Whoopie pies – aka gobs, big fat Oreos, black moons – are widely beloved, and for good reason. They’re simple, sweet, delicious and at once a cookie, a pie, a cake and a sandwich. This genre-defying goody and all-American classic belongs on your menu, but don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the whoopie pie. With its long-standing history and coast-to-coast adoration, the whoopie pie deserves the same care and attention to detail as your most creative desserts.
Here are a few tips for online culinary students to make whoopie pies their customers will keep coming back for:
Always have a version of the ‘classic’ on the menu
The signature whoopie pie has roots in New England and Pennsylvania Amish culture, and is even Maine’s official treat. Consequently, the finer points on what constitutes a classic whoopie pie may vary by region. But whether you’re in Lancaster County, the Pine Tree State or the Pacific Northwest, any classic whoopie pie has a few universal qualities, namely the marshmallow-y, fluff-cream filling sandwiched between two chocolate-cake saucers (sometimes called cookies).
“A unique touch here and there can go a long way toward improving the classic.”
The base ingredients for the classic whoopie are straightforward. Without getting too specific, the cake is made by mixing sugar, butter and an egg in one bowl, dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa) in a second, and buttermilk and vanilla in a third. Alternate mixing the dry ingredients and the buttermilk concoction into the first bowl until the batter is smooth, and then bake at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 13 minutes. The cream filling is typically made with butter, confectioners sugar, marshmallow cream and vanilla.
A few unique touches here and there can go a long way toward improving the classic. For example, America’s Test Kitchen recommends replacing granulated sugar with brown sugar for a deeper flavor and greater moisture. It also recommends using Dutch-process cocoa for a darker color and a richer flavor. The size of the whoopie pie as well as the cake-to-cream ratio is also a factor. In Maine, for example, whoopie pies are served more like cakes, according to What’s Cooking America. You can certainly go as small or as large as you like. What’s important is that you create your own take on the classic whoopie pie to appease the purists among your patrons while having that unique touch that distinguishes your indulgent goodie from everyone else’s.
Serving the old-fashioned whoopie pie is important, but why stop there? Experiment with this American classic to delight your more curious customers. For example, you can replace the chocolate cake with red velvet, and scrap the marshmallow filling for a heavier cream-cheese frosting. This decadent take on the whoopie pie will make a great dessert during Valentine’s Day. Peanut butter buttercream filling is another tempting option for anyone who prefers a richer whoopie pie experience.
Want a sweet way to usher in the fall season? Consider crafting a pumpkin whoopie pie, made with pumpkin puree. Then there’s the “inside-out” take on the whoopie pie, which uses a chocolate-cream filling wedged between two vanilla cakes. Consider replacing the two cakes with blueberry muffin tops or cookies. If you want to get really adventurous, take the savory route by whipping up a cheesy filling and sandwiching it between cornbread cakes.
Don’t be afraid to try new things. You may stumble on something exciting and delicious. Not to mention, your customers will appreciate your culinary creativity.