What a fun, little cookbook! I had never tried a whoopie pie but I've had moon pies - similar to whoopie but another name. None were as good as the ones I made from this cookbook.
The cookbook is organized: Introduction to the Whoopie, general advice, how to make ahead, storage, freezing, fun facts, mix and match whoopie with filling advice, decorating ideas, the cakes (21 whoopie cake recipes), creamy fillings (29 filling recipes).
So far I've made the classic chocolate whoopie and I made up my own filling based on their recipe; a mascarpone filling with coconut extract & shredded coconut. YUM! The recipes are easy to follow & a cinch to make.
-Creative recipes like pistachio-cardamom whoopie, gingerbread whoopie and mocha whoopie, and even a savory whoopie (jalapeno cornbread with bacon-chive goat cheese filling).
-There is something for everyone in this cookbook.
- The publishers went for style/marketing over ease of use in the layout & printing of this book. The font is too small and the whoopie cake recipes are in pink which makes it hard to read. The filling recipes are in light blue - also hard to read.
-It would have been more helpful to give filling flavor advice on the page with each whoopie cake recipe.
The Whoopie Pie cookbook has 21 cake, 29 filling recipes and 20 photos. I have some issues with the book, but the recipes are crucial, so I started baking. First, I made the Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pie recipe. I made them a bit larger than the two inch diameter noted in the recipe. The cakes are really good, with the texture a cross between a cake and a cookie. Since it is summer, my intention is to use them to make ice cream sandwiches. I baked the batch and then froze them so they can be used as needed for a quick snack or dessert.
Next, I made the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies and the Classic Cream Cheese filling. The pairing is perfect and both recipes are delicious. I froze the extra pies and have the filling in the fridge, ready to prepare a pie or two. I also decided to sample a couple of the fillings, so I prepared the Tiramisu Cream and Coconut Cream. Both are excellent and either will work well with the Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pie.
While baking I discovered that if truly round whoopee pies are the goal, be careful when dropping the batter from the spoon/scoop onto the baking sheet. If the lump is oblong, the cookie will be oddly shaped, too. I tried to use a cookie scoop, but the batter is so soft it didn't work well without first chilling the batter for 15 minutes.
The recipe gives a time for the pies, after baking, to rest on the cookie sheet before attempting to remove them. Heed this time carefully, in fact, set a timer because if they stay on the sheet or parchment paper too long, they adhere themselves to it and are difficult to remove without breaking. Conversely, if removed while too hot from the oven, they are fragile and easily damaged.
The simple drawings found throughout the cookbook are very similar to some of my vegetarian/natural food cookbooks from the 1970's - Enchanted Broccoli Forest is one that immediately comes to mind. These hand-drawn illustrations, while fitting in a natural vegetarian cookbook, seem a bit out of place in a decidedly unhealthy cookie cookbook. Perhaps whimsy was the goal or a retro feel?
Other reviewers have complained about the brown pages, small sized fonts and white and pink ink, I agree. The light colored ink is something I am seeing more and more in cookbooks. I assume the publisher is trying to make it difficult to photocopy the recipes, and that may effectively disarm a potential thief, but it also causes difficulty for the people who actually purchased the book.
The cover of a book must grab a reader's interest, but I wish publishers would leave their style concerns right there -- on the cover. Cookbooks are tools, and although they don't need to be unattractive, the pages should be easy to read from a standing position while the book is on the kitchen counter, otherwise the user is wasting time and could potentially make mistakes. They should be designed with the user in mind and have decent sized fonts in black ink, with lots of photographs of the finished recipes. Obviously, lots of photographs in a book like this one, where everything ends up looking like a Whoopie Pie isn't an issue, as it would be with other cookbooks. Twenty photographs are plenty.
Twenty-one cake recipes would produce a very slim volume, but separating the fillings and cakes gave the book more weight - unfortunately that decision causes inconvenience for the user having to jump from the cake recipe to a selected filling. The separate cake and filling recipes provide endless combinations, and although some are obvious, suggestions from the authors would have been a welcome addition. After all, they prepared each and every recipe and undoubtedly experimented with different cakes and fillings the user might not think to try.
