These classic whoopie pies are made by sandwiching a sweet vanilla filling in between tender, cakey chocolate cookies. An easy way to bring a little of your childhood to your kids.
Just saying “Whoopie Pie” makes us happy. Heck, just thinking “Whoopie Pie” makes us happy! How can it not?! For those of you who, like us, are old-timers, recall packaged Devil Dogs, these are like them, except there’s no scary, multisyllabic words or hydrogenated vegetable shortening. Nothing but real ingredients and a sweet, billowing vanilla filling sandwiched between tender, cakey chocolate cookies.–Renee Schettler
CAN I MAKE WHOOPIE PIES AHEAD OF TIME?
Got a picnic on the horizon? Or birthday or just a craving that’s about 3 days away? Well, you can do the work now and revel in whoopie pie goodness later on. Once baked, the cakes can be kept between layers of wax paper, in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days. The filling, on the other hand, is a little more delicate and should only be made 4 to 6 hours ahead of time, so plan that part accordingly.
For the chocolate cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup nonalkalized cocoa powder
- 3/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (either low-fat or full-fat)
For the filling
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
Make the cookies
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Butter 2 baking sheets.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt until well blended.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolk and beat until well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the vanilla extract. Stir the baking soda into the hot water, then alternately add the hot water mixture, buttermilk, and dry ingredients, adding 1/3 of each ingredient at a time, ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until combined.
- Using wet hands, shape the dough into 1-inch balls and arrange them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Moisten your palm and flatten each ball into a 1 1/4 inch disk. Bake the cookies, 1 sheet at a time, for 5 to 7 minutes, until their surfaces are cracked. The cookies will still be quite soft, but they’ll firm up as they cool. Immediately and carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the filling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed, beat the confectioners’ sugar with the butter until the mixture is crumbly, about 1 minute. Add the heavy cream and beat on high speed until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and salt and beat until blended.
Assemble the Whoopie Pies
- Using a small offset metal spatula, spread the flat bottoms of half the cooled cookies with the filling, using 1 heaping teaspoon for each cookie. Sandwich each frosted cookie with the flat bottom side of 1 of the remaining cookies and gently press them together to ensure they stick. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I’ve made whoopie pies before, and most of the time the cookie part is too large and the filling is too scant. This recipe was not only easy to throw together but the resulting cookies were perfectly proportioned to the amount of filling. The flavor was good and it was all very easy.
I sifted the flour and cocoa mixture because even if you whisk it, it’s still likely to have clumps of cocoa. I also used a small scooper to make the cookies, because this produces a very even result. The dough is still a little sticky, so when you’re patting down the cookie dough, if your fingers are dry, then the cookie dough will stick to them. Trust me, your fingers can’t be too wet.
Growing up, my neighbor would make whoopie pies that were so good I was sure I couldn’t find their equal. But here it is! The cookie isn’t really a cookie but more like a small cake.
WARNING–As these were cooling, the other 5 people who were staying with me each found at least one reason to wander into the kitchen and try “one of those cookies that smell so good”. I told them to wait and they’d get an even better treat, but no one could. The general comment was, “these are so good, and not too sweet but flavorful with a great texture. And that was before I filled these wonderful little delights.
The filling is also delicious and so nicely complements the cookie. And they’re just the right size–3 or 4 bites will do it. And because they are small, why not have a second or a third?
I’d always thought that making whoopie pies was labor-intensive and complex but nothing could be further from the truth. The cookies are quickly mixed and since they take only 5-7 minutes to bake, they’re ready in no time. Similarly, the filling is quick and easy.
Originally published November 24, 2002