New Hampshire

A Belated Whoop

Loyal reader,

I apologize PROFUSELY for the dearth of whoopie pie-related news. I don’t know what I’ve been doing with myself lately…clearly my priorities need some adjusting. Back in December, I went on tour with Irish accordionist John Whelan and Americana powerhouse Low Lily. We had a lot of laughs, good tunes and, you guessed it, some whoopie pies. We picked up two at the White Mountain Café in Gorham, NH. The first featured a rich peanut butter creme. This is what folks had to say:

Flynn Cohen: “OH MY GOD!”

Liz Simmons: “I don’t have much to compare it to because I’m not a big whoopie-pie consumer, but I must say the peanut butter frosting is to die for.”

We waited to sample the second pie until after our gig that night. This was a traditional pie, paired with a selection of bourbon and wine:

John Whelan: “This is the very first whoopie pie I’ve ever eaten. It’s not my favorite kind of whoopie, but it’s really good.”

Corey DiMario: “The icing doesn’t have a real…[thoughtful pause]…it’s no buttercream.”

Lissa Schneckenburger: “I don’t like whoopie pies.” 

There you have it. A very divided panel. From folk music’s finest to your own pantry, this is the Big Whoop signing off until next time!

4 Whoops · Maine

A pie redolent of the sea…

Cote’s Ice Cream—Brunswick, Maine

A sea-flavored heady mix wafted through the forest as we made our way to the isolated beach called Morse Mountain. The two-mile jaunt through the woods—with mosquitos playfully nipping at our heels and turkeys carousing in the meadow—made the place feel like a secret all our own. An afternoon spent by the sea…the laughs and murmurs of three dear companions…even the perfect summer day must come to an end and slowly we made our way back to the sleepy port town I’ve come to know as the home of my beloved.

Our coach came to rest for a brief sojourn in the quaint village of Brunswick. With the mellifluous cajun strains of accordion and fiddle wafting across the town common, it was easy to imagine we had stepped into another time, another place. It was as if we had traipsed into the steamy bayous of Louisiana with alligators lolling in the sun and the inebriating smell of andouille sausage in the pan. But no, tinged with a raucous and infectious Acadian joie de vivre, we could only be in Maine.

We spied a rustic red shed and made our way across the green, lace-frocked girls frolicking to the rousing southern ditties. Greedily and longingly I supplicated to the busty farm girl tending the stand—may I have a honeycombed golden cone crowned with your local delicacy, whoopie-pie ice cream? I exchanged a few crumpled bills and coins for my prize, dripping sticky-sweet down my fingers in the glowing summer sun.

Criss-crossed with veins of marshmallow buttercream and studded with decadent chocolate cake, the perfectly velvety vanilla sweetcream was a flawless backdrop for a whoopie pie. I raised my voice to the heavens and howled not thrice, but four times! This whoopie pie moved me to utter 4 of the loveliest and most gut-wrenching whoops of my career as the world’s premier whoopie-pie reviewer. I hope that someday you too are moved to bellow to the sky in the ecstasy only a whoopie pie can bring.

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2 Whoops · Oregon

A Western Whoop!

It’s a momentous day for sure here at Big Whoop HQ. Today we’re reviewing the very first whoopie pie we’ve sampled outside of New England! Last week I was on tour on the west coast and we played a show in the delightful small town of Ashland, Oregon. Home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and my friend Elias, it’s a beautiful community just north of the California border.

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Ashland has many redeeming qualities

Before our gig, we stopped at Sauce for a wholesome dinner of tempeh/nutritional yeast/sprouted tofu/liquid aminos/yougettheidea. BUT…what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a refrigerator case chock-full-o whoopie pies! The two teen boys we were having dinner had been led to believe that whoopie pies only existed at this establishment. Poor waifs, if only they knew the land of bounty to the east!

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An elusive creature, this west-coast whoopie was both GLUTEN-free and SUGAR-free, two ingredients which I had previously believed to be necessary for a proper whoopie pie. (Spoiler alert: it turns out that they are.) While this little whoopie pie tried as hard as it could, I can in good conscience only award it 2/5 Whoops.

 

3 Whoops · Massachusetts

Guest Blog: S’more Whoopie Pie

Today we feature our first guest blogger on The Big Whoop! Keeping it in the family, I’ve asked my oldest and dearest whoopie pie pal, to weigh in on a recent WP expedition. By day, Dana practices family medicine in the Boston-area but by night, she is whoopie pie aficionado numero uno! Let’s see what she has to say.

by Dr. Dana Marcinkowski-Desmond                                                                                    

One Tuesday vacation night, after a long day of lounging and doing nothing, the boy and I headed downtown for some cocktails. It was a terrible day: the wind was furious, it was just above freezing, and the precipitation alternated between torrential downpour and classic Boston mist. Despite Mother Nature’s attempts to thwart our plans, I was determined to brave the elements and drink some impeccable cocktails whilst enjoying the finest French fries known to humankind. Our destination: Drink.

For the uninitiated, Drink is a craft cocktail bar with no drink menu. I’d gone almost weekly for years, but had recently hadn’t been in ages. Their only failing, as far as I was concerned, had been the lack of dessert on their short food menu. On this frigid April evening, as we strolled in and took our seats, a new friend greeted me from the menu: a s’mores whoopie pie. I was positively giddy.

