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Whoopie Pies

A few of us where in the mood for a sweet pig-out after dinner last nite and somehow, whoopie pies became the mission. With no bakery open at 8pm on Sunday in the burbs, a Hannafords would have to do. Well, once inside, I gravitated to their peanut butter and traditonal whoopie pies and picked up both. However, I noticed a sign and small bin stating "we now carry "Wicked Whoopies". I saw "WW" featured on a few food shows as being the ultimate whoopie pie. I bought three.... traditional, oatmeal and chocolate chip. Well I was darn glad I bought the Hannaford's own brand... Wicked Whoopies were wicked horrible. I still can't get the Crisco slime off my teeth. The cake portion was oily with no flavor, the filling was abominable with no hint of vanilla or custardy flavor. The oatmeal was two hard cookies with the same bland, lard whip. I'm shocked, given the great press Wicked Woopies has gotten. And I'm mortified, because I mailed ordered a few dozen to a relative who is a whoopie fanatic for a birthday. I guess I should never send a foodie gift without taste-testing. Wicked Bad yucky Woopies.

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  1. Odd. The only whoopie pies I've ever had in my life were homemade. I've never even noticed any store-made brands, let alone something that sounds like it might be made it its own factory, like Wicked Whoopies.

    I was also under the distinct impression that whoopie pies were mostly native to Maine, having never seen them or known any home cooks that made them in MA. Is this a fallacy? Can other local Hounds profess to having grown up with whoopie pies in MA or elsewhere outside of ME?

    14 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      I grew up in MA and we always had whoopie pies growing up. On of my brothers used to make them all of the time when he was a kid. I never really had a taste for them- but my brother still loves them.
      I do rememebr, however, that the filling WAS made with crisco, and there was never a custardy flavor. I will have to buy some from a few different places and have my brother do a taste test.

      1. re: macca

        ah yes...whoopie pies were always homemade at bake sales, etc. and the filling is distinctly crisco, but some online recipe searching says Fluff is sometimes used too, which I'm not sure about (and that combo give me the creeps)...Surprisingly, I've noticed them in other places than Maine, but rarely do they look like the traditional whoopie pie, which has a middle filling bigger than either chocolate piece :) ... it's sorta like the New York-style black and white cookie, you see it in the Italian bakeries up here, but it's just not the same.

        1. re: MaineRed

          The Modern Pastry shop in Medford Square has both black and white cookies and whoopies pies. The black and white cookies are excellent but not NY style, meaning they have frosting rather than icing. I've never had the whoopie pies but given how good the other treats are (and how low the prices are) at the Modern, I'd give them a try.

      2. re: MC Slim JB

        I understand that whoopie pies were a Pennsylvania Dutch invention passed on to Mainers during the Civil War.

        1. re: Passadumkeg

          I was at a wedding in PA ( State College area)a few years ago. They had a "cookie" table, where lots of the guests baked their best cookie recipe. They had whoopie pies- and they were one bite size. They must have been a pain to make all of the small pies in the same shape- didn't taste them, but they sure were cute.

        2. re: MC Slim JB

          I also grew up in MA and my mother has been making whoopie pies for as long as I can remember - but only with Fluff and always with Hershey's powdered baking chocolate. I don't think I'd be able to eat them any other way.

          After looking around, it seems it was an Amish Pennsylvania Dutch dessert that made it's way into a Durkee/Fluff cookbook in the 1930's. Others claim it was invented by Amish sects in Maine first. The Fluff or Crisco controversy seems to lie in the fact that commercially made pies use Crisco because it keeps better.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            I grew up in MA and my mother used to make them. I'm not sure what the filling was. It was white. In my memory I think of it as whipped cream, but maybe not. It definitely wasn't custardy. I have her old recipe box, now I'm curious to go and look and see if the recipe is there.

            1. re: pemma

              I did find my mother's recipe. The filling consisted of egg whites, confectionary sugar, vanilla, and "soft shortening", which would be Crisco. But under that she also wrote "oleo" which is an old-fashioned term for margerine. Maybe you could use one or the other?

              1. re: pemma

                I'm no pastry chef, but I'll guess that oleo vs. shortening would have rather different results: consider their relative stiffness at room temperature. In either case, the hyrodgenated oil scares me.

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  Yes, it seems strange. We didn't know or care about transfats way back when. But, if I do make Whoopie Pies with that recipe it's not going to be very often, so I wouldn't worry about it.

                2. re: pemma

                  That's roughly the same as my mother's recipe. However, memory tells me she always used Crisco.

              2. re: MC Slim JB

                I grew up in MA, and whoopie pies were definitely part of my childhood. And they had a fluffy, Crisco-y filling. Yumm!

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  Whoopie pies are sold at all of the Pennsylvania Dutch roadside stands in and around Lancaster, PA.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    I grew up in MA and we also had whoopie pies all the time. The filling in our house: Fluff, butter and confectioner's sugar.

