Making Whoopie …Pies that is!

There always seems to be some trend shaking up the pastry world. A few years ago cupcakes were all the rage leading to a number of bakeries that specialize in these one-person cakes. A few bakeries even specialize in miniature cupcakes. You can’t throw a stick these days without hitting one of the thousands of purveyors of the little snack turned must have desert thanks in no small part to Sex in the City and its feature of Magnolia Bakery in New York. And every food blogger on earth has championed an endless array of variations on a theme. We love cupcakes, but we’re ready to move on.

After vacationing in Paris this spring where we noshed on the most exquisite macaron, we kept thinking the macaron’s time had come. The French macaron now seems to be popping up everywhere in San Francisco, from Miette Patisserie to La Boulangerie to Patisserie Philippe and Paulette Macarons.  We happily jumped on the bandwagon dedicating a blog post to these wonderful creations.

And now we’re starting to think the next trend in San Francisco might just be the Whoopie pie. The Whoopie pie originates from Pennsylvania Amish country. According to Wikipedia, the Whoopie pies were made by Amish woman and included in men’s lunch boxes. When the fellows found the pies they exclaimed, “Whoopie!” And who wouldn’t shout “Whoopie” if they found one of these huge pastries in their lunch pail? The pies are actually two soft, cake-like, cookies smooshed together with a big dollop of frosting in the middle. Yum!

Jason made a batch of Whoopie pies a couple of weeks ago for our second wedding anniversary. They were supposed to be dessert for a party that unfortunately fell through. There was way too much going on that weekend; Steve’s law school reunion, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, work, etc. But Jason made the pies anyway with the hopes that Steve would take them into his office. After one bite, Steve decided they were too good to share with his fellow co-workers. (Don’t worry team MLA, baked goods are coming your way.) So now we have them in our deep freeze, ready for Steve’s lunch pail on the days he’s been particularly nice to Jason.

This recipe comes from Martha Stewart’s website. It’s an original creation of Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito of Baked bakery in Brooklyn, NY. Jason altered the recipe substituting half the all-purpose flour with kamut flour and half the oil for melted butter to give the pies a nice buttery taste. If you don’t have kamut flour, feel free to stick to the original recipe. Instead of the cream cheese frosting Jason made a nice caramel frosting he found on epicurious and rolled the finished pies in toasted pecans.

The next time we’re in New York we’ll have to make a trip over to Brooklyn to try Matt and Renato’s original Whoopie pie. Until then, we’ll just keep dipping into our freezer until these treats are gone. And if anyone is wondering what to get us for Christmas, a copy of Baked’s cookbook would be a nice pick!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Caramel Frosting

Makes 12 whoopie pies

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2  cups Kamut flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans


Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, oil, and melted butter until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.

Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.

For frosting:
Stir sugar and 1/4 cup water in medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high; boil until syrup turns deep amber, swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat; add cream (mixture will bubble up). Stir over low heat until caramel bits dissolve. Whisk egg yolks in medium bowl. Very gradually whisk hot caramel into yolks. Cool to room temperature.

Using electric mixer, beat butter and salt in large bowl until smooth. Beat in caramel. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Let stand at room temperature until thick enough to spread, about 1 hour.

Assemble the whoopie pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag and snip the end. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Place pecans on plate. Roll edges of cakes in nuts.

Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate cookies at least 30 minutes before enjoying.