It is hard to believe but it has been over two years since we left our beloved Pittsburgh to move to the Atlantic Seacoast. It seems both so long ago and just yesterday. I look around at all the boxes still waiting to be unpacked and realize it was nearly yesterday that we moved into our new home. Then, while unpacking, I come across the stacks upon stacks of real estate listings and think how long ago those searches seem and how grateful I am that period of our lives has passed. I open my laptop and look at the pictures of the kids and wonder how it is possible that all this time has gone by so very quickly and how another babe is now the same age as our third was when we first moved up here. And every time I get lost in this new little harbor town of ours, I think back to all those practiced routes I knew so well back home. And there it is… that word, home, showing where my heart truly lies and that it will likely take a bit more time until I consider myself a New Englander.
And so, within that state of mind, we come to a battle that is waging in my very own heart, mind, and kitchen… that of the Gob vs. the Whoopie Pie!
It may seem a trivial matter, but let me assure you, it’s as serious as the pop vs. soda debate, or sub vs. grinder, or heaven help me, Steelers vs. Patriots. It’s just not some switch a girl can flip in her heart of hearts. There is simply not enough room for both to exist; it is one or the other. To find yourself considering the merits of the other side, even for a moment, raises serious questions of identity that can shake you to your very core. This is not politics; there can be no flip-flopping. And so I have been raising my kids as any self-respected mid-western PA girl would and have been making gobs ever since they were old enough to appreciate them.
I’ve used quite a few different recipes, but lately we’ve been working from the book Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell. Interestingly, the introduction reads like a personal byline of my own :: a heritage in Mid-Western PA, homes in San Francisco and Boston for a time as well. So other than the obvious mistaken choice of title, I feel like I could be friends with these two women.
So far, we’ve stuck to the classic chocolate, changing only the shortening to coconut oil and making the temperature a bit lower and cooking time a bit longer to prevent the cakes from cracking. Also, I use a different filling, preferring a less sweet, cooked roux frosting to the marshmallow fluff icing recipe in the book. I love Alicia Paulson’s (of the blog Posie Gets Cosy) Cloudburst Frosting.
I like to make ours inky dinky, enough for a bite or two, as that seems like the right size for both the kids and myself. Eating two seems just decadent enough, whereas one big one can be a bit too much sweet for us all.
Because the little ones like to bake them with me as much as they enjoy eating them, this year, for their advent calendar, we set aside one day just for making special Christmas gobs. And here’s the ticket we used…
And there it is, plain as day, unintended, but in black and white; Whoopie Pies. Maybe, just maybe, there might be a teensy sliver of room in this heart for not just one home, but two.
Classic Chocolate Whoopie
by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell
adapted by yours truly
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 TBS unsalted butter at room temperature
4 TBS coconut oil
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Position rack in center of over; preheat to 325. Line baking sheets with parchment or silpat.
Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In the work bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, coconut oil, and brown sugar on low until combined, increasing speed to medium and beating batter until fluffy, approximately 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.
Add half the flour mixture and half the milk to the batter, beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of bowl and add remaining flour mix and milk, beating until completely combined. Let rest for at least twenty minutes.
Drop 1 TBS of batter onto prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing each at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for approximately 14 minutes, or until the cookies spring back when gently pressed. Remove from oven, let cakes cool for 5 minutes, then remove from sheet to cooling rack.
When completely cool, spread Cloudburst Frosting on one flat side of one cookie, pressing another cookie flat side down on top. Try not to eat too many before dinner.
P.S. GO STEELERS!