                  2. Wicked Whoopies are made by Isamax Snacks of Gardiner, ME. Until very recently they were sold only directly via mail-order (or in their retail location in Gardiner). They recently have also been available via Hannaford markets.

                    They made a splash a few years ago when Oprah fell in love with them and they've been riding that wave ever since.

                    There are still true homemade brands available in Maine. Some local bakeries make their own and you see a roadside stand occasionally.

                    1. That's too bad, I was always curious to try one. I found a good maple one in my hometown in VT. Yes, the filling isn't buttercream or anything, but if I ever go back (I think there's one last trip in the future), I'll make sure to buy one. Then again, maple anything is okay with me. There's a woman who bakes out of her kitchen in Lancaster and she makes great pumpkin ones. She's usually at the Harvard MA flea market/apple festival on the Sat. of Columbus Day weekend. I made pumpkin ones myself once, came out okay but the recipe does call for Crisco.

                      1. The Whoppie Pies at Sugar Bakery in west Roxbury are damn good. I am not that big of a fan of there other goods, but the whoppie pies are dead on.

                        1. Finale has a jazzed up version of a whoopie pie. it's not a soft cream frosting, more rich and cream cheesey but really really good. they make tiny ones that they serve with their sorbet

                          1. I completely agree with your description of Wicked Whoopie Pies. I too was very psyched to see them at Hannaford, and after I tried a couple of different kinds - I was VERY unpleased with them. I was not sure what the filmy taste was in my mouth, but I guess it was the Crisco!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mjg0725

                              Same here. But the filmy taste in your mouth was most likely the corn syrup that she uses. That stuff will coat your whole mouth for hours. As a matter of fact, when I was in my late teens I would get tonsillitis every year and my dr. always told me the same thing; take two tablespoons of Karo corn syrup and swallow it to coat your throat. That's how thick this stuff is.
                              As far as the comments on Crisco it actually has no trans fats and half the saturated fat of butter so I opt for the Crisco.
                              It always cracks me up when I hear people complain about the calories or the shortening in Whoopie Pies. They never were and never claimed to be a health food. They are a treat to be eaten on occasion. Unfortunately Americans eat this stuff everyday and then bitch about being overweight.

                            2. I've seen whoopies pies at Verna's Doughnuts, Russo's bakery section and Lyndell's. I've not yet tried any of them, but I plan to and will report back!

                              Good to know about Wicked Whoopies. I will avoid them.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: maillard

                                I bake a mean whoopie pie, having learned the recipe and technique at my mother's side. I've never had a really good commercially prepared one, although Lyndelle's are probably closest to homemade. Have seen one sold in D'Agostino's in Arlington which weighs in at a whopping 800 calories!! Thank God the homemade ones don't come with a nutrition panel.

                              2. Grew up in MA and have been making whoopie pies forever. The recipe I made with mom had a filling of crisco and fluff. That was the traditional way. The fluff helps hide some of the crisco taste. You could probably make a better tasting filling, but it's really part of the package, the good memories.

                                1. My sister ordered some Wicked Woopies and said they were terrible. I've made the filling with a recipe with Crisco, but it has a cooked flour component too, that seems to take the Crisco edge off. It's very good.

                                  1. Yes, I don't care for the crisco filling - however I have found some excellent whoopie pies! They are at Wild Oats - the whole foods store - they are kept in the refridgerated section and have the best ones that I have tasted so far!!!!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: nhskigirl

                                      The secret to the filling is Fluff (invented in MA!) and BUTTER. Save the Crisco for something else, never frosting.

                                    2. WILSON FARMS in Lexington makes REALLY yummy whoopie pies....with choco chips in the cake part!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: dustycolby2

                                        I have gotten them there and everyone like them-never had one myself from there ( or from anywhere except homeade by one of my brothers!). Will have to get a few from there, a few from a local bakery (sweet spot) and a few from a supermarket and have the family do a taste test. they will love it!

                                      2. What is a peanut butter whoopie pie like?

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: JeetJet

                                          Peanut butter whoopie pies are generally the traditional chocolate cake/cookie exterior with a peanut butter frosting/buttercream filling. Pretty darn good, I actually love pumpkin or carrot cake whoopie pies with a cream cheese frosting filling. Whole foods does really great whoopie pies which, if one is consuming the calories, they are at least non-hydrogenated. I, for one, don't want my 1000 calorie whoopie clogging my arteries. They also make one big whoopie which you can get about 4 pie-sized servings.

                                          1. re: Buddernut

                                            I agree with Buddernut, -Whole Foods makes a good whoopie pie! Hadn't had one of those in many years, but tried some the other day. The chocolate whoopie pie was very good, but pumpkin was even better. (and it just looked really nice, too). The cake part was very soft and moist, although not super-pumpkiny. However the filling was a bit sweet and rich (it's made with cream cheese, as mentioned above). So you might be satisfied after just splitting one of them with someone else.

