Chocolate whoopie pies: The Big Whoop

What do the states of Maine and Pennsylvania have in common?

1) They voted blue in the last election;

2) They include towns named Falmouth, Union, and Smyrna;

3) They have a rich and robust Whoopie Pie history;

4) All of the above.

If you guessed “all of the above,” congratulations! Not only are you a student of politics and an astute map reader, you’re obviously a food historian well versed in snack cake trivia. Because Maine, and Pennsylvania’s Amish country, both have legitimate claims to being the birthplace of an historically little-known (outside their own region) snack cake phenomenon: the Whoopie Pie.

I grew up in Connecticut and Massachusetts, diligently collecting nickels from my paper route to spend at the variety store across the street from school. 5¢ would buy me an entry-level Devil Dog; 10¢, Hostess Chocolate Cupcakes. Or a three-pack of Drake’s Yankee Doodles, a smaller, unfrosted version of Hostess Cupcakes, albeit with a particularly compelling “cream filling.” I mean, if Hostess’ cream filling was Debbie Reynolds, Drake’s was Marilyn Monroe. It just had that certain je ne sais quoi

Then, a just-launched college grad and newlywed, I moved to Maine. Discovered whoopie pies. And, cliché-like though it sounds, my life changed forever.

If you’re a snack cake aficionado, you’re familiar with Suzy-Qs, Hostess’ slab o’ chocolate cake sandwiched around cream filling. The classic whoopie pie takes that concept a step further, with two mammoth disks of chocolate cake enclosing a mega-dollop of cream filling.

And when I say cream filling, I don’t mean any fancy-pants fresh whipped cream or buttercream or white chocolate ganache. I mean good old shortening-based “cream” filling, the stuff of which Snowball and Swiss Roll and Twinkie dreams are made.

These days, whoopie pies are gradually making their way throughout the country; you’ll find them in shops from Palo Alto, California (Palo Alto Creamery) to Portsmouth, New Hampshire (The Market Basket). And in practically every convenience store in Maine, where they’ll be up front by the checkout, alongside the Slim Jims, Humpty Dumpty chips, and pickled eggs.

But if there’s no whoopie source near you, alas… you’ll have to make your own. A sweet challenge indeed!

Enough with the small talk; let’s get started. Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pies, here we come—

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Let’s start with some basic cake ingredients: butter, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Oh, and espresso powder—chocolate’s best friend. I always add a touch of espresso powder to my dark chocolate baked treats, to heighten their flavor.

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Beat until smooth. This is called “creaming,” if you ever see that verb used in a recipe.

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Add an egg…

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…and beat till smooth again.

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Next comes the cocoa. I use our Double-Dutch cocoa; you’ll see why at the end of this post.

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Mix till smooth. Remember to cover the bowl when blending in cocoa, lest a dust-cloud of cocoa settle over the mixer and everything around it (you, the counter, your cookbook…)

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Now we’re going to add milk and flour, alternately, to the chocolate mixture. A bit of flour, a bit of milk, more flour, more milk… How come this method? I’m not exactly sure, but I think it simply blends everything more consistently and thoroughly.

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Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then beat briefly to blend in any pasty parts.

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Decision time: Medium whoopie pies, or giants (which are, in fact, the standard whoopie size)?  A tablespoon cookie scoop, slightly overfilled, will yield 16 whoopie pies that are about 2 3/4″ diameter, about 2 1/2 ounces each. This is a kid-friendly, reasonable size.

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Scoop the batter in blobs onto a baking sheet lined with parchment pan (first choice) or sprayed with non-stick vegetable oil spray. If you don’t have a cookie scoop, this is about 2 1/2 measuring tablespoons’ worth of batter.

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Leave plenty of space among the cakes; they’ll spread as they bake.

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Want to make standard (giant, 5″ across, 5 ounces) pies? Use a muffin scoop, leveled off. This is 1/4 cup of batter.

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Again, leave plenty of space among them.

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You’ll be able to put 8 standard/giant whoopie-pies-to-be on each pan; so you’ll need 2 pans.

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Bake the pies. Notice I snuck a bit of leftover batter into the far corner; it’s destined to be an orphan—sans filling, but still tasty.

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And here’s what they’ll look like baked. They puff up, and pretty much lose their shininess. And when you press one in the center, it should feel set, not delicate or wet.

Take the pies out of the oven, and cool them on the pan. When they’re lukewarm, slide a spatula underneath each one to loosen it where it might have stuck to the parchment or pan. Let them cool completely before filling.

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Ah, the filling! “Real” whoopie pie filling involves lots of shortening, sugar, and raw egg whites. Our modified version replaces those raw whites with Marshmallow Fluff.

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Notice the stiff consistency of Fluff. If you substitute Kraft (or another brand) marshmallow creme, it’s liable to be thinner consistency, and you may need to stir in additional sugar to stiffen it up.

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Mix shortening, confectioners’ sugar, and Fluff. I can hear the questions coming— “Can I substitute butter for the shortening?” Sure. You’ll no longer have a whoopie pie. You’ll have a chocolate snack cake with a soft, buttery, somewhat greasy filling, unless you change the ratio of butter to sugar, using less butter and more sugar or maybe more Fluff… sorry, folks, I didn’t try it.

How about using just plain Fluff or marshmallow creme? I tried it; doesn’t work. The marshmallow becomes runny and oozes out. How about using Fluff and sugar? Didn’t try that—go for it, let us know what happens.

But remember—if you don’t use shortening, you’re not making a true whoopie. And most shortening you’ll now buy is trans-fat free, if that’s your worry.

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Beat everything till smooth.

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Add vanilla, and a bit of salt dissolved in water.

