Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

MAKING WHOOPIE!

When it comes to food, Maine may be best known for lobster and blueberries. But it is the whoopie pie that is the official state treat (yes, the blueberry pie is the official state dessert). It is hard to tell whether a whoopie pie is a cake, pie, or cookie. Two “cakes” are held together with sweet, creamy filling (or frosting). The most common type of whoopie pie is chocolate cake, but pumpkin and gingerbread are also popular.



The dessert reportedly got its name from the expression of elation (“whoopie”) that children would yell when they opened their lunch box and found the chocolate treat. But as with many great inventions, there is a dispute over the origin of the whoopie pie. Mainers will tell you that they invented this unique dessert around 1925 when a women working in a Bangor bakery ended up with extra cake batter and frosting. Rather than waste the batter, she scooped spoonful’s of the batter onto a baking pan and popped them into the oven. When they came out of the oven she spread the extra frosting on a piece and placed another cake on top, thus creating the first whoopie pie. But not so fast Maine, Pennsylvanians claim that German immigrants brought the delectable treat to the U.S. with them in the 1700’s. Pennsylvanians are serious about their whoopie pies and started the first whoopie pie festival in 2005.

So the war over the whoopie pie wages on. After Maine claimed the whoopie pie as the official state treat, Pennsylvania fought back and protested with signs that said “Give Me Whoopie or Give Me Death.” Showing how serious Mainers are about their whoopie, a Portland bakery took on the challenge of producing the world’s largest whoopie pie which weighed in at 1,062 pounds. Ah, but all the publicity and world acclaim just infuriated the Pennsylvanians. They are now poised to strike back by creating an even larger whoopie pie at the 8th annual whoopie pie festival this September in Lancaster, Pa. They have even called in the Guinness Book of World Records for verification.

If all this talk about whoopie has made you hungry don’t worry there are mail-order bakeries that will ship whoopie pies. Or if you can’t wait that long, try out the recipe below. The recipe is courtesy of Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro, Maine, which is recognized as making one of the best whoopie pies in the state.

Ingredients

3 cups sugar
1 cup butter
4 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ tablespoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk

Filling, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, or preheat a convection oven to 315 degrees F.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, and eggs together until well combined. Add the oil and vanilla and beat again.

In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add half of the dry mixture to the egg mixture and beat or stir to blend. Add 1 1/2 cups milk and beat again. Add the remaining dry mixture and beat until incorporated. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk and beat until blended.

With a large spoon, scoop out 32 circles of batter onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool.

Spread filling onto 16 circles and place remaining circles on top, to make 16 Whoopie Pies.

Filling recipe

1 ½ cups shortening
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 ⅓ cups marshmallow topping
dash salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅓ - ½ cup milk

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all ingredients except the milk and beat well. Add just enough milk to achieve a creamy consistency. Spread filling across cooled cookie circles.

Pie size can be adjusted if you prefer larger or smaller ones.

Wrap pies tightly in plastic wrap and they will keep for a couple of days.


A dessert you can eat with your fingers or a fork!

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