                                        2. Johnnie's Foodmaster's bakery section has yum whoopie pies. I used to make them when my son was little. I did not use Crisco - I think I used Fluff. Anyway, it is truly a New England thing. You see them at all the church bake sales.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: taxi

                                            You could try Boschettos bakery in Roslindale on Washington St. They do a great cupcake, so I'm assuming the whoopie pie is also very good

                                            1. re: murph2

                                              Hannaford just buy whoopie pie cakes from Labree's bakery in Maine and puts their own frosting in. Thos is evident because both the regular and the junior whoopie have the same cake and the juniors have the same frosting as Labrees.

                                              1. re: MCD092

                                                I've been making whoopie pies since a child. Recently made a triple batch for the 4th. My family goes nuts and I've a neighbor who isn't into sweets-except for my whoopie pies. The triple batch was gone in no time. And yes, the filling's best with butter, not crisco and marshmallow creme aka Fluff. Just a basic butter cream recipe with fluff added. Way better than Devil Dogs or Suzy Ques. YUM!

                                          2. I am not really a fan of whoopie pies, but was looking into getting a dozen for my friend that loves them. I had seen them on the food network, and watched her make them and thought I would like them. I read your post this morning and decided against it. I happen to see the wicked whoopie at Market Basket this evening while I was shopping and decided to pick up a few, they only had the original flavor. I tried 1/2 of one and it is the best whoopie pie I have ever had. Usually to me they taste live devil dogs, the filling tastes like Crisco and the cake not chocolaty enough, whether they are homemade or store bought. This one was better. I think I may enjoy the other flavors they have, but, have no interest in paying 8 some thing to have them shipped from Maine to Mass, I would rather drive there and get them myself! So, for me, I am still not a huge fan of the whoopie pie, but, I would not turn a wicked whoopie down.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: meenleen

                                              What section were the wicked whoopies in, at Market Basket (and was it in Somerville or elsewhere?)

                                            2. the Whoopie Pies at some of the Sal's pizza places are pretty decent but the best in may area have to be from the BlackBerry Bakery in Derry, NH.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: ScubaSteve

                                                They taste like regular chocolate cake with vanilla frosting inside. We didn't like them at all.

                                                1. re: drzinnia

                                                  which ones? the ones from Sals or BlackBerry?

                                              2. Petsi's has whoopie pie cupcakes and they are remarkable. Also, angel food (in provincetown) has ginger whoopie pies -- I've never had them but my friend swears by them and has made me bring one back for him on occasion... both not traditional but worth a try.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: RoseWethersfield

                                                  Last week Petsi's had PUMPKIN whoopie pies. Mmmm, pumpkin whoopie pies......

                                                2. We didn't like them either. Too much corn syrup in the filling which leaves a oily aftertaste. Some people sure do like them though.

                                                  1. In Ohio, Whoopie Pies were one of the things you'd buy when visiting the Amish markets. I always figured it was a Pennsylvania Dutch thing. They were always too Crisco-y for me.

                                                    1. Wicked Whoopies are just plain digusting. My husband was visiting friends in ME and I know he would be passing the Isomax bakery so I'd asked him to pick up the maple, pumpkin and chocolate lovers whoopie pies to try since all the Oprah hype I was curious.

                                                      The maple & pumpkin was a white Crisco filling; the chocolate was with a chocolate criso filling. Just 1/8 of the pie was enough to turn me off it. The greasy filling was not appealing at all and the cakes while soft was lacking in flavor.

                                                      Hubby unfortunately thinking they were good bought 2 dozen of them in assorted flavors so that we can have a taste test with our friends and family. After one bite, we knew we couldn't subject them to the horrors.

                                                      They are definitely no comparison to homemade ones We only wanted to try them to see how they compare to my own homemade gourmet versions.

                                                      They are not worth the calories or money.

                                                      1. Chococoa Baking Company in Newburyport!! www.chococoabaking.com They specialize in what they call "The Whoopie" -- chocolate with vanilla, raspberry, espresso or peppermint cream and pumpkin with ginger cream (my personal fave!). Bite-sized, rich chocolate cake -- yummy! The Newburyport location is a quaint cafe, but I know that they are now carried in some specialty stores...also recently featured on Chronicle.

                                                        1. I actually had a pretty good Whoopie Pie at Fratelli's Bakery in Quincy recently. Just a run of the mill pie, but it sure hit the spot. They also make mimi pies as well. A good taste from the past.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: CocoDan

                                                            LOVE the eclairs & half moons there! I'll have to make a Fratelli's run soon!

                                                          2. The best I've ever had (other than homemade) are Cranberry Island Kitchens - filling is made with butter and fluff.

                                                            1. Has anyone tried Pie Guy whoopie pies?


                                                              I'm curious, but haven't been able to find them.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: sqboo

                                                                I've seen them at Pemberton Farms in several flavors.

                                                              2. I used to see Steve's all the time at Harvest in Central:

                                                                I remember enjoying them quite a bit but I may not know what I'm talking about. I've seen them around a few other places as well.

                                                                1. You know, I never did get the appeal of Whoopie Pies. Can someone explain?