Thursday, December 1, 2011

Edible Holiday Gifts - Whoopie Pies

Some months ago I read an article that referred to the cupcake as the still-reigning "little darling" of the pastry world. I have to wonder, though, if the whoopie pie isn't tugging at her pigtails. They're popping up everywhere, and I couldn't be happier about it since we both hail from the Northeast. My mom's been making them for as long as I can remember, and hers is the only recipe I use when making them myself. Actually, they're the sole reason I keep shortening in the house.

When it comes to recognizing friends, neighbors, and co-workers during the Holidays, it seems that most people opt to do it with food. I can see why! It's financially-manageable and offers the personal touch that's so meaningful this time of year. Instead of the traditional fudge or cookies, why not go for something more unique this year and give whoopie pies! I did some experimenting to see if I couldn't give mine a holiday makeover and I don't think they turned out half bad!

Whoopie Pies Adapted from a recipe by Tammy Blais 
Makes about 18 pies (if using 1 teaspoon batter per cake)


1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 egg yolks (room temp)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
5 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups powdered sugar
2 egg whites (room temp, not beaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 dash salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease cookie sheet.

For the cakes: Cream shortening and sugar. Then add rest of ingredients and mix until combined. Depending on what size you want your pies to be, drop batter on greased cookie sheet in amounts ranging from 1/2 teaspoon for mini pies to 1 heaping tablespoon for large pies. Try to drop them into as clean a circle as possible so that they bake nice and round. Bake for about 10 minutes.
For Frosting: Mix all ingredients and beat on medium-medium high speed until fluffy, about 10 minutes. Put in between 2 cakes. 
Notes: Sometimes I opt to make an extra 50% of frosting just so I have plenty in case I dye too much one color and need more of another. 
To make the ones in the photos I divided the frosting, keeping some white and dyeing some a pale, icy blue.
To do the stenciled pies, simply place the stencil on top of the whoopie pie, and, holding a flour sifter about 1 foot above the pie, add a small amount of powdered sugar into the sifter and shake over the pie. Don't over do it or you'll end up piling too much sugar onto the whoopie pie.

Extras: Martha Stewart Holiday Cookie Stencils, 10-inch icing bag and smallest round tip available, Blue food coloring, Nonpareils, boxes, shredded paper, and white & gold berries all purchased at Michael's. Sifter for sprinkling powdered sugar.

Ideas For Use: These would make a great decorative piece for a dinner table. Put them on display on a cake stand (or 3) or set each one in its own box and place one in the center of each guest's plate. If your kids or other relatives are staying with you for a night or two, place one (wrapped) onto their pillow or bedside to show them how much you've been looking forward to their visit. Make extra the week before Christmas in case any unexpected gift-bearers drop by. You'll be ready to exchange.