might not know this, but a battle over the whoopie pie is brewing
between Pennsylvania and Maine. You see, Pennsylvanians like me have
always believed that the Amish in Lancaster County originated the
whoopie pie. And as we all know, Lancaster County is home to many pies:
apple pie, shoo fly pie, peach pie, mince pie, and of course cow pie.
For the uninitiated, a whoopie
pie can be found just about anywhere in Amish country. They’re sold at
roadside stands, in stores, hotels, B&Bs, and even furniture
stores. It’s essentially two little cakes with a big gob of sugary,
sweet, creamy filling. Just imagine a large, soft Oreo cookie and there
you go. As a matter of fact, it is occasionally referred to as a
BFO—big fat Oreo. Sometimes it’s referred to as a gob. I suppose
because of the gob of filling.
Anyhoo, it seems that the great
state of Maine also believes that this little dessert delight was first
produced by them. The Maine legislature is attempting to designate the
whoopie pie as their state’s official dessert. I
say we need to stop this madness! The whoopie pie is without a doubt a
Lancaster County creation.
Unfortunately, the problem is
that the whoopie pie is a bit of a confectionary conundrum, a dessert
dilemma, a sweat treat mystery. No one can find proof as to exactly
where the pie originated. Truthfully, it’s not really a pie. It’s more
like a cookie—a soft cookie. But that’s not so accurate either. And
that’s not the issue. Pie is in the eye of the beholder. The problem is
Maine. Everyone knows that the Amish traveled to Maine long ago and
brought the treats with them. I guess the Amish won’t be sharing their
recipes with them anymore.
Although its origins are
disputed, most dessert historians believe that Amish housewives used
leftover cake batter to bake these little treats, also known as
hucklebucks at the time. Legend has it that the wives put the delights
in the farmers’ lunch tins, and when the farmers found them, they were
so excited they shouted, “Whoopie!” Hence the name. Alternate
explanations include shouts of joy, “Whoopie!”
could be heard coming from schoolrooms as children opened their lunch
buckets and discovered they too had a whoopie pie for dessert. Although
we could be missing the obvious here. Perhaps the farmers did not
shout, “Whoopie,” but, “Whoo . . . pie.” Just a thought.
Now you decide. Would you not
shout whoopie if you found one in your lunch tin after working in the
hot, scorching sun, pushing a plow behind two large mules? Sure you
would. What do the Mainers have? Lobsters. I’m sorry, but I just don’t
think you would shout whoopie on a lobster boat. Just my opinion.
Whoopie pies, although usually
chocolate, come in many varieties, including pumpkin cake and banana
cake. Fillings range from the traditional white to peanut butter,
chocolate, mint, chocolate chip, and well, whatever you can think of.
But the traditional white is the best.
Also, and here’s the best part,
Lancaster County holds an annual Whoopie Pie Festival. Don’t hear about
Maine holding an annual Whoopie Pie Festival. Festival highlights
• The Whoopie Pie Treasure
Hunt—kind of an Easter egg hunt.
• The Whoopie Pie Long Launch, in which fierce pie gladiators hurl
whoopie pies at various targets.
• Whoopie Pie Checkers—that’s right, whoopee pies, chocolate and red
velvet, are used for the checkers.
• The Whoopie Yell-Off—Kind of like a pig-call contest only contestants
shout . . . well, you can figure that out.
• The Amateur Whoopie Pie Eating Contest. Can you eat a dozen whoopies
in one sitting. Ugh.
• And then the best event of all is the World’s Largest Whoopie Pie.
This year whoopie enthusiasts will attempt once again to enter the
Guinness Book of World Records. Last year they made a pie that weighed
an astounding 250 pounds.
It seems to me that this kind of
whoopie devotion is unmatched in the state of Maine. Please Mainers,
find your own dessert and leave whoopie where it belongs—in
Pennsylvania. I mean, what’s next? Gonna take credit for funnel cake?
a recipe for whoopie pie. They really are good and fun to eat.
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup cocoa
tiny bit of salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup milk
1 cup warm water
2 tsp. vanilla
In a mixing bowl, combine the
flour, baking soda, cocoa, and salt; mix well and set aside. In a
separate bowl, combine the sugar, shortening, and eggs. Beat for about
2 minutes. Mix the dry ingredients with the egg mixture. Add the milk
and warm water and beat at medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the
vanilla and beat again until the ingredients are thoroughly blended.
This batter is for a cakelike cookie. Bake as drop cookies. Drop by
rounded tablespoons full onto ungreased, nonstick cookie sheets. Bake
in a preheated oven at 375° for 10 to 12 minutes or until the center of
the cookies spring back when lightly pressed. Remove from the cookie
sheets and cool a wire rack or white paper towels.
2 tsp. vanilla
4 T. flour
4 T. milk
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 ½ cups vegetable shortening
Beat the egg whites until stiff;
set aside. Combine the other ingredients and beat very hard for several
minutes at high speed. Fold in the beaten egg whites. To make the
whoopie pies: Spread a generous amount of filling on a completely
cooled cookie. Top with another cookie. Wrap each whoopie pie
individually in plastic wrap.
I snagged this recipe from
bellaonline.com. But the recipe is pretty basic and universal. I think
the key is to use shortening, not butter.
And there you have
it—Pennsylvania’s main treat.