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Beat again till smooth.

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We’re filling the smaller pies here. If you have a tablespoon cookie scoop, dip it into the filling, and scoop out a generous scoopful; if you’ve got a scale, this will be about 30g.

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Place it on the flat side of one cake.

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Apply another cake, flat side down, and squeeze gently to spread the filling to the edges.

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For larger cakes, use about 60g filling, which is a slightly heaped 1/4 cup.

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Same thing. Put it on the cake…

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…add another cake, and squeeze.

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Nice lineup! You can’t really tell from this angle, but those are smaller pies in front, larger ones in back.

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Does this look like snack cake heaven, or what?!

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I couldn’t resist one more luscious shot.

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Here’s the cocoa I like to use. It’s Dutch-process cocoa that’s a mixture of regular and black cocoas, for extra-rich flavor and color.

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The whoopie pie on the left was baked with Double Dutch; on the right, unsweetened baking cocoa. What a difference in color, eh?

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Finally… I had to bake the recipe one more time to measure the pies, but I didn’t feel like going to the extra effort of filling them. The result? Cakes + ganache = The Leaning Tower of Whoopie.

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pies.

Buy vs. Bake

Buy: Whoopiepies.com — Labadies Bakery, Lewiston, Maine: “The Original Maine Whoopie Pie,” 5″ pie $2.08

Bake at home: Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pie,  5″ pie, 75¢

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Candace

    OMG!! To a northern NH native, this is true art! Thank you so much for this post. The other whoopie recipes were fun, and tasty, but this is nirvana!

    Let me guess: Lancaster! Littleton. Franconia? Not Dixville Notch…? Heck, there’s not that much up there! Pittsburg? I’m “down South” in Hanover. :) PJH

    Reply
  2. Mags

    You transfats renegades, you…lol

    Lovely recipe.

    Transfat-free Crisco – that’s all we use, Mags… P.S. Love your blog! PJH

    Reply
  3. Jackie Julty

    Wow. This looks so cool! If you don’t have the KAF expresso powder, could one use the Megdalia D’oro espresso powder or Bustelo coffee? Also, wouldn’t it be easier to use one of those Side-Swipe silicone beaters instead of just the regular beater and then using a spatula afterwards? I just got one, and I am really glad that I did. It makes things so much easier.

    Yes, Jackie, I think the Medaglia d’Oro would be a good substitute. The silicone beaters work well, but wouldn’t have dealt with the sludge I developed in the bottom of the bowl – I would have still needed to scrape it with a regular spatula. It was quite stubborn! PJH

    Reply
  4. Jackie Julty

    Shouldn’t you be saying “whoopee” while you’re making these? Or would you be just making whoopie?

    We’re makin’ whoopie (pies) and saying whoopie as we eat them! PJH

    Reply
  5. Mags

    Thanks for the shortening info and the blog comment. Now that I know I don’t have to worry about the transfat thingie, I feel like making whoopie! Do you think these could be frozen, all put together with the Fluff?

    Don’t know, Mags. Give it a try – from the ingredients int he filling, it looks like it should work but as I said, no guarantees. Why not throw together a little bit of Fluff and shortening and sugar, freeze it, then thaw, and see how it does? The cakes themselves would be fine – I’m just not sure of the filling. PJH

    Reply
  6. elianna

    I freeze filled whoopie pies all the time. My dad loves them in his lunch. Just be careful & freeze between waxed paper or individually as they do have a tendency to be a little sticky when they thaw. Nice soft-ish moist cakes. :) Also, I usually freeze the plain cookies before I fill them; I find that this makes them easier to handle & keeps the chocolateyness from sticking to my fingers. :) Thanks for the awesome step-by-step PJ!
    Oh yeah-a PS to those who the recipe MIGHT have failed for (tho I doubt there will be many of you as this recipe looks totally awesome!!)…but don’t feel bad. Whoopie pies just seem to occasionally randomly not turn out for me and a bunch of other whoopie-pie-baking friends. Don’t give up-just try again! :)

    Reply
  7. Erin in PA

    YUMMY!! I grew up eating this as a child – my mom even baked enough for my entire second grade class as my birthday treat that year! As they are calling for rain all day today, I think my 3 year old and I might make these after work tonight! Thanks again for another great trip down memory lane.

    Reply
  8. Cathy

    how wonderful to see this posting! Although I now live in WI, I grew up in central PA which is true whoopie haven!! The region where i lived even sold “whoopie icing” in big tubs at many of the area stores so that people could make their own whoopies without a lot of hassle messing around with the icing…I can certainly relate to seeing whoopie pies by the checkout counter of many stores and restaurants…however I also consider myself a bit of a “whoopie snob”..and have come across very few that measure up to the recipe my family uses, which is originally from my aunt.. So I was intrigued when i saw this recipe and compared it with ours…and it is nearly identical!! :) My aunts recipe contained the coffee also, which could be partly what i found missing in other whoopie pies. And you can’t argue with the fact that a whoopie simply MUST have a shortening based icing or its NOT whoopie icing! Thanks for the post…it made me feel “like back home” for the morning:) P.S. and YES, whoopies freeze beautifully…growing up my Mom always had a batch in the freezer that us kids could grab for snacks or to add to lunch pails…some people actually prefer them partially frozen!

    Thanks for the freezing info., Cathy. I’m tickled the recipe is nearly identical to your family recipe! PJH

    Reply
  9. Deb

    I’m making this one! I can’t believe the timing…I’ve been searching for a decent recipe for making these, as my niece and I rediscovered them (in a bakery) and I thought I could make a better whoopie pie!

    Thanks… guess I’ll be getting the mix-master out this weekend!

    Yum….

