The Case of the Unbaked Whoopie Pies

I’ve never made Whoopie Pies before. Prior to last night, I’d never really considered why. Whoopie Pies are sumptuous with their soft texture and their calorie-laden goo. I always admire the homemade masterpieces crafted at Amish bakeries, family restaurants, and farmers markets. But while I’m a fairly adapt baker of cookies, yeast and quick breads, pies, muffins, and various desserts; attempting Whoopie Pies has never crossed my mind. At least, it’s never crossed my mind consciously. And believe me, I do love me some cookies with goo in the middle. ( Vienna Fingers; check! Nutter Butters; check! Double Stuf Oreos; check, check!!)

The Oatmeal Cream Pie from the 1989 movie,  Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!

Oatmeal Cream Pies are the next best thing to Whoopie Pies, and they’ve always been a weakness of mine. Especially the giant, individually packaged ones you can sometimes find at convivence stores. I’m a child of the 80s, and I think this obsession was born out of the behemoth cream pie depicted in the movie, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids! (If you haven’t seen it, you must. It’s epically terrible.) But I’ve never discriminated, and would happily eat the Fudge Rounds, Peanut Butter Rounds, or even the ones with the raisins.

But back to actual Whoopie Pies.

Words and Whoopie Pies

So sometimes I get these hang-ups with words. It’s curious, because some of them that are socially taboo, at least by the younger crowd, don’t phase me at all. Moist, for example, is a very useful adjective that has more or less been unjustly blacklisted. How else am I supposed to describe the perfectly cooked chicken breast, or bran muffin that is the opposite of dry? Not cool, Millennials. Not cool.

My hang-ups are random. I’ve lived a lot of different places, so occasionally I’ll get stuck on local colloquialisms. Other times it’s when the incorrect word is used in conversation. I’m not talking about poor grammar. (I have no room to judge there, and my spelling is deploooorable.) I mean, when someone asks if I want cream for my coffee, I’ll reply, “yes, thank you,” fully expecting cream. I’m then completely unprepared for the assault of skim milk in my coffee. THATS NOT CREAM! THAT’S MILK!!! I will certainly drink my coffee with skim milk, but for the love of dairy farmers everywhere, please use the right word! #wordsmatter

I promise I’m getting to the Whoopie Pies.

Just Eeny. No meeny, miny, or moe

So I pick this Whoopie Pie recipe completely at random. That’s not normally how I choose my online kitchen contenders. I compare several similar ideas, look at the reviews and comments, and decide from there. But this Whoopie Pie recipe was literally the first one I clicked. (You can check it out at joyofbaking.com).

There must have been some psychic reason for me not obsessing. It was like, mehcookies. I was so terribly apathetic in fact, that I headed into the process wondering how on earth I could turn this venture into a story. Oh well, I figured. Maybe the motor on my Kitchen Aid would finally burn out and I’d end up having an appliance funeral.

Elementary, my dear…Whoopie?

While I was working, my mind circled back to why it had taken me 40 years to make this particular treat. Immediately an image of a Whoopie Cushion came to mind. I thought of my siblings and the absurd nature of the practical jokes we played on each other. I’d short-change sheets, make their Cool Aid with salt, and my personal favorite, steal their snacks. (It was my firstborn right and privilege!) It made me smile, and also wince a bit.

But then, nearly as fast as it came, the image flashed to Whoppi Goldberg. My mind sifted through her roles while I sifted cocoa, flour, leavening agents, and salt. It’d been forever since I’d seen Boys on the Side. I made a mental note to schedule a sappy chick flick night with my girls soon.

Suddenly I heard my mom’s classic, sing-songy, voice. I saw her raise her shoulders, rocking her head back and forth in a punctuated motion. “Well, Whoop-deeeee-DO!” I can almost feel adolescent humiliation color my cheeks as I stand there trying to alternately mix the dry and wet ingredients. Whatever expression my Mom was using, you can be sure it was exaggerated with a special Terri Metcalf flare.

But if that moment of deja vu embarrassment weren’t enough, another memory surfaced. I tried to push it down. I couldn’t. I had to shut off my mixer for a minute. I don’t remember the exact details, (thank the memory gods for that small blessing) but enough of the fog cleared. I was trying to be cool. I tried to use slang. (I should, never, never do that.) I said to someone, somewhere, in some very awkward conversation something about “making whoopee.” Forget teenage embarrassment, what I experienced right then was a moment of middle-aged mortification. All over again. Right there in the kitchen. Whilst making Whoopie Pies.

And that, my friends, is how I solved the Mystery of the Unmade Whoopie Pies.

Good thing I have therapy scheduled for tomorrow, although it’s too bad we’re still doing Zoom sessions. Otherwise, I think it would be absolutely mandatory that I take my therapist a Whoopie Pie. Don’t you think?

The stats: 4.5 stars

As for the actual recipe, I give it 4.5 stars. Simple ingredients, easy to follow (even while soul-searching) and positively delicious. I took some over to my neighbor and I froze a few for my nieces and nephews. I’ll report back on how those were accepted. The only reason I’m dinging it a half star is that there was no excess filling–only just enough. I’ll make 50%, heck, I’ll double it next time. Because after going through that mental and emotional workout, I think I deserve the calorie-laden goo.

Make these yummies with the recipe below:

https://www.joyofbaking.com/printpages/WhoopiePiesprint.html

Do you like Whoopie Pies? What flavor is your favorite? Tell me in the comments!

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