whoopie pies + books: the sequel

There is so much I want to tell you but I can’t say anything yet. However, I will reveal this: I’ve got it bad for the whoopie pie. I’m talking full-blown addict. I’m talking whoopie bites at 2:30-in-the-can-you-believe-morning kind of bad. I used to think that baking these miniature cakes was a beastly endeavor, replete with four sticks of butter and bottles of food coloring to achieve that requisite red velvet hue. Until last week. Until a sweet friend sat me down with some Crisco and Hershey’s and we got thick in the business of whoopie pies and memory.

This weekend I gave it another go, and was a bit more virtuous. I nixed the shortening, went for a richer cocoa and used almond milk instead of buttermilk. I do plan to attempt a version using coconut oil as the fattening agent — keep your eyes peeled.

Speaking of memory and all things literary {my friend Mary was the impetus for this whole shebang}, I’ve been falling in love with my books all over again. There was a time when I stored thousands of books in my home, the sort of stuff that made movers weep, and this summer I edited my collection to under a thousand and I love poring over my first editions and beloveds, as if they were old friends I haven’t seen in a while. Carver, Millhauser, Didion, Calvino, Bender, Cheever, Beckett, Krauss, oh, the list can indeed go on. And just last week I found myself talking about Sebald’s Austerlitz, a meditation on memory, and this got me to thinking that I’ve got the itch.

To write another book. Of what, who knows. But again, again, stay tuned.

INGREDIENTS: Recipe courtesy of Gourmet
For the cakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg

For the filling
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup marshmallow cream such as Marshmallow Fluff
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until combined. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.

Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a handheld, then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.

Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of batter about 2 inches apart onto 2 buttered large baking sheets. Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack to cool completely.

For the filling:
Beat together butter, confectioners sugar, marshmallow, and vanilla in a bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

For the pies:
Spread a rounded tablespoon filling on flat sides of half of cakes and top with remaining cakes.

Cook’s Notes:
Cakes can be made 3 days ahead and kept, layered between sheets of wax paper, in an airtight container at room temperature.
Filling can be made 4 hours ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.


5 thoughts on “whoopie pies + books: the sequel

  1. I am unsure whether I should comment first on the book or the idea that you could provide me with a recipe for whoopie pies using coconut oil! Both make me extremely happy!!


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