Thursday, June 14, 2012

Makin' Whoopie (Pies That Is)

Does every family have a nostalgic dessert?  A dessert that conjures up fond memories of holidays and gatherings gone by?  Of beloved family members who have departed for the great beyond?  In my family that dessert is whoopie pies-Nana's whoopie pies-two delectable little chocolate cookies sandwiched with a light and fluffy whipped filling.  Major comfort food for me.  Over the years I've tried alot of traditional chocolate whoopie pies and I've yet to find one I like as much as Nana's.

I remember watching Nana make whoopie pies when I was five or six years old.  The recipe came from a newspaper in the 1940s.  She still had the clipping back then.  I wish I knew where it was today.

Nana died in 1988 but by then the whoopie pie baking torch had already been passed to me along with her set of Pyrex bowls.  Baking from scratch seems to have gone by the wayside for most people.  Since I'm not a fan of commercial baked products or stuff made from pre packaged mixes, I remain a scratch baker.  And although most people don't bake from scratch anymore they apparently still like to eat homemade because over the years whoopie pies have become my most requested dish.

Occasionally I get asked for the recipe.  It's no coveted family secret so I'm more than happy to give it out.  Nana's whoopie pie recipe is simple and uses simple ingredients.  It's not certified organic, paleo, or vegan and it isn't going to fly with clean eaters.  Occasionally I get asked if butter can be substituted for the shortening.  Perhaps, but if you like something the way it is why change it?  Find a different recipe that calls for butter.  Nana's recipe uses shortening and IMO you just don't screw with Nana's recipe.

Nana's Whoopie Pies

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees
Sift together:

2 C flour
5 T cocoa powder (I've always used Hershey's and so did Nana)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer beat together until smooth:

2 egg yolks (save the whites for the filling)
1/2 C shortening
1 C sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with 1 C milk.  Beat until all is mixed together.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake 7-8 minutes.

Cool completely on a rack.

Make into sandwiches using the filling:

2 egg whites
2 to 2-1/2 C confectioners sugar
1/2 C shortening
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Beat with an electric mixer until peaks form. 



  1. Bravo Sue!!!!!! These are now Sue's Famous Whoopie Pies! Great post

  2. What a beautiful photo of Nana! She obviously enjoyed a good time! I'll be copying the recipe for my grandkids now.