The recipes I prepared worked well. The book is cute and like most specialty cookbooks, for the right recipient, it will make a nice gift.
on July 12, 2010
This afternoon I made some lemon whoopie pies with the classic cream cheese filling. I discovered that making whoopie pies is a time consuming project--a fun one. But make sure to set aside at least 2 hours if you want to make the cakes and filling at the same time. I did really like all the stuffing, so to speak, in this cookbook--the cake recipes, filling recipes, fun commentary and introduction.
So, those are the pros.
The cons are that the font size is really small and the ingredients are in a pastel font. So, you need to read this cookbook in a good light. The second con is that the recipe I chose--lemon cake was missing a direction. It doesn't tell you when to add the flour in. I added it after the buttermilk. The cakes turned out fine, thankfully.
For me, the difference between a cookbook I love and one I don't has a lot to do with the formatting and how the directions are written. I think the best cookbooks have directions that are clear, font with a size and color that are easy to read, and pictures to make me want to cook the recipes.
This cookbook has fun pictures. The directions are a bit wordy and the font size and color and not very good. Hence, my rating this cookbook at 3 stars. It had lots of potential! Better formatting and editing would have made it an awesome cookbook!
on June 3, 2010
I am not sure that I have ever had a whoopie pie (or moon pie or whatever you want to call them) in my life. I do love to bake, though. I also share treat-making responsibilities with co-workers so I am always looking for something new to take into work.
I made the Classic Chocolate/Marshmallow Creme filling and Lemon/Lemon Mascarpone filling ones and took them into work. Everyone loved them! I got lots of compliments and people asking for the recipes.
The recipes were super easy and only took me a couple of hours to complete the whole process from beginning to end (including cleanup). Most of the ingredients were things I already keep in the house (basics like flour, sugar, milk, cocoa powder, etc.), but finding mascarpone cheese can be a bit of a pain (not every store carries it and my Safeway had it hidden in a random cooler). I'm also not sure where to find graham flour (for the smores cake)--I'm sure my local safeway does not carry it.
They give suggestions for different cake and filling combinations at the beginning as well as options for extras like sprinkles, jams, etc. to add a bit more to the pies. I'm very excited to try lots of different combinations--not only the suggested ones, but ones on my own.
The lemon cake recipe did have an error in it--it said to sift the dry ingredients onto wax paper and mix the wet ingredients in the mixer, but never said to combine the two--obviously it needs to be done, but it was not specified as to when.
Great book with lots of wonderful recipes that are easy to mix and match. I can't wait to try making more! I am thinking of trying out the savory ones for something a little different next time.
Whoopie Pies sound delicious and I couldn't wait to try them, but I was very disappointed when I did. I made the Classic Chocolate Whoopie cakes and they looked beautiful and had a great texture but were very lacking in flavor. I made the Salty Peanut Butter filling and it was a disaster! After I made the filling I realized there was a typo in the recipe. It called for 3/4 cup (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter. As any cook knows, 3/4 cup is NOT 6 tablespoons! If you make these, DO NOT put in 3/4 cup butter......I think the 6 tablespoons might be the correct amount.
The small light colored font in this cookbook is horrible. When we use a cookbook it is not being held in our hands, it is laying on the counter. The font needs to be easier to read.
This is a VERY fun cookbook and great for kid's summertime fun away from school. I can see an afternoon of running around outdoors, swimming, playing ball and then coming in for a very delicious and very snacky Whoopie Pie. There's a bit of a history of Whoopie Pies included (they are of Northeast origin) and some other explanations about why a Whoopie Pie should be round, soft and filled with a creamy center (or it cannot be called a Whoopie Pie).
