Go Bananas for Whoopie pies: (or peanut butter, or maple walnut...)

The Whoopie Pie is everyman’s snack cake: portable, cream-filled, requiring no special pans or equipment to make, and capable of appearing in a dizzying array of flavors. This is a truly versatile snack; the pie I’m going to make here is based on bananas and whole wheat, but once I got rolling in whoopie-world, it was hard to stop. I also came up with Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies, Maple Walnut Whoopies, and Gingerbread Whoopie Pies. The recipes section of the website also includes a Reverse Whoopie Pie (vanilla cookie, chocolate filling). Which, once you count PJ’s future (this coming Friday) and MJ’s recent posts, gives you a collection of more than half a dozen expressions of the genre in our recipe arsenal. You now have a full wardrobe of whoopie flavors at your fingertips.

You can go visit the other flavors by clicking on the links where they’re listed above, but for now, let’s make Banana Whoopie Pies. First, turn the oven on to 350°F, and get your baking sheets ready. In my case, that always means reaching for a couple of sheets of parchment paper.

Next, measure out the dry ingredients and whisk them together.

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This recipe calls for 3 bananas, mashed. The average banana yields 1/2 cup of smooshed product, depending on its size. This variability can have some repercussions, as we’ll see later. I tend to grab 3 bananas and make an adjustment to the batter’s consistency later, if I need to. You can, of course, mash your three bananas and then measure an exact 1 1/2 cups, and freeze any excess for later use: fielder’s choice. I like to use a potato masher to do my smooshing.

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As you can see, it’s effective.

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Next, we’ll cream the fat, sugar, and salt until it’s smooth, and add the vanilla.

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Now the bananas go in.

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The mixture is going to look pretty curdled; don’t worry.

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Just make sure you scrape the bowl, so the butter and sugar on the bottom gets evenly incorporated. Add the dry ingredients, mix and scrape again.

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Time for the nuts and chips. It was about this time that I realized the eggs I’d taken out for the batter were still sitting on the counter. Doh! So in they went, with another bit of mixing and a good scrape.

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In this case, the bananas were a little on the big side, and the batter looked a little too thin to achieve the desired imposing height that a Whoopie pie should have. So I test-baked one scoop, as a sanity check. As I suspected, the finished cookie was a bit on the flat side (the one on the right). I added 1/4 cup more flour to the remaining batter and test-baked one more cookie (the one on the left).

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That’s more like it. Now I can bake the rest of the batter. I made some big whoopee pies with my muffin scoop, and some smaller ones with my tablespoon scoop.

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Be sure to leave plenty of real estate around each one, so they stay round as they bake.

Bake the cookies until they’re just barely golden brown at the edges, and the top springs back when lightly touched with your finger.

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While the cookies are cooling, I’ll make the filling.

This one is based on cream cheese instead of vegetable shortening or marshmallow creme. Place the cream cheese in the mixing bowl, and put a strainer on top of the bowl. Now you can measure or weigh the confectioners’ sugar into the strainer and stir it through, to remove any lumps.

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Mix together at low speed (to keep the confectioners’ sugar from poofing!) until the mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla, scrape, and mix.

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There. Nice and smooth and creamy.

Assembly is easy. Put some filling on the bottom of a cookie, place another cookie on top of the filling (the bottoms face each other), press gently. After assembling a couple with the straight cream cheese filling, I decided to branch out a bit.

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I happen to like the idea of a banana whoopie pie with coconut-flavored filling, so I added a half cup of our fabulous coconut-milk powder (also pushed through a strainer to remove lumps) and some coconut flavoring to the filling.

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After stirring these two through the strainer into the cream cheese and mixing, I adjusted the consistency with a little milk,

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then decided to add a little visual cue to the whoopie pies by rolling the edges of the filling in some toasted coconut.

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I also like bananas and chocolate together, and you could take the chocolate snack filling I invented for the Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies and use that instead.

If you’ve hopped over to the recipes and looked them over, you’ll see that the nutritional analysis is a bit of a shocker. Let’s face it, a full-sized pie isn’t a puny snack by any stretch. Depending on how many calories you can afford, you have several choices: find someone to split it with, substitute it for a meal, or make smaller ones.

Bake vs. buy comparison:

Wicked Whoopies online: $2.00 each

Whoopie pies from Amazon: $3 each

Whoopie pies from VT Country store: $3.32 each

Bake your own Banana Whoopie pies: .53 cents each

Please read, rate, bake and review any of our new Whoopie Pie recipes!

Banana Whoopie Pies , Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies,

Maple Walnut Whoopie Pies or Gingerbread Whoopie Pies.