    Go for it, Deb – timing is everything. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  10. A J

    If the filling is like the “cream” in Twinkies and things
    like Susy Q’s they should freeze well. We’ve stashed
    extra boxes of treats in the freezer for years to toss
    into lunch boxes and such…in fact, I love to eat my
    Twinkies frozen!

    Reply
  11. blb

    Does anyone know if these could be baked the day before; for a charity
    bake sale. How would they keep?
    These fall into the double comfort food category. Easy to prep and oh so wonderful to enjoy. Making them ahead is no problem at all. You just want to make sure the outside crust doesn’t dry out. Wrapping them or keeping them under a domed cover solves this easily. For bake sales they present very well in cupcake papers. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  12. Liane Weber

    This looks great…in Northeastern Mass, we call them Black Moons, and Stoddarts bakery (long gone before I was born in 1979) was the leading purveyor, according to my mom. I hope this lives up to her high standards! Enjoy with a nice glass of tonic :)

    What kind of tonic? Cream? Root beer? Or how about a frappe? Can you tell I’m a Mass. native? (South Shore…) :) PJH

    Reply
  13. Regina

    Hi,

    You’re recipe sounds great – can’t wait to try it. I noticed your recipes usually call for adding the baking soda, baking powder and salt in the creaming stage. I was always taught to sift or wisk them into the flour. Does it make a difference?

    I’ve never noticed a difference, Regina, that’s why I don’t bother with that extra step… PJH

    Reply
  14. Susan

    WOW what a delight – these turned out perfect and lucky I had the espresso powder on hand from my brownie making venture last month. The filling is perfect. I was born in Mass. and raised up in Vermont and now in NC and I was lucky to have a tub of Fluff on hand. What fun for a Friday!
    Susan

    Reply
  15. Harriet Clark

    Years ago my new neighbor (originally from Penn.) brought over Whoopie Pies to welcome us to the neighborhood. She gave me the recipe, too, and my young son and I made them successfully. Later I made them for bake sales at school, and added a little peppermint flavoring and a little green food coloring to the filling for “Devilmint” Whoopie Pies. They all got sold in a flash!

    Reply
  16. Grams

    Wow, I can’t wait to try these! My grandchildren will be so excited, they have never tried them and I have told them that I would try to find a recipe and we could make some. I remember them from when I was a young girl, and oh how yummy!! Can’t wait to try. Also thanks so much for the shortening info, in all my years of baking and cooking I never paid any attention to the new and improved shortenings. So now I will use shortening more often instead of trying to substitute. Thanks PJ

    Reply
  17. Rachel

    Ooo! My brothers will love you guys for sharing this recipe! We live in DE and anytime we visit PA we buy our favorite whoopie pies! Yum! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!!! =:D I have been looking for a traditional whoopie pie recipe that tasted and looked just like the ones we buy (to no success until now!). I will try these soon! I will be trying to convince my dad to buy me some of your cocoa for them (he’ll be convinced I’m sure, he likes them just as much as us kids do!). Lol! I appreciate all the work you ladies have done on all these great tutorials for your yummy whoopie pies! I want to try them all! =;)

    Blessings!
    ~Miss Rachel~

    Reply
  18. Sandy

    Yum….love, love, love Whoopie Pies. I used to make these for my kids when they were young..always a hit. Some years back I found a recipe for them by Paula Deen and made them for the grands…again, a huge hit. Can’t remember if the recipe I made had Fluff in it but it sure sounds good. I do know that I used the shortening too for the filling. I will have to try your recipe soon!

    Reply
  19. Rick

    Yup, perfect. Couldn’t find Fluff here in Vegas so used creme with a tad more sugar. I grew up within a stone’s throw of the Durkee Fluff factory in Lynn. Some folks may not realize that there is strawberry fluff also, try it.

    What did I miss about the shortening? I used Canola oil. Is Crisco better? I would think you’d have the same “greasy” issue as butter, no?

    I roast my own coffee beans so I simply grind my own espresso powder..

    Rick, if canola oil worked well for you, go for it! And yes, we do have strawberry Fluff here, though I don’t think it ventures too far outside New England – more’s the pity! Thanks for connecting – PJH

    Reply
  20. Kimberly D

    How about pouring the ganache over a whoopie that has the filling in it? Sounds good to me…..lol

    Kimberly, I’ve actually seen these for sale online – completely coated in ganache. WOW :) PJH

    Reply
  21. Kristin

    Growing up in Mass. we had these all the time. I can’t remember where we got the recipe, but perhaps from friends from Maine? As I recall Whoopie pies were well known in our town though. Thanks for the recipe and very nice presentation!

    Reply
  22. Kathy

    Bought the KAF Bakers Book some years ago for both me and my grown daughter – and rediscovered Whoopie Pies (grew up in CT) ! By chance I discovered my son-in-law LOVES them (from his childhood in Montana, go figure!), hadn’t had one since he was a kid. So, PERFECT birthday surprise from Mom-in-law! He LOVED them, now skips the hinting around and comes right out and asks me to make them. And now I make them for my new Daughter-in-law’s birthday too! We’ve become a family of WP lovers…

    I have been trying to avoid using shortening, all butter recipe tastes great to us. Also, not to worry if the cakes turn out a little odd-shaped – NOBODY complains! :)

    Hungry again…this always happens when I read the blog…going to make your cheese and sausage scones .

    Reply
  23. RJ

    I am responsible for bringing a treat to our group’s b-day celebration and I was scouring your Baker’s Companion book..I saw amother recipe for whoopie pie and just baked them! I am waiting to try them in just a few minutes..although, I must say, the color is lacking. Looks like I will have to order the double-dutch! They did seem to spread a little (okay..maybe a lot) more than what yours did. They were also a lot larger…do you think that the size may have made them spread a bit more? Looks like I’ll have to go get a muffin scoop, too!