The book is divided by "Cakes" and "Fillings." You get the basic chocolate cake Whoopie recipe which is the absolute classic but the author gives 20 alternate recipes for variations like Red Velvet, Gingerbread, Banana, Oatmeal, etc... There's even recipes for gluten-free chocolate and vanilla cakes. And then... 25-ish filling flavors - some that you would expect and others, not so much, like Root Beer or Candied Ginger or Bacon Chive Goat Cheese (maybe that would go with the Jalapeno Cornbread Whoopie - not one I find very appetizing as far as Whoopie Pies go). If you're adventuresome, try it but otherwise stick with the classics with variations like Red Velvet Whoopie with classic Cream Cheese or Banana Whoopie with either Banana or Coconut cream! The most wonderful, appetizing, festive image appears on page 78: Chocolate cake, mint buttercream with crushed candy cane shards around the edge. Can't wait till Christmas to make this one. There's a Whoopie Cake too.
Just one additional note. If you're not gifted in kitchen arts (like me) and are afraid to free-form the cake rounds for baking (like me), Williams-Sonoma makes a Whoopie Pie Pan (makes 12 cakes for 6 pies) and I would suggest using it with the recipes in this book. The cakes come out with a nice round top and are perfectly equally round for matching up. Also, the Williams-Sonoma pan comes with it's own Whoopie recipe - you can also get it on their website for free. The reason I mention it is because their cream version uses butter, not shortening. Beware, the creams in the cookbook use A LOT of shortening. But sometimes you just have to go for it.
Lovely and fun. Recommend.
Whoopie Pies, by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell, is thoroughly dedicated to the creation of Whoopie Pies (also known as 'gobs' or 'bobs'). For those not in the know, a whoopie pie isn't really a pie at all. Basically, it consists of two firmish, space-saucer shaped cakes that are cemented together with a generous amount of sweet, creamy filling. Whoopie pies are something of an obsession in New England and parts of Pennsylvania. They are a staple at any Amish market and just about any celebratory event. From traditional to unconventional and sweet to savory, the authors have mixed up enough variety in this cookbook to keep the whoopie-obsessed busy for quite some time. The content is stellar, but the layout isn't always up to the task. Still, given the sheer number of solid recipes herein, this may just be the ultimate, single subject cookbook about whoopie pies.
(Note: if you're looking lose more weight, shrink your waistline, or lower your cholesterol--you may want to stay away from this book at all costs. As they might say in New England, "Them whoopie pies are wicked good!")
Billingsley and Treadwell start off with a little general information and some hints about whoopie pie making. Apart from Billingsley's assertion that the whoopies are no where to be found in Pittsburgh, the information seems factually correct and is fun to read. (Maybe this was true at one time, but the pies show up at just about every street fair these days and are making their appearances at a number of Pittsburgh bakeries.)
The authors then present 21 recipes for the cakes and 29 recipes for the creamy fillings. These can be mixed and matched in any way you desire and can range from the sweet (e.g. 'Classic Chocolate Whoopie' with 'Classic Marshmallow' filling) to the more savory (say, 'Jalapeno Cornbread Whoopie' with 'Honey Buttercream' filling) to the exotic ('Pistachio-Cardamom Whoopie' with 'Rosewater Buttercream' filling). There are even gluten free alternatives and vegan (no egg) versions for the classic chocolate and vanilla bobs. The authors have added some non-conventional touches and added flairs for your eating pleasure: there is a recipe for a dip in chocolate glaze and some suggestions for gussying up your whoopie pie by rolling the edges in jimmies, crushed peppermint candies, and mini chocolate chips etc. They even suggest stuffing some whoopies with two kinds of fillings for double the taste.
I don't believe in reviewing a cookbook without sampling some of the recipes, but I am also rather conservative with my junk food. So for the purposes of this review I made both the classic chocolate and vanilla whoopies and sampled the traditional, classic marshmallow and buttercream fillings. The cake recipes are easy enough to follow. The ingredients are simple and the steps outlined are simple enough for the novice baker (e.g. me). I particularly liked the authors comment that they themselves are "pretty lazy bakers" and that skipping the sifting of dry ingredients and reusing parchment paper was okay (I went one step closer to lazy and just used a new, teflon coated cookie sheet for easy off and easy cleaning.)