Susan Reid
About

Susan Reid grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Bates College and the Culinary Institute of America, and is presently enjoying her fourth career after stints in advertising, running restaurants, and teaching at the New England Culinary Institute. She joined King Arthur in 2002 to ...

comments

  1. Shirley

    Question. Do you think one could use the english muffin molds to make the cakes uniform in size ?? Never have had any luck freezing bananas; texture changes. Any tips?
    All certainly look yummy. I’m going to bake some for an office lunch we are having next week. Would be just perfect for the chocolate lovers in the crowd.

    There are risks with the muffin molds; they’d have to be greased and floured, and the side “walls” might look funny. It’s worth a try, I reckon. Don’t smooth out the batter inside the ring. I find our scoops to be the best tool for a uniform shape; just be consistent with how much you put into them (level the scoop off on the edge of the mixing bowl), and drop them from an inch or two above the pan. You could also try baking the batter in a jelly roll pan and cutting circles out if it. The look would be different, but it would certainly be consistent. Susan

    Reply
  2. Candace

    Susan, I get the Maple Walnut version when clicking the link for Peanut Butter Whoopies. Oops!

    Looks like PJ snuck in and fixed it over the weekend; I just checked it on two different browsers and it’s working fine now…Susan

    Reply
  3. Kathleen

    I only discovered whoopie pies in the early 90’s after a co-worker brought some in for us to try and after I tasted one, I had to have the recipe. She seemed so surprised that I had never heard of them. Would the marshmallow filling also work in this banana version?

    Sure, Kathleen – whoopie pie filings are completely interchangeable. Go for it! PJH

    Reply
  4. Alissa

    These look wonderful. I have a wide variety of whoopie pie flavors to try here in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, but it’s nice to have recipes to try at home. And it gives me an idea to have a make your own whoopie pie party (for the kids, a picnic, book club?), where I could lay out assorted flavors of cakes, fillings and toppings. Chocolate with coconut filling and chopped almonds topping. Peanut Butter with strawberry jam and fluff filling. Gingerbread with lemon curd filling. Better make them mini-cakes so I can try them all!
    You’re our kind of baker, Alissa! The more the merrier. Kind of like colorforms with food! Susan

    Reply
  5. Julia

    How about a Whoopie pie with blueberries or cranberries in the cookie
    part? Would dried or fresh (frozen?) blueberries work better? (I don’t
    want the cookie to turn all blue….).

    Though I love chocolate, one person who’ll be coming to my niece’s birthday
    party next month can’t eat chocolate and whoopie pies may be a nice
    alternative to the extra cupcakes I make.
    Hi Julia,
    You shouldn’t have a problem adding some dried fruits to the whoopie batter in the same manner that the chocolate chips and nuts went in to the Banana Whoopies. Go easy on how much you put in, you still need the batter to have enough structure to hold together nicely.
    Have a great party! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  6. Laurie

    Wow! They all look good. I have also had one similar to the gingerbread Whoopie, but with a pumpkin flavored cake. Yum!

    Reply
  7. Jessica

    These look so good! However, when I was printing off the recipe by weight, the recipe changed to 8 cups of flour instead of giving a weight measurement! Yikes! Easy fix though. Thanks for sending Carolyn Hack to Spartanburg, SC to teach classes on yeast dough and pies and cookies! I never thought a class would be so close to me. Keep up the good work on the blog! Jessica

    Whoops, good catch, Jessica – thanks. All fixed now. And thanks for your kind comments, too – PJH

    Reply
  8. SimplePleasure

    Wow! Definitely a must try! Have heard of whoopie pies before never tried it though until now. How do I store it? I live in a tropical country would it spoil easily if left on room temperature? Are they best eaten cold or room temp.?

    If you’re in a hot, steamy location, I’d store these in the refrigerator for up to a week. There’s also no reason you couldn’t individually wrap and freeze the pies and use them as you’d like. They’re probably pretty good right out of the freezer, now that I think about it. We used to get frozen candy bars at the seashore during the summer as a treat. They were great. Susan

    Reply
  9. nona

    do whoopie pies freeze? if so, do you have to freeze them without the filling and make that when serving, or can one freeze them filled? i love the variety of them you present!

    Nona: see my response above. I’d make the pies all the way, then wrap them in plastic or sandwich bags. Then they’re a grab and go kind of treat! Susan

    Reply
  10. Jana

    I Have made plenty of whoopie pies but usually in the summer for birthdays. glad you reminded me of these. since its was usually little kids and HOT out, I would freeze them and cut into quarters, easier to cut frozen. I serve them frozen and they are a hit! People wondering if they are ice cream sandwiches since I always made a chocolate and cream filled version, ahh I can taste them now. We even have had a birthday this week as an excuse. If any leftover they do freeze long term and it is so fun to discover one much later in the freezer.