    Love the blog!! Your recipe may have had a bigger proportion of sugar, or butter perhaps? Those would make the cookies spread more. I’m sure they will wow everyone! Mary @ KAF

    Reply
  24. Nuria Kudlach

    I have to throw a monkey wrench in things. I grew up in Carlisle, PA, but an army brat. I was well aware of whoopie pies. Later did I realize after moving around that many things were Pennsylvania only. Has anyone ever heard of the GOB? It’s strictly a Johnstown, PA thing. Only here. The gob while similar to the whoopie pie isn’t made with marshmallow fluff rather a more or less cbutter ream based filling similar to those of lady locks – another pa thing.

    Food really does bring people together and I’m glad whether it’s the whoopie pie or gob – we all enjoy!

    I’ve actually heard that “gob” was an alternate name for whoopie pie – but thanks for the clarificaiton re: buttercream filling. Yes, food is a great leveler, isn’t it? Thanks for connecting- PJH

    Reply
  25. Pam

    Yum! I like to use a plastic ziploc bag with a nice big snip in the corner to fill my whoopie pies. I never had a real recipe for the filling- I always just used a can of vanilla frosting and some fluff. Can’t wait to try this. They are a lunchbox favorite in our house.

    Reply
  26. Martha

    What a lovely trip down memory lane! Although I grew up in CT, my mom is from Maine so whoopie pies are a cherished childhood memory.

    Reply
  27. Dianne

    In response to blb’s inquiry about baking ahead for a fundraiser, when my late mother-in-law helped bake them for her church group it was a two-day affair. They would make the filling the day before, then the cake part the next day. Known as “Gobs” in these parts, it was always a successful sale numbering into the thousands of dollars!

    Reply
  28. Linda C

    I love this and have to try! One of my husband’s aunts made them and called them devil dogs, i’d tell her they were definately whoopie pies… she said ‘yea, but i never get them round, so i called them devil dogs :)

    and her filling was definately without fluff and all shortnening and sugar etc…

    i also may have to dive in and get the double dutch for that gorgeous color, but for now, who cares about the color, they still taste amazing!

    Reply
  29. Sue E. Conrad

    Have never tried making Whoopie Pies…..but will soon!! As for Marshmallow Fluff vs. Kraft Marshmallow Creme – NO CONTEST!!! Wonder of wonders, though, the strawberry Fluff is available at Publix in FL. I still prefer the tried-and-true white Fluff. Now if they’d only start carrying Cain’s Mayonnaise, I’d be a truly happy camper (also Teddie Peanut Butter, although Smucker’s is a decent substitute).

    Reply
  30. Lisa B.

    Yeah! I had one today at a wedding. I live in Maine. My mom made THE best ones ever. For the last few years that is all I asked her to do for Christmas…make me a batch of whoopie pies! YUM! Thanks for sharing. I had to wipe the drool off there a couple of times. ;-)

    Reply
  31. Susan P in NC

    As a southerner I am new to whoopie pies. The picture on this KAF website looked so yummy that I had to try them. They are absolutely fabulous!!! I could only find Marshmallow Cream so I added an extra 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar and the filling was fluffy and delicious. I used the KAF white whole wheat flour and the cake part tastes great. I do think that the cakes are a little salty tasting and will reduce the salt next time. Thanks for a great recipe!

    GREAT, Susan – thanks for helping introduce whoopie pies to the South. I know we can’t really compete with Moon Pies, but… :) PJH

    Reply
  32. Elyse

    Um, yum! I have been craving whoopie pies. I’m definitely going to have to make some. What a delicious and comforting treat. I think it would be very dangerous to have too many of these around me at once!

    Reply
  33. Beth

    Here’s a little article from the website visitjohnstownpa.com (I think that’s it): Discussing Gobs. It mentions the likely origin of the word “gob”
    The article is as follows: (Aside to Nuria Kudlach: I was born in Windber – and a coal miner’s granddaughter).

    “Johnstown’s Gob – A mealtime tradition”
    Reprinted from the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat newspaper

    Origin of the Gob
    Susan Kalcik, a folklorist and archivist with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Commission in Johnstown, said her research shows that the Gob’s origin can be traced back to medieval Germany.

    “They were making a cake-like pastry with a filling,” she said. “It probably was brought to America by various German groups like the Amish or German Brethren.”

    But Kalcik said the Gob is not a Johnstown invention. The Amish in Lancaster make them and she’s seen them as far south as Virginia.

    “They don’t call them Gobs, they’re called Whoopee Pies, ” she said. “I’ve also found Whoopee Pies in New England and as far away as Hawaii.”

    Kalcik believes that the Gob became popular because it was easy to carry in a lunch bucket.

    “Men went into the coal mines or steel mills and the little cake with the icing on the inside instead of on the outside served their purpose,” she said. “I’m convinced that the name Gob is related to the coal mines. Lumps of coal refuse were called gob piles. These working people adapted the name to the dessert.”

    By any other name…
    But technically, not just anyone can use the name “Gob” for the familiar icing filled treats. The name-along with all the rights to market “Gobs”- belongs to Tim Cost, owner of Dutch Maid Bakery.

    Cost, who bought the rights from Harris & Boyar Bakery in Morrellville, said he’s always had a passion for the cake.

    “Even though my family always owned a bakery when I was a kid, I used to buy Gobs,” Cost said. “Little did I know that we’d be making it someday. When the opportunity presented itself to obtain the rights to the Gob, we pursued it vigorously.”

