourite Starbucks barista Jill, still seem to like them a lot!

Courteney: That’s just because Jill hasn’t tried a good whoopie pie yet.  We’ll have to bring her one.  Also, a note about the icing: the butter baked icing that originally went with Red Velvet Cake is actually quite good if made correctly – it actually lets you taste more of the cake, rather than fusing the red velvet and cream cheese flavours together (also good!).  But not the way they make it.  I worked long and hard to perfect the proper Red Velvet icing, so I feel obliged to defend it – Starbucks doesn’t make it nearly as well!