In spite of my klutziness and unconscious attempts to muck up the recipes, I can happily report that the recipes tried herein were simple and nearly foolproof. The batter is best made in a mixer and ends up velvety smooth with a consistency somewhere between a cake batter and a thick brownie mix.
Spooning a tablespoon (or two) for each pie was easy and so long as you end up with uniform amounts of batter in a roundish blob, you're okay. The smoothness and subtle firmness of the batter covers up a lot of mistakes and after about 10 minutes in the oven, I ended up with nearly uniform domes that looked just right.
Both frosting recipes had a mere four ingredients, but when whipped together in a mixer were light, fluffy, and tasted greater than the sum of their parts. Putting it all together was easy enough. I spooned in the frosting (rather than using a frosting bag), squished two pie-halves together, and voila--a whoopie pie. And my pies even looked like the pictures in this book! And as to the taste? Authentic. Just like the county fair...
Are there any cons to this cookbook? Well, don't buy it if you don't like whoopies, for one. And if you're looking for a healthy and balanced snack this might not be the right place, unless you've found a high carb/high fat weight loss plan that works.
Oh, and a tiny quibble--the authors put the 'Whoopie mix and match' section near the beginning of the book, rather than suggest fillings that go with the cakes after each cake recipe. It's a little petty of me, but I would have preferred it if the authors had made filling suggestions at the end of the each cake recipe, as I'm not a fan of flipping back and fourth. They might have saved the mix and match section for the more exotic combinations.
The initial pages are brown with white print--a nice homage to the classic whoopie pie, but a little hard on the eyes. Moreover the print was rather small throughout. Given the vibrant, full-page pictures my guess is that this book was probably designed to be printed in a larger format; the recession hit, budgets got smaller, and they shrunk the book down a couple sizes. Had this been printed in a larger format, I wouldn't be commenting on the typography right now. Sadly, the great whoopie pies herein come with a little eye strain.
So if you're not already a fan of the frosting sandwich, this book is a good introduction to whoopie-dom. And if you're already hooked and want some variety in your whoopie pies, this book is a great resource. There's not a lot of breadth here, but for a single-subject, dessert cookbook, this one basically takes the cake (and lets you eat it too).
This is a cute and appealing little cookbook with a nice variety of recipes for the little soft sandwich cookies known variously as whoopie pies, moon pies, scooter pies, gobs, or other regional names. I loved the soft vinyl cover too...a little pillowy and soft, just like a whoopie. I also liked the friendly, happy tone of the authors. It's a cute novelty cookbook, not the backbone of your kitchen but cute enough.
I couldn't rate the book higher than 3 stars, however, and my quibbles are below:
1. Recipes are divided into cakes and fillings, so you decide which cakes to pair with which filling. The authors don't even suggest pairings in the recipes! There is a list at the end of the book of suggested combinations, but honestly, it feels like a lot of paging around to put together a complete cookie recipe when I decide to pull out the bowls and get baking. First select one recipe, then page around and select another, or consult that list in the back and page around to look at those recipes.
2. What IS IT with the teensy tiny print in cookbooks these days? In the (many) pages of introduction to these recipes, the print is teensy little white print in a cutesy font on brown background. The words are squeezed together on the page leaving tons of empty brown background. The few-words-to-a-page design gives the book an appearance of more heft than it has.
Recommendation: Borrow this one from the library rather than buy.
I pre-ordered this book for my mom who recently asked me if I had any recipes for whoopie pies. I checked several dessert cookbooks and only came up with two whoopie pie recipes. She liked the book so I decided to get it for myself.
I was thrilled to discover that Whoopie Pies (Cookery) was even more fun than I expected. The authors clearly had fun writing the book and deciding which random facts about whoopie pies to include, and there are whimsical illustrations throughout the book.
The book is divided into two main chapters containing recipes for cakes and fillings for readers to mix and match. Don't worry, the authors provide four pages of suggested combinations (including decorating ideas) to get us started. Examples include the Happy Pilgrim (pumpkin cake with maple filling), Almond Joyous (classic chocolate cake with coconut cream filling rolled in sliced almonds), Creamsicle (vanilla cake with orange cream cheese filling and orange marmalade), the Grover (vanilla cake with classic buttercream filling and ½ ounce blue food coloring dusted in blue Pixy Stix powdered candy), and Fat Elvis (banana cake with salty peanut butter filling rolled in crisp bits of bacon).
