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Making Whoopie (pies)

Somehow I have managed to make nearly 33.5 trips around the sun without ever hearing the words “Whoopie Pie” strung together. It sounded a little cheesy-naughty to me (thinking of “The Newlywed Game”) , until I learned that Whoopie Pies are a well-known treat in other parts of the country. They are a soft chocolate cookie with a creamy filling–a chocolate sugar sandwich, spun from Crisco and sugar and vanilla and sugar and milk and sugar, and a dash of sugar. With Crisco on top, lightly sprinkled with sugar.

I learned about Whoopie Pies from Edie in Maine, one of the moms on Tommy’s playgroup. Apparently, in Maine, Whoopie Pies are eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, taken to potlucks and picnics and campouts, served at birthdays, showers (both bridal and baby) and everywhere you might expect to find food. Colorado is clearly Whoopie-deprived and I vowed to change that! Edie kindly shared her recipe, which I tackled last night with all the skill and enthusiasm a mediocre cook could muster.

I decided to make a half-batch since it was truly an experiment. I learned a lot about baking last night–for instance, it doesn’t make sense to use a fork to scoop Crisco into multiple measuring cups. Make sure your measuring cups are clean before undertaking a massive baking project–otherwise, your brain will turn to dust as you attempt to divide fractions in your head (let’s see, what is 1/2 of 3/4?). A giant serving spoon is not the best tool for scraping the side of a bowl while using the electric mixer. Use the rubber spatula! Where is the rubber spatula? Oops, it’s in the dishwasher, which is running.

The #1 lesson of the night: don’t start the dishwasher right before you start baking something because half the utensils you will need will be inside, being power-scrubbed and heated to temperatures never seen this side of h-e-l-l.

The #2 lesson of the night: you will truly baffle your husband into speechlessness if you decide to spontaneously bake something called Whoopie Pies. From scratch. Meaning no Betty Crocker and her pearls, smiling skeptically at me from the box. No Pillsbury Dough Boy standing on my counter, giggling as I tickle him. Hee Hee!

I must have made extra-large Whoopie Pies, because they were supposed to bake for 6-8 minutes and it took mine 11 minutes for the toothpick to come out clean. Having never seen one in person, I had to guess at their size. If they are meant to be dainty, bite-sized treats, then I am in big trouble. Mine are the size of Big Macs, minus the two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions. Think “sesame seed buns”, all three of them.

After I cleaned up the baking mess, I sat down on the couch to finally sample my experiment. I was armed with a caffeine-free Coke to wash it down, just in case, but it was unnecessary. It was very good! Very very good! All this baking success (first Zippy eggs, now Whoopie Pies) could go to my head! Or to my thighs…….

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