Sunday, February 20, 2011

Of Whoopie Pies and PA Dutch Tradition---Move Along Maine!

This past week, Maine tried to steal from Pennsylvania one of the most iconic of foods, the Amish Whoopie Pie. Whoopie Pies are as PA Dutch, as Pot Pie! While popular in Maine for sure, there is no debate whatsoever that this is one item that belongs to PA. Maine wanted to select a state dessert, why in the world wouldn't they pick something as iconic to Maine as blueberries?

While there are several recipes, the filling portion of a whoopie is especially critical. The Amish actually make their own marshmallow, but quicker versions can use the commercial marshmallow cream. If you don't use the marshmallow cream and lots of 10X sugar, that filling just isn't going to be right.

While traditonally chocolate cake is used for the cookie parts, around here we make them pumpkin, red velvet, oatmeal, and chocolate with peanut butter marshmallow filling. All kinds of possible variations as long as the core basic stays the same.

Amish Whoopie Pie Recipe

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup milk

Whoopie Pie Filling (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets.

In a large bowl, cream together shortening, sugar, and egg. In another bowl, combine cocoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a small bowl, stir the vanilla extract into the milk. Add the dry ingredients to the shortening mixture, alternating with the milk mixture; beating until smooth.

Drop batter by the 1/4 cup (to make 18 cakes) onto prepared baking sheets. With the back of a spoon spread batter into 4-inch circles, leaving approximately 2 inches between each cake.

Bake 15 minutes or until they are firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Make Whoopie Pie Filling. When the cakes are completely cool, spread the flat side (bottom) of one chocolate cake with a generous amount of filling. Top with another cake, pressing down gently to distribute the filling evenly. Repeat with all cookies to make 9 pies. Let finished whoopie pies completely cool before wrapping.

Wrap whoopie pies individually in plastic wrap, or place them in a single layer on a platter (do not stack them, as they tend to stick).

To freeze, wrap each whoopie pie in plastic wrap. Loosely pack them in a plastic freezer container and cover. To serve, defrost the wrapped whoopie pies in the refrigerator.

Makes 9 large whoopie pies.

Whoopie Pie Filling:

For this recipe, you are basically making a homemade Marshmallow Fluff/Creme.

3 egg whites, room temperature

2 cups light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sifted powdered (confectioner's) sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

In large bowl of an electric mixer, add egg whites, corn syrup, and salt. Using your electric mixer on high speed, mix for approximately 5 minutes or until the mixture is thick and volume has almost doubled.

On low speed, add powdered sugar and mix until well blended. Add vanilla extract just until well blended.

Your homemade marshmallow fluff/cream is now ready to use on your Whoopie Pies or other recipes. Use immediately, or refrigerate in a covered container for up to 2 weeks.

Makes a large quantity.

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