    The recipe is a long-standing formula and Cost said it’s protected. “I would say Gobs are our biggest seller,” he said.

    ###

    Chocolate Gobs
    2 cups sugar 2 eggs

    1 cup of boiling water 1 teaspoon vanilla

    1/2 teaspoon baking powder 3/4 cup cocoa

    1/2 cup shortening 4 cups flour

    1 cup sour milk (1 Tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar to sour it)

    2 teaspoons baking soda

    Mix sugar, shortening, eggs, milk, water and vanilla. Then sift together flour, baking powder, soda and cocoa.

    Gradually add dry ingredients to the first mixture, beating constantly until well mixed. Drop by tablespoon on engrossed cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.

    Bake at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes. Cool before icing.

    Gob Icing
    2 1/2 tablespoons flour 1/2 cup milk

    1/2 cup soft oleo 1/2 cup shortening

    1 teaspoon vanilla 1/4 teaspoon salt

    powdered sugar

    Cook flour and milk together over low heat. Stir continuously with wooden spoon until thick like paste. Remove from heat and cool. Cream oleo, shortening, vanilla, and salt with flour mixture.

    Beat in enough powdered sugar (3 to 4 cups) to make mixture thick enough to spread.

    Put icing between gob cakes and wrap with plastic wrap or wax paper.

    NOTE:

    Other variations found in the area include pumpkin gobs, banana gobs and chocolate gobs with peanut butter icing.

    Beth, thanks so much for this recipe. I love being able to see how things evolve… PJH

    Reply
  34. Daria

    So the whoopie pies that this Mainer has been eating all my life, with a cooked filling starting with flour and milk, to which butter, shortening, and sugar are added aren’t whoopie pies? Hmm.

    There are so many different versions of whoopies-even on our web site-check out our recipes. Joan@bakershotline

    Daria, the icing you mention is a very old type of boiled icing; it probably stepped in for the more common shortening/sugar/egg white filling at some point in your recipe’s evolution. Just as Marshmallow Fluff has stepped in for the raw egg whites originally called for in my Maine recipe… PJH

    Reply
  35. Carol

    Now in Southwestern Pa we call them “Gobs” and we make a similar cookie that uses buttermilk and a very creamy icing, that is shortening and sugar based,I made several dozen for my daughters wedding and they all disappeared-they are a family favorite.

    Reply
  36. Kathryn Henry

    I used the filling recipe this weekend and while it tasted terrific it had a gritty texture to it. I let the mixer beat the ingredients for at least five minutes, which I felt sure would allow the mixture to be well combined. The only difference in the recipe was I unintentionally forgot to use salt. So, I know that the grittiness was not due to the salt. Have you any other suggestions?

    Hmmm… there’s nothing in there to be gritty, so it’s mystifying. Did you use confectioners’ sugar? Confectioners’ sugar, marshmallow, and shortening shouldn’t be gritty, no matter how you look at it. Was the confectioners’ sugar lumpy? Maybe it needed to be sifted? PJH

    Just my 2 cents worth. I have had older Fluff get a little gritty on me, I think it has to do with the sugar content. Maybe that is your culprit? ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  37. Helene

    These are fabulous!! I have just one question, is the filling supposed to leak out when you bite into one of these or was my filling too thin? Either way, there were great. Thanks.

    Well, I wouldn’t call it leaking out – more like squishing out. But yes, it does squeeze out the sides. Try taking smaller bites; like nibbles. Or cut into four pieces before you start. Both of these techniques help lessen the “squish factor.” PJH

    Reply
  38. Beth

    Well, as a followup, I decided to call my mom’s 80+ year old cousin in Pittsburgh, and asked her if she had heard of Gobs. I think she fell out of her chair. She told me that she used to make them all the time, and tint the icing depending on the holiday; for example, orange for Halloween, pink or red for Valentine’s, etc. She pulled out her recipe which she said was over 40 years old, and when she started to recite it to me, I discovered that it is practically identical to the one printed in the Johnstown, PA article. Thank you, PJ, for profiling this on the Blog. Blogs of Gobs!!

    Reply
  39. Fran

    I have a question on the chocolate. I have black cocoa and the dutch process cocoa – no double dutch. If I were going to mix the 2 to get the beautiful chocolate color you have on yours, how much would you suggest of each?

    Hi Fran – I’d use 3 parts Dutch-process to 1 part black cocoa; I think that’ll work just fine. Cheers! PJH

    Reply
  40. Kathryn Henry

    MaryJane:
    Thanks for the 2 cents. Now that you mention it, I did use a container of fluff that had been on my shelf for a couple of months. I will try it again.

    Reply
  41. Yvonne

    Wow– I love whoopie pie photos! Yumm yummm YUMMM! Ever had a maple whoopie pie? They are wonderful! Thanks for the post and the “leaning tower of whoopie”! Such chocolaty goodness!

