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!

3 Whoops · Maine

Scandal in York: Two for One!!

Stonewall Kitchen—York, Maine

Today, I stopped in at the Stonewall Kitchen Company Store in York, Maine. Right off the highway, the company store is a shrine to jams, sauces, and baking mixes. At the store cafe, they serve a range of pastries, soups, sandwiches, coffee, and most importantly, a whoopie pie with a dark secret. It retails for $2.25.

The cake: This pie came wrapped in cellophane which helped the cake retain moisture, but made it a little gummy on the outside. Very soft and fluffy, the cakes are reminiscent of birthday cake. I generally like my whoopie pies to be just a little firmer with some crunch to the cake, but this was solid for a wrapped-up pie.

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The creme: While enjoyable and with a strong vanilla flavor, when I asked about the creme recipe I was somewhat distraught to learn that the Stonewall Kitchen Cafe uses a pre-made creme from Bake’n Joy, a company that mass-produces 30-pound tubs of scoop and bake products!! For a company that presents itself as something of a luxury brand this seemed HIGHLY unusual and perhaps even mildly duplicitous! While I’ve enjoyed many a mass-produced whoopie pie in my day, the taste of integrity is even sweeter.

Disillusioned, I wandered into the company store and discovered that they sold a boxed mix. It cost $8.95, made 11 pies, and took about an hour to make from start to finish when I got home. Looking at the ingredients on the package, I was pleased to see that there weren’t preservatives, or really any ingredients that a home baker wouldn’t have on hand.

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The cake: Nothing beats a fresh from the oven, cooled whoopie pie cake. It’s still moist, but dome of the cake and edges are still a little crunchy! This cake fulfilled its role with great aplomb. There’s a little bit of a aftertaste, which I discovered comes from dehydrated coffee in the mix. A lovely note!

The creme: Not sure if my butter got too soft or I mis-measured the milk, but I found that I had to add extra confectioner’s sugar to the mix that was provided in order to achieve the correct consistency. Thanks to my friend Glen for selflessly contributing his sugar to the cause! The filling ended up being very sweet, possibly as a result of the extra sugar, and was a basic buttercream that tasted more like frosting than a whoopie pie filling. This creme was tasty, but perhaps doesn’t stand up to a proper whoopie pie creme.

At the end of the day, Stonewall Kitchen provided me with two tasty whoopie pies, but nothing that really stood-out. Both the cafe whoopie pie and homemade mix receive 3/5 whoops.

3 Whoops · 3.5 Whoops · Maine

The Maiden Pie

The Cookie Jar—Cape Elizabeth, ME                               

I was cruising over to Fort William for an afternoon walk with Neil when we decided we needed a snack. His choice, tom yum soup. Mine, the clear winner!

The Cookie Jar is an old-school bakery, in operation since the 1950s. It looks like the kind of bakery that my grandparents would feel comfortable in—unpretentious, with time-tested recipes. They’re not touting organic flour or local ingredients, but care and quality is the name of the game nonetheless. Most famous for their doughnuts, their large whoopie pies go for $3.19 and the mini-whoopie pies are $1.89. The Cookie Jar sells a standard whoopie pie—chocolate cake with vanilla creme.

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The filling: A classic Maine shortening creme, with just a little crunch of granulated sugar. Sweet and fluffy and just right. The ratio of creme to cake was perfect in the mini-whoopie pie, though in the large whoopie-pie I wouldn’t have minded a little more creme!

The cake: The cake was a little dry on this pie. The edges were chewy in a lovely caramelized sugar kind of way, but overall, the cake didn’t quite live up to the creme. I had the large whoopie pie at 3:30 pm, which may account for the dryness. I tried the mini-whoopie pie at 12:30 pm and it definitely was a little more moist.

To conclude, the Cookie Jar’s large whoopie pie receives 3/5 whoops and the mini-whoopie pie receives 3.5/5 whoops!