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Friday, 5 November 2010

Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies

"What is a whoopie pie?" That is the question my mum asked me when I said I would be making some from a new book called 'The Whoopie Pie Book' by Claire Ptak.

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Whoopies are becoming increasingly popular and have even threatened to take over from the much loved cupcake. While not actually being a pie or a typical cake, I can tell those who have yet to come across a whoopie, that they are two small flattish cakes that are sandwiched together with a filling. Whoopie pies are thought to have originated from the Amish communities in the US, where school children and farmers are said to have responded to finding these special treats in their lunch boxes with a resounding "Whoopie!" I'm not sure that my son said that when I gave him one recently, but I do know that he snuck into the kitchen later that evening and demolished a large number rather quietly!

As we are on the run up to Christmas, there are a lot of new cook book releases. The Whoopie Pie Book is one of these and I can tell you that is it a treat of a book. The author, Claire Ptak, came to the UK from California, where she worked as a pastry chef for Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. She now runs Violet, a baking company in East London, best known for American style cupcakes using organic ingredients.

Claire Ptak photo
Claire Ptak with some of her whoopie pies (photo courtesy of Random House)

This book has over 60 recipes, including recipes for simple whoopie pies, iced & glazed whoopie pies, topped & drizzled whoopie pies, plus frozen & chilled whoopies. There is even a chapter with some special whoopies, including Christmas, Easter and scary Halloween whoopies.

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Look at the glorious photos that accompany each recipe - I have my eye on these Christmas Cake Whoopies!

I decided to make the chocolate chip whoopie pies, the recipe was easy to follow and they turned out well. I noticed that the whoopie pie recipes indicate that you need to put your oven on at the beginning of the recipe, but as the dough needs chilling for 30 minutes before baking, you can put it on a bit later. My oven only takes 6 minutes to get to the right temperature and I'm trying to be more energy aware.
The filling suggestion which accompanies each recipe is a great idea, and ranges from flavoured creams to scrumptious marshmallow fillings, although you will need a hefty freestanding mixer to make some of them. I filled mine with the simple vanilla bean cream, not having said mixer.

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So, if you were in any doubt about whoopies, now you know!

This book would make a great Christmas present for anyone who loves baking and wants to expand their baking repertoire to include something a little bit different.

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Vanilla Bean Cream
Recipe by Claire Ptak from The Whoopie Pie Book

Makes enough to fill about 9 large or 24 mini whoopie pies.

400ml double cream
2 tablespoons caster sugar
Scraped seeds of ½ vanilla pod
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and whisk with an electric hand mixer until the mixture starts to thicken.

Taste the cream to see how sweet it is, you may need to add a little more sugar, depending on the whoopie pies and how sweet they already are.

Chill the cream until ready to use. It will keep for 3 days in a sealed container in the fridge, but may need a bit more whipping before use.

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The book can be bought directly from Random House, or from Amazon.

The Whoopie Pie Book
£15.00 / Hardback, 160 pages
Publisher: Square Peg (Random House)
October 2010
ISBN 9780224086790

With thanks to Bethan at Random House

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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

26 comments: said...

These whopppie pies are adorable!

Carly said...

Awesome! I can't believe there is a book dedicated to them, i have only just discovered them..not made or eaten yet...must remedy that!! =)

Chele said...

I must try this flavour combo - they look great. Thanks for sharing with us all ;0)

Unknown said...

Pretty Looking whoopie pie :)

Louise H said...

I wondered what these were one of my local bakerys has a huge display in the window of whoopies as they called them x

Gourmet Getaway said...

I love something new, it will be great fun experimenting with flavours.

Maggie said...

The Whoopie Pie book sounds really lovely. Frozen and chilled whoopie pies sound fascinating.
Have to admit that I haven't made a whoopie pie yet.

Jessica said...

Never knew whoopie pies originated from the Amish! Good to know! I love knowing the history behind dishes and foods.

Sarah said...

These look fab. Must get the book! I'm a fellow food blogger and just came across yours which I love and am now following. Hope you can have a peek at mine

Happy blogging.

Torviewtoronto said...

delicious yummy whoopie pies

Hazel - Chicken in a Cherry Sauce said...

I have never made a whoopie pie before but perhaps this can be changed with a certain book going on my Christmas list... :)

Patricia (La Chatte Gitane) said...

Whoopie Pies must be the next big thing, as I have seen more of them in the world-of-blog during the last couple of days.
I will deffo give them a try.

Barbara Bakes said...

I've never made whoppie pies. This version is one I know I would love.

Unknown said...

I've seen this book - whoopies are right up there on my to do list!

Choclette said...

I have yet to have a whoopie pie, let alone make one. These look really good and the vanilla cream sounds particularly scrumptious. I guess I shall have to make some to actually try one.

Sophie Sportende Foodie said...

I have never made whoopie pies but yours looks tremendously tasty!! Yummie food!

I also tagged you, Nic with 10 culinary questions & come over @ my latest post & check them out!

Anonymous said...

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Jonny said...

I've never actually had a whoopie pie, though i can see why they're so popular. I've also been meaning to head out to Amish country one of these days and see if the word on the street, that they drive horsecarts and sport long beards, is really true. I wonder if the whoopie filling gets tangled in their facial hair? It's ironic, isn't it, that such an enthusiastically-named confection should come from the Amish who aren't exactly famous for their excitable nature? And, they're big in the UK now, bigger than cupcakes, you say? I'm sort of glad cupcakes are getting knocked off their perch. I mean, they're good and all, but they're only sponge cake and some icing in a paper after all. When are good old fashioned scones going to be cool agai? That's what I want to know.

catty said...

It's pretty hilarious no one outside of the US knows what whoopie pies are! But I guess we are making an effort by educating them right? ;) I made matcha ones a while back and they looked like giant green burgers!

grace said...

my favorite thing about a whoopie pie is when the filling squishes out as you eat it. if there's no squishing-out, there's not enough filling. :)

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

I've heard about whoopie pies (probably via Nigella Lawson) but sadly never tried them...

Denise Michaels - Adventurous Foodie said...

Looks like a wonderful cookbook.

Now maybe we can figure this out: did Oreos (another sandwich cookie) come after the Whoopie Pie, or, the other way around.

Love the idea of that soft, sweet Vanilla Bean Creme in between the layers.

Lydia said...

Good stuff here. I've been enjoying what I've been reading!

JenCooks said...

I live in Hong Kong and we cannot get fresh cream. I'm going home to the States for Thanksgiving next week. I know EXACTLY what I'm going to making on my week off. Thanks so much!

Nic said...

Thank you all!!

Jonny - ha ha, you did make me laugh! I don't think they are as big as cupcakes yet, but maybe in time...
I do love a good scone - must be the clotted cream - beats icing any day for me!

Catty - you must point me in the right direction of matcha green tea, I'd love to give it a go.

Denise - that is a question I would love to know the answer to as well!

Anne said...

I keep hearing about these but still have not gotten around to trying one, though I do like the sound of the choc chip ones too!

They are very cute to look at Nic, I will definately have to give them a try! x