    I grew up in New Hampshire and I always thought that whoopie pies came from Maine or Boston. It’s a New England thing.
    -=^..^=-
    Yvonne

    Reply
  42. Fran

    Made these today. My grandkids and one of their friends went absolutely crazy over these. My husband ate 2 before I could get them wrapped up! The kids left with one in each hand. Big hit!!! Thanks, I’ll make these again for sure.
    :o)
    Fran

    Thanks for sharing, Fran – glad they were a hit! PJH

    Reply
  43. Tonya

    I noticed the recipe in the KA Cookie Companion calls for 1/2 cup veg shortening and this calls for 1/2 c butter for the cookie part. does it matter?
    thanks! can’t wait to try them. Either butter or shortening will work, but the shortening will result in a higher cake while the butter will spread more. Molly @ KAF
    Tonya

    Reply
  44. Mags

    My Fluff finally arrived from King Arthur and I was positively giddy making these babies. Delicious, oh my! PJ, I’m blaming you personally for my last two pounds…lol

    Mags @ the other side of fifty

    A moment on the lips, Mags, forever on the hips… PJH

    Reply
  45. Dorothy

    I made these last night using Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa (couldn’t find any regular Dutch-processed cocoa in local grocery stores), but I’ll definitely have to make them again using the Double-Dutch cocoa as soon as I get my catalogue in! Marshmallow Fluff was a bit harder to find, but I’m glad I looked around for it…much better than the creme variety (and bigger tub, so more for me to eat out of the tub later!). I managed to sqeak out 20 mini-pies out of the recipe with my cookie scoop, and they were quite a hit at work. Actually a few of my co-workers commented on them being “too much” to eat at once, and those were the minis! I can’t imagine sitting down with the regular ‘hamburger-sized’ ones. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  46. Alishia

    The absolute best whoopie pies around are made by a tiny little place in Allenstown NH called Whoop It Up. They have it down packed as far as the cke and especially the filling. So so good! They sell all over the state. I have seen them at Shaw’s Supermarkets, The Meat House, and a few farm stands as well. The best is the giant whoopie pie they make for birthdays….really a terrific pie.Yummy ….

    Reply
  47. FRAN S

    Better late than never… Ijust made these and they were a huge hit at my house. My 14 year old helped me make them and he said he thought I should have my own TV show. Everyone thought they were like the best “Devil Dogs” ever. I did use 3 parts dutch cocoa and 1 part black cocoa with great results. I also used half butter and half shortening in the cake and there was very little spread. I’ve been requested to make them again so I may give it a go with just butter this time. My husband requested whipped cream for the filling. I thought the filling was outstanding!
    2 questions…
    Could I incorporate fluff with whipped cream somehow?
    Do you think the batter would hold up to being piped out through a bag so I could get the shape of the store bought “Devil Dogs?”
    Thanks.

    Hi Fran – Yes, I think the batter could be made Devil Dog shaped, for sure. And yes, a good way to stabilize whipped cream is to add about 1/3 cup Fluff per 1 cup heavy cream – I’ve never tried it, just read the amount, so not sure when you add the Fluff, but I’d think when the cream is about half whipped? You’d have to keep them refrigerated though, OK? Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  48. Rocky-cat

    Do you think this batter (or Kyle’s Whoopie Pies) could be used in a cake pan? I have the Williams Sonoma sandwich cookie cake pan set and I’m thinking of using this recipe with the filling tinted orange for a Halloween party? Would you recommend a whoopie pie batter or a more traditional cake-like batter? I think their recommended brownie batter is overkill.

    Not familiar with the W-S set, but if it makes soft sandwich cookies, a la whoopie pies – then it should be just fine. Go for it! PJH

    Reply
  49. Rocky-cat

    Follow-up:
    I overbaked the cake layers slightly so they were just a bit dry but the finished cake was good, nonetheless. We noticed, however, that the cake bore a striking resemblance to Drake’s Yankee Doodles. Those were my favorite snack cakes as a child. So my next project, after recovering from Halloween and H1N1, will be to convert this recipe to cupcakes. I just have to be more careful about the baking time. And cut the filling amount down by about 2/3 to 3/4, I guess.

    Reply
  50. Lynn

    Can you email me an address where I can buy Whoopie Pies? I think the ones I bought the last time were from the Amish in Pennsylvania.

    Lynn, suggest you Google to find Amish whoopies. Here’s my favorite: Wicked Whoopies from the great state of Maine – :) PJH

    Reply
  51. webdiva

    I’m sorry, but I’ve gotta say it: it doesn’t matter if it’s partially hydrogenated vegetable fat or fully hydrogenated — it’s still bad for you, and worse than butter. So I just can’t justify what you’ve done with the filling. You may as well line your arteries with lard! Besides, there’s more than enough calories in the Fluff itself.

    On the other hand, I’ve been known to sample Marshmallow Fluff right from the jar (mostly in high school, rarely now), and to me, straight Fluff is great in a whoopie pie. I don’t care whether it’s per the original recipe or not. If you want to make the Fluff more spreadable, put a few heaping tablespoons of Smart Balance margarine, melted, into a bowl (it’s salted, so you won’t need salt), add vanilla extract or a packet of Dr. Oetker vanilla sugar, blend together, then stir in a jar’s worth of Fluff and mix well. That works fine, has no bad fats, and won’t lower your good cholesterol when you enjoy your whoopie pie!

    Thanks for the advice – personally, I’m not averse to eating foods that are bad for me on an occasional basis. Certain foods have an emotional connection that (to me) is worth challenging my arteries for. And I do understand health issues – I’ve got one I deal with on a daily basis. Bottom line – we should all be free to strike our own balance regarding what we eat, and how it affects us. Thanks for listening – PJH

    Reply
  52. webdiva

    BTW, I have also made chocolate madeleines and sandwiched them together with Marshmallow Fluff. Obviously, they’re much smaller — but perhaps it’s easier to justify eating just one or two chocolate-madeleine-whoopies than a whole big hamburger-bun sized whoopie pie.

    I’ve also wondered if you could use a muffin-top pan or Yorkshire pudding pan for baking the cake part of the whoopie pies. Has anyone else tried that yet? How’d it turn out??

    You could certainly use a muffin top pan (don’t know what a Yorkshire pudding pan is; assume it’s similar?) for these. It would give them a slightly taller (less beveled) edge, I suspect… Good suggestion. PJH

    Reply
  53. Lisa D.