There are also tips on storing, freezing, and making the cakes (and/or the entire whoopie pies) ahead of time. Each cake recipe will make 48 two-ince cakes (24 whoopie pies), 30 four-inch cakes (15 whoopie pies) or two nine-inch cakes (one whoopie pie).
The cake recipes include:
* Classic chocolate whoopie
* Red velvet whoopie
* Vanilla whoopie
* Mocha whoopie
* Marbled whoopie
* Chocolate chip whoopie
* Lemon whoopie
* Gingerbread whoopie
* Peanut butter whoopie
* Banana whoopie
* Pistachio-cardamom whoopie
* Graham cracker whoopie
* Oatmeal whoopie
* Pumpkin whoopie
* Carrot cake whoopie
* Vegan chocolate whoopie
* Vegan vanilla whoopie
* Gluten-free chocolate whoopie
* Gluten-free vanilla whoopie
* Whoopie cake
* Jalapeno cornbread whoopie
Recipes for fillings include:
* Classic marshmallow
* Chocolate buttercream
* Classic cream cheese
* Classic buttercream
* Chocolate ganache
* Whipped chocolate ganache
* Mint buttercream
* Honey buttercream
* Rosewater buttercream
* Salty peanut butter
* Coconut cream
* Malted buttercream
* Salted caramel
* Candied ginger
* Dulce de leche
* Root beer
* Orange cream cheese
* Lemon mascarpone
* Tiramisu cream
* Strawberry buttercream
* Peachy marshmallow cream
* Matcha buttercream
* Vegan chocolate "butter" cream
* Vegan vanilla "butter" cream
* Bacon-chive goat cheese
* Chocolate glaze
The authors provide ideas about what to "spread" on the cakes in addition to the fillings (such as jam, Nutella, and chutney), "pile" on the cakes in addition to the fillings (such as berries, chopped nuts, and pudding), "roll" the assembled whoopie pies in (such as mini chocolate chips, crushed peppermint or lemon candies, and sprinkles), and "dip" the assembled whoopie pies in (such as chocolate glaze, warmed peanut butter and melted white chocolate).
I liked that two vegan cake recipes and two vegan frosting recipes are included, as are two gluten-free cake recipes. This will help cooks trying to accommodate friends and other guests who have dietary restrictions without trying to adapt the recipes on their own.
There are 20 photos and an index in the back which lists the type of cake, type of filling(s) and decorations pictured in each photo. I wish more cookbook authors provided a photo index.
Whoopie Pies deserves a solid five star rating. My only suggestion would have been to use a larger type font and darker print to make it easier for cooks to read the recipes. While the instructions are in a dark brown print, the ingredients are listed in light pink (for the cakes) or light blue (for the fillings). Several of the other pages (such as the flavor combinations) are brown with white writing that could be difficult for some people to read.
on June 20, 2016
I absolutely cannot believe the shoddy recipe ingredient lists in this cookbook! I made the Oatmeal Whoopie pie recipe. I triple-checked the ingredient list because I was not sure it looked right. I did EXACTLY as it said, and used a small "ice cream" type scoop for measuring out the 1 Tbsp blobs of dough to put on the cookie sheet. Imagine my total shock when the little "cakes" came out looking exactly like the round balls that went into the oven. The problem?????? Have you ever made a cake or cookie of ANY type that calls for ZERO liquid!?!?!? The only "wet" ingredients were 2 eggs and 1 Tbsp vanilla extract! When I realized what the problem was, I looked at some of the other recipes in the book. Several called for 1 cup buttermilk, or a combination of liquids. Again, this particular recipe - plus a few others in the book! - do not call for ANY liquid! Instead of making the 48 "cakes" that the recipe noted, due to the lack of any liquid, this only made 21, which of course crumbled apart.