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Overall, as you can see, this is a good sized pie. We eat ate one, which was certainly a mistake. As a whoopie pie should be, the aesthetics are simple. There is no elegance to the pie, nor should there be. The cake of this pie is a slightly charred graham cracker confection. The filling is a rum soaked marshmallow, slightly toasted, with a drizzle of chocolate sauce. The filling of this cake is, frankly, perfection. The marshmallow is light and flavorful, perfectly toasted –just what you would need in a perfect s’more. I grew up on a marshmallow stuffed pie, and this filling was about as good as it gets. The chocolate sauce was slightly bitter, preventing the marshmallow from being sickly sweet.

Tragically, the cake itself was dry, and slightly lacking in flavor. In combination with the marshmallow and chocolate sauce, I could have sworn I was sitting around a campfire. But no amount of cocktails could cover up the fact that the cake itself probably could have done with less oven time, a little more graham, and far more marshmallow delight.

The deliciousness of the cream allows this pie to get 3/5 whoops!

2 Whoops · New Hampshire

A whoopsie pie

45 Market Street Bakery

Sweet reader,

I’m writing to you from the Seacoast Farmers Market in Exeter, NH this morning. New Hampshire’s seacoast spans a glorious 19 miles and as a bright-eyed young New Hampshirite, I thought there was no place more beautiful in the entire world (salt mountains of Portsmouth notwithstanding.)

My roommate, Rachel, and our friend, Siena, are playing twin fiddles in the background and serenading a passel of delighted farmers and children. Also, can we get #wholehogsausage trending?

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Today, I’m reviewing a whoopie pie from a farmers market vendor—45 Market Street Bakery & Cafe, located in Somersworth, NH. This is a whopper of a whoopie pie, at least 6 inches in diameter at its widest point. They offered the traditional chocolate whoopie pie as well as a pumpkin variety. I went with the chocolate one for consistency’s sake, but this pie did not pass muster. Not only was the cake dry, but it was so thick that the paltry cream in the middle couldn’t possibly atone for the sins of this devil’s food. The filling itself seemed to be a typical buttercream—overly sweet and lacking the lightness necessary to counteract the abundance of cake. 

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I tried to like this pie. I really did. But unfortunately, this whoopie pie receives only 2 out of 5 whoops. 

Massachusetts

The Pie Next Door

Quebrada Bakery—Arlington, Massachusetts

I had a gig last night at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan—imagine a place where railroad barons and the Vanderbilts traded stories about breeding horses and 120 years later, they still think it’s okay to have a servants’ entrance. ANYWAY…after the drive home from New York, I was feeling like a total pleb and decided that the only way to cheer myself up was to embrace the most delightful down-home treat. You guessed it. A whoopie pie.

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A cheerful whoopie pie with friend

I stopped in to Quebrada Bakery this afternoon, at their location in Arlington, MA. It’s owned by the wife of a fiddling friend of mine and is one of my very favorite bakeries in the Boston area. To begin, the cake is one of the best I’ve had—while blandness is one of the common downfalls of whoopie pie cake, this one is very, very chocolatey. In an unusual twist, the bottom cake was baked into a paper wrapper, much like a cupcake.

Unfortunately, the creme is where this whoopie pie fell down a little. While some (my brother, the turncoat, and my boyfriend, Maine’s fallen son) would disagree, I think a pastry is categorically NOT a whoopie pie if the filling is whipped cream. And so it was with this pie; the lightest of creams, sweetened just a tad, and piled high (I would hazard a 1:3:1 cake:cream:cake ratio!)…all for naught.

While this pie had one of the best cakes I’ve ever tasted, and honestly featured some of the best whipped cream this side of the Charles River, I sadly must disqualify this pastry for not falling within standard Whoopie Pie practice (SWPP).

4.5 WHOOPS!!! · Maine

A Journey to Whoopie Pie Mecca

Labadie’s Bakery—Lewiston, Maine

To begin, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your overwhelming support. We’ve already had readers in Canada, Australia, the UK and inexplicably, we had 5 views in Switzerland in the wee hours of the morning! Wilkomme, my Swiss friends. I hope the humble whoopie pie can enchant you half as much as a chäs-chüechli!

This morning, I took a beautiful drive north to Lewiston, ME to sample the legendary whoopie pie from Labadie’s Bakery. These guys are so good, their website is www.whoopiepies.com. Someone was thinking ahead in 1997, amirite?? Anyway, Labadie’s lays claim to being Maine’s original whoopie pie, and indeed, America’s original whoopie pie. In televised combat with the Amish of Pennsylvania—who also claim ownership over the original WP—Labadie’s was declared winner. Thus, it was with great anticipation that I opened the door to this landmark, located in the ethnic neighborhood of “Little Canada”.

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Labadie’s has been around since 1925 and is a no-frills operation. They get right down to business. Dear reader, this is the pie that dreams are made of.

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The cake: A slightly crunchy dome, dusted with powdered sugar, gives way to the lightest of chocolate cakes. The edges are crusty and give a lovely contrast in texture to the lightness of both the cake and the filling. (A note: the vanilla whoopie pie pictured above was not sampled. An investigation will be mounted at a later date.)

The creme: a generous filling of creme gives this pie a 1:1:1 ratio of cake to creme to cake. Fluffy and not overly sweet, this classic shortening creme is the perfect partner to this cake.

We award a coveted 4.5/5 Whoops to Labadie’s Bakery!!