    I could not find any espresso powder at the local markets.

    Could I just very finely grind some espresso coffee instead? Should I adjust the amount? More or less?

    P.S. Thanks for the great website!!!
    You can use instant coffee instead of espresso powder but you may want to crush it to a finer consistency. Molly @ KAF

    Reply
  54. Denise Giardello

    I just made the filling and its awesome! I was hesitant about the shortening, didnt know what it would taste like added to the fluff, but hot dang! it is awesome, like a devil dog or yankee doodle filling. very light for shortening. I suppose the fluff cuts it and that is why its light. I have a question, can I keep the fluff out until tomorrow when I bake the pies? Does it need refrigeration? will refrigerating the filling ruin it?

    Thanks, Dee The fluff doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and I don’t think refrigerating the filling will ruin it. Have fun!Mary@KAF

    Reply
  55. Denise Giardello

    PS, forgot to ask, can I make it like a layer cake instead of individual Pies? i was thinking of it as a huge whoopie pie, filled with that delicious filling, I think that would work. What fun! let us know how it comes out! Mary@KAF

    Reply
  56. Denise Giardello

    UPdate: made it like two large whoopie pies in cake tins, baked about 20 mins, the cake was too dry and really didnt rise, was more like a brownie, but had a good taste. I am thinking to add more baking powder and cook less time, and will try it again as a layer cake or just make large whoopie pies exactly like your recipe instead.
    dee

    Reply
  57. Denise Giardello

    second update: made the recipe again, this time as individual whoopie pies, all I can say is WOW! same exact recipe, but as individual pies they just come out so much better than when I tried to make as a layer cake. Pure perfection! I had one and a half, yes, I know they are big, but I was ecstatic they tasted so good and came out awesome, I couldnt help myself. As others have said ” a little piece of heaven”
    Thanks! Great recipe! will make these often! well, not too often, they are addictive!

    Reply
  58. Sue V

    My comment is on the pan….In all of my kitchen things I have, the pan I use to made “muffin tops” is perfect to make these whoopie pies perfectly round…give it a try..

    Also I sub 1 cup peanut butter for solid shortening in the filling!

    Thanks, Sue – great idea, on both counts! PJH

    Reply
  59. Marisa

    Hi!
    I really want to try this recipe out…does anyone know the true shelf life of this product once baked and filled?

    Thanks!

    Not sure what you mean by “true” shelf life, Marisa… Well-wrapped, they’ll keep nicely for 3 to 4 days. Then they gradually start to get dry; you can still eat them, they just won’t be as fresh. Does this help? PJH

    Reply
  60. sandylee6

    Ummmm these are such a TREAT!!! I have an original recipe from my Maine relatives and the filling is different than you indicated – no eggs.

    3T (heaping) of flour wisked together in a sauce pan with 1 cup milk, cook till thick (stir constantly) – cool thoroughly in pan in frig – then

    Whip into this pan 1/2 cup softened butter, 1Cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla – Beat well and sandwich inbetween cookies.

    It’s so unique as the filling is not overly sweet, nor runny, just substantial. There are many recipes and all create a Very Memorable Treat.

    Reply
  61. Amanda

    I searched on “The difference between Whoopie Pies and Gobs” and was delighted to find this! I’m a Western PA girl living in Central PA. Sometimes I see whoopie pies for sale in the grocery store and have even bought them direct from the Amish and they are not the same as the Western PA Gobs. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been disappointed by this.)

    To share a taste of Western PA with my Central PA family-in-law, I am using my grandmother’s recipe for this first time for Christmas. Just finished the icing and it is fabulous! My recipe is similar to the Johnstown recipe listed above.

    Hints from my mom: Don’t try to rush it. Give the cooked flour and milk mixture plenty to time to cool. Give the butter and egg time to come to room temp.

    Best of luck to all Gob-bakers!

    Thanks, Amanda – is there a link to the Johnstown recipe somewhere…? I’d love to try it. PJH

    Reply
  62. vrmontstr

    Just a warning, if you overbeat the filling, it will deflate the marshmallow and “fall”. I found this out a few weeks ago. It still tasted fine, just wasn’t as fluffy a texture as it should have been. Of course, I may have not had quite the right ratio of ingredients, since my recipe said to use a small jar of Fluff, and since I copied that probably in 1980 and haven’t lived anywhere where Fluff is sold in many many years, I had to guess.

    So, just to see how regional Fluff is, I just checked their website. It’s more available than I thought, just the last 5 states I’ve lived in, don’t have it. I’ll have to check the stores after I move in a couple weeks, I might be able to find it!

    Reply
  63. Dorothy

    I’m a NH expat. I live in NJ now and guess what I’m making for my son’s school picnic on Saturday? No one down here has ever heard of whoopie pies but every time I make them they are gobbled up in minutes. I know this sounds weird but these don’t seem right to me unless they are individually wrapped in plastic wrap. Probably because they were always picnic food and that’s how all the moms I knew transported them. Isn’t it funny how picnics make us, or me at least, go all retro? Thanks for posting!
    I’m an import from the south myself, and the first time I set my eyes on those pies a mere 4 years ago I couldn’t help but laugh at them. Flat, cakey, cream filled little sandwich discs of tasty flavor combos? Sign me up! They are so fun, and versatile. And I agree… It somehow isn’t the same without the individual wrapping, making it seem like that little whoopie was made just for little ole’ me… and you! ~Jessica@KAF

    Reply
  64. "Jane Dough"

    I enjoyed quite a few Whoopie Pies in my day coming from a PA Dutch background. I made your recipe tonight and they were fantastic. I have one question. Mine puffed up and stayed there. When I made the sandwiches they ended up more round like balls instead of flatter like yours. The taste and texture is great but the ratio of cake to filling is off since the cakes are so high. I think I followed the recipe exactly as written, so any advice or tips would be appreciated. I made the smaller versions and ended up with 13 of them. I am posting a photo on my page if it helps to see them. Thanks!

