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Whoopie Pie fever

Published May 21. 2011 09:00AM

I'm craving chocolate. More specifically, two yummy chocolate cakelike cookies with delicious creamy vanilla filling. In other words, I want Whoopie Pies!

Years ago, my aunt introduced Whoopie Pies into our lives. We've never been the same since. Mom didn't make them often because they were reserved for special occasions. Mostly Christmas time. And unfortunately, everyone loves them and they're gone faster than you can say, "Are there any Whoopie Pies left?"

I always assumed they originated from the Amish in the Lancaster area. So imagine my surprise when I came across an article about how a state legislator in Maine introduced a bill in January to make Whoopie Pies Maine's official state dessert, where he says the Whoopie Pie originated.

Pennsylvania is protesting, claiming it originated in PA and should be associated with PA and not Maine.

Ach now. Such a dilemma.

So, I went to the Internet to see what I could learn.

According to Wikipedia, Maine's state dessert is Blueberry Pie. And why not? Maine is known for its blueberry crop, which is also listed as its state fruit. (So, duh.) Whoopie Pies are listed as Maine's state treat. But noooooo, that's not good enough. Now they've taken it to the state capitol to try to make it the state dessert. (Must be a slow lawmaking year up in Maine if that's one of their issues.)

Also listed is its state soft-drink (Moxie. Moxie! That horrible vile-tasting stuff someone has the nerve to call Soda? Maine can have it!)

Did you know states did this?

Guess what's listed as Pennsylvania's state dessert?


The only thing listed is a state cookie and it's the sugar cookie. Another site listed the chocolate chip cookie as the state cookie, so there appears to be some discrepancy over this very important statistic. Of the two, I vote for chocolate chip.

Speaking about chocolate chip cookies. If you love them, I suggest you go to page 35 in the 2010 TIMES NEWS cookbook and make the Instant Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies submitted by Shirley Fryer of New Ringgold. You'll never make the recipe on the back of the Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Morsels bag again. Shirley's recipe doesn't call for nuts but I add a cup of chopped walnuts and these cookies are TOO-DIE-FOR!

Sorry about the sidetrack. We're talking food here and I just get so excited about good recipes and want to share them with everyone!

Oklahoma has 13 listings of state recognized foods: Barbecue pork, chicken fried steak, sausage and gravy, biscuits, fried okra, grits, squash, corn, black-eye peas, cornbread are all state meals; Pecan Pie is the state dessert; the strawberry is the state fruit; and the watermelon is the state vegetable.

And all Pennsylvania has is a state cookie. Come on, PA! Let's get on this gravy train. I'm thinking of contacting my legislator and suggest the cheesesteak be named the state sandwich, pierogies as the state side order, Coke as the state soft drink, roast beef and filling as the state meal and just to give Maine a run for her money, Whoopie Pies as the state dessert.

How did Whoopie Pies get their name?

One source says that when Amish children opened their lunch containers and saw they had these tasty little treats they'd yell, "Whoopie!"

This source also said that Whoopie Pies were born when moms had left over chocolate cake batter and frosting and make the delicious sweet sandwich out of them.

Ever since I got married, whenever I made a cake, I used the Whoopie Pie filling for my frosting. Then I found cooked icing and now I use that all the time. But just the other week, I had a yen for Whoopie Pie icing and made it for a butter cake I had baked. Ohhhhhh. Sooooo. Good.

PA has a Whoopie Pie Festival. This year it is on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Rain date is Sunday, Sept. 18. It is held at Hershey Farm, located in Ronks. There will be 100 different Whoopie Pie flavors to taste, with a Whoopie Pie Treasure Hunt, Whoopie Pie Race, Whoopie Pie Long Launch, Whoopie Pie Checkers, Whoopie Yell Off, Whoopie Pie Eating Contest, Create Your Own Whoopie Pie and an attempt to make it in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest Whoopie Pie.

Maine has one, too, in Dover-Foxcroft, June. But I bet it's not as good as the one in PA, where, no matter what Maine says, Whoopie Pies originated.

Did I hear you correctly? You've never made Whoopie Pies?

Well. That's almost un-Pennsylvanian.

Here's my recipe. Now get in the kitchen and whip up a batch! And then call me. 'Cause I've really got a hankerin' for some delicious homemade Whoopie Pies.

Or if you make Shirley's chocolate chip cookies, I wouldn't say "no" to an invite for those either.

Whoopie Pies Recipe

Batter: 2 cups sugar, 1 cup shortening, 1 cup cocoa, 2 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs (save the egg whites for the filling), 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 cup buttermilk, 2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 4 cups flour.

Cream sugar and shortening together in a large bowl. Add eggs and mix. Sift dry ingredients together and add to the creamed mixture alternatively with milk. Batter will be stiff. If it is too thin, add more flour. Drop by tablespoon onto greased sheets. Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cookies comes out clean.

Filling: 2 egg whites, 2 tsp. vanilla, 4 tbsp. flour, 1 cup Crisco, 4 cups 10x powdered sugar, 4 tbsp. milk

Beat egg whites, vanilla, flour, and Crisco all together. Add powdered sugar alternately with milk; beat well. When pies are cool, spread a giant scoop of filling on a pie. Place another pie on top, and gently press together. (You might want to wrap them individually to store, as they tend to stick to each other. I don't. They're not around long enough to bother.)

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