    Jana: obviously, great minds think alike, as you can see from the comments just above! Thanks for the confirmation. Susan

    Reply
  11. Alvera Heiss

    I coped what I could and got 3 bananas but the ingredients but not how much eggs flour fat vanilla and nuts and chipe in my news letter may I please have the whole receipe Thank You

    Alvera: if you click on the phrase “Banana Whoopie Pie” in the colored type, you will automatically be taken over to the complete recipe in our recipe archives, where you can select a printable version. Susan

    Alvara, here’s the link: Banana Whoopie Pies. – PJH

    Reply
  12. Lise M.

    What GREAT ideas for flavor combinations for these much loved pies. We used to be purists (chocolate with white filling) but I am baking and freezing some of every flavor for a family vacation. We have always used a flour”paste”- based filling, which is also a traditional frosting for Red Velvet Cake here in Indiana:
    Slowly whisk 1 cup of milk into 1/4 cup of a.p. flour. Cook and stir till quite thick (use a small saucepan or do this in a Pyrex cup in the microwave). Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, combine 1 cup white (granulated) sugar with 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup white shortening ( or all butter, if the weather is cool enough) in a mixing bowl. Beat on high till fluffy, 4 minutes or so. Add the cooled paste by spoonsful, and beat for another 4 minutes, till light and very fluffy. Beat in 1/2 tsp. vanilla or other desired flavoring.
    This filling freezes beautifully – and my husband LOVES these pies right from the freezer! And cookie scoops are indispensable tools for this cookie – one size for the cake, one size for the filling – makes nice uniform treats.

    Reply
  13. Lise M.

    Sorry, but I think there is an omission in the recipe for Gingerbread Whoopie Pies. The directions call for shortening AND butter, but the ingredient list does not include the butter. I guessed and added 1/4 cup butter and the cookies worked, but please check the recipe. Thnaks for a great web site and blog!

    I apologize for our oversight. I will let the blog team know. Glad you ran with your instincts and that the whoopies came out nice. Watch for an update. Frank @ KAF.

    That omission slipped through our proofreading process; it’s been fixed now. Thanks for the catch. Susan

    Reply
  14. nona

    thanks for your response. if they freeze, i have to try them! hope to get to it. (I do wish you would include storage/freezing info more often – i get the impression you are not set up to test how things freeze? – but your blog is just great! i really appreciate the quick responses

    Reply
  15. Claire G.

    I remember seeing pumpkin whoopie pies in Maine. I am thinking I would start with your banana whoopie pie recipe and use pumpkin instead of banana and add pumpkin pie spices.

    Hi Claire,
    Our Cookie Companion cookbook has a great recipe for pumpkin whoopies. Check with your local library to see if they have a copy, or can get a copy through inter-library loan. You can also find it at any major bookseller. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  16. Kathy J

    To Shirley re: freezing bananas — We do it all the time. Just pop perfectly ripe fruit into a zipper freezer bag, squeeze out extra air and pop into the freezer. Yes, they do look a bit like who-did-it-and-ran when they thaw (and sometimes give off moisture which I drain off and add back if necessary), but they still make delicious banana bread and muffins. Haven’t tried Whoopie Pies yet, but plan to. Also, still frozen bananas are GREAT to put into a yogurt smoothie – makes the consistency absolutely dreamy! Good luck!
    Kathy: I’ll confess to the true slacker activity of just putting the getting-past-its-prime banana into the freezer, skin and all. As long as you peel it while it’s still firm, no worries. ;-) Susan

    Reply
  17. Kimberly D

    hmmm never made them but when you wrote chocolate filling for the vanilla whoopies, I thought why not chocolate filling for banana whoopie. Just might have to try it, for I put chocolate chips in my banana bread for I don’t like walnuts.
    Hi Kimberly,
    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our chocolate icing mix as a filling for any and all whoopies. I use a higher ratio of shortening in the mix when making it for whoopie filling, but the texture and flavor are just perfect. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  18. Michelle

    I have a question regarding baking with bananas. I tried a banana muffin recipe and the banana turned a funny color once baked (I believe it was green, not very appetizing!). Any problems with this recipe and do you have an idea of why that happened? Thanks!

    Michelle, baking soda sometimes reacts with fruit/nuts to turn stuff greenish/purplish… did the recipe have baking soda? That could be the culprit. It’s harmless, though unappetizing! PJH

    Reply
  19. Michelle

    Yes! It had baking soda. You know what, it might have been purple. I know they turned a funny color either way! Any suggestions? Can it just be omitted? The recipe had both baking soda and baking powder. I’m new to figuring out the properties of the ingredients and the science to baking. I’m not sure what you are referring to. Give us a call on our Baker’s Hotline 802-649-3717 and we can help pin point the problem. Mary @ KAF

    Reply
  20. jackie

    Could you make any cake/loaf batter into a whoopie pie by adding a little flour?Great question but I do not know if this will work. You can certainly experiment and have fun eating the results. Let us know how you make out. Joan D @bakershotline

    Reply

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