    The smaller cakes are somewhat more likely to be taller, due to a lesser amount of batter pressing them flat as they bake. I’m guessing your flour measurement might have been off a bit, resulting in a dough stiff enough to just tip the balance towards towering rather than flat. How do you measure your flour? If you don’t use the “sprinkle and sweep” method, check it out on our how to measure flour video. I’d like to see the picture, bu the ay, but didn’t see a link to your page…? PJH

    Reply
  65. "Jane Dough"

    I was browsing through some of the other Whoopie Pie combinations you have on this site and read one where they discussed leaving the dough rest before baking which resulted in puffier cakes. I think this may have contributed to my first try at making your recipe listed above. The whoopie pies had to wait a few minutes for something else to come out. Today, I tried making the recipe making only 8 whoopie pies and the third sheet I put in the oven is definitely puffier than the first two.

    Chemical leavening at work – both baking powder and baking soda start to work as soon as they hit liquid, so it makes sense that a bit of a lag before going into the oven gives them time to start dong their job, before the oven heat kicks them into high gear- PJH

    Reply
  66. lindaleemd

    I am trying recipes for our Christmas bake sale, made these yesterday and they were a big hit! I want to make red velvet ones, found a recipe but they use butter in the filling. I don’t want to use that due to it needing to be refrigerated. Could I just substitute the filling for these without a big taste difference?
    One of the beauties of whoopie pies is that you can swap fillings and cakes to make new combos, so definitely try new ideas. Enjoy! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  67. nancy

    I have a question. Does anyone have a recipe for cranberry gobs/woopie pies
    HI Nancy,
    I bet you could take a recipe for chocolate chip whoopies and change the chips to dried cranberries. A nice orange zest filling would be quite zingy if you ask me. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  68. Leslie from RI

    We call these homemade devil dogs. I use Hershey’s Cocoa. And my filling consists of Crisco shortening, evaporated milk, vanilla, granulated sugar and pinch of salt. We like the crunchiness of the sugar in the filling.
    I’ve recently tried Au Bon Pain chocolate mocha whoopies. The mocha filling was fantabulous.

    Reply
  69. Nature Girl

    Webdiva had it right. Crisco is a transfat, the Darth Vader of processed foods. Trans fat is found in shortenings, margarine, snacks such as crackers, candies, and cookies, fried foods, pastries and other foods prepared with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Hydrogenation is the process of bombarding an oil’s fat molecules with hydrogen atoms, making it more dense and raising its melting point, so that the oil becomes solid at room temperature. An unfortunate side effect of this the creation of trans fatty acids. Partially hydrogenated oil means that the hydrogenation process stopped short of a full solid, reaching a more creamy, semi-soft, butterlike consistency. This is the story of margarine.

    Cis and trans are terms that refer to the arrangement of chains of carbon atoms in a fat molecule. hydrogenation turns cis into trans.

    Some margarine brands use fractionated oils instead of partially hydrogenated oils in order to eliminate trans-fat. The fractionation process involves heating then cooling a liquid oil, thus separating it to fractions that have different melting points. Unfortunately, this process raises the level of saturated fat in the oil.

    Since requiring the Trans fat labeling on food packages (mandatory since 2006) companies started looking for loopholes so that people would still buy their product.

    LOOPHOLE ALERT: If a serving has less than o.5 grams of trans-fat, the label may state ZERO. Yes, that includes 0.49 grams in a serving size even a 2 year old would find ridiculously too small.

    Trans-fat is an artificial creation and consumption of food containing trans-fat has unequivocally been shown to increase the risk of heart disease by raising levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), and lowering levels of HDL (good cholesterol).

    So, do not trust the nutrition label stating zero trans-fat per serving. Take a look at the ingredient list to spot partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

    This was posted just to EDUCATE you the consumer…I LOVE GOBS and they shouldn’t kill you if eating every once in a while.
    Thanks for sharing the importance of reading labels. It make take a little longer to shop, but it’s worth it in the end. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  70. Otter

    I just made a big batch of teeny ones for a friend’s reception! All we have available is Jet-Puffed marshmallow cream and I was able to substitute it 1:1 without any problem. The filling is great, not too sweet and I love the tender chocolate cookie/cake part.

    Reply
  71. CaityC

    I want to make these a few days in advance for a Christmas present. If I make them Thursday night, will they keep until Tuesday? What’s the best way to store them?

    Well… hmmm… they’d definitely be a bit stale after 4 days. Your very best bet, if you could manage it, would be to make the cakes Thursday, and freeze. Thaw Sunday night, fill Monday, enjoy Tuesday. If you have to make them completely Thursday, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap, encasing tightly. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  72. Rhonda

    I grew up in Maine and absolutely love whoopie pies, however my grandparents lived in Massachusetts where upon every visit I would have to have a Black Moon. Are you familiar with them by chance. They were a little denser than whoopie pies and the center sweeter…. Sure would love the recipe for that!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hmm, I can’t say I am familiar with them. However, I will certainly suggest it to the test kitchen though! Jon@KAF

  73. Silver

    I am planning on using hi-ratio shortening in these. As you point out, PJ, the occasional splurge is ok. I would and do use lard and butter over products with plastic in them any day. And no, I am not overweight and do not have heart disease or cholesterol issues ;-) Cannot wait to try these! I may make my own fluff and see how it works out. Thank you!

    Reply

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