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Chocolate Whoopie Pies – the agony and the ecstasy

Events, Small Cakes | 12th October 2011 | By

A date, a date, I had a date with Dan Lepard. Well to be strictly fair, Dan Lepard had a date with the Eden Project. Not wanting to miss this opportunity to get my recent purchase of Dan’s new baking book signed by the man himself, I booked a day off work. Dan was to be a guest at the Eden Project’s Harvest Food Festival where he was to open their new bakery and give a demo.

The book in question is the much heralded Short & Sweet: the best of home baking. I was rather on tenterhooks as to whether the book would arrive before the big day; it was due to be published on Super Thursday and I needed it for the following Monday 3rd October. But arrive it did and not only in time to get it signed, but also time to have a go at baking something from it. What a delight to read, so many inspiring recipes and lots of really good tips and techniques: it’s a proper cook’s book. There were so many intriguing ideas to explore, I wanted to get stuck in straight away. But, when I saw the entry for Chocolate Whoopie Pies, I knew my moment of destiny had arrived.  I’d been feeling I ought to have a go at them ever since they came onto the scene a couple of years ago, but for some reason I hadn’t yet got around to making any, so I …….

  • Melted 75g unsalted butter in a pan over low heat with 75g dark chocolate (81%) and left to cool slightly.
  • Using a hand held whisk, beat 1 duck egg with 175g dark brown sugar until thick, pale and doubled in volume.
  • Beat in the butter mixture together with 50ml milk and 75g creme fraiche. Original recipe stated 25ml milk and 125g sour cream, but my creme fraiche is home made and very thick.
  • On re-reading the recipe I realised I should have added a tsp of vanilla extract at this point – oops!
  • Sifted in 250g flour (half wholemeal, half white), 25g cocoa and 3/4 tsp bicarb of soda.
  • Stirred until just combined, then spooned walnut sized blobs onto a large lined (with my silicone mat) baking tray, spacing them well apart.
  • Flattened them down a little with wet fingers (Dan’s tip).
  • Baked at 180C for 13 mins.
  • Removed (successfully – think I’ve got the hang of this silicone mat business now) onto a wire rack to cool.
  • Repeated the process – making 40 half pies in total.
  • Melted 100g marshmallows in a pan over a gentle heat with 25 ml milk.
  • Removed from heat and whisked until smooth. Left to cool slightly (but not so long that it would set).
  • Creamed 125g unsalted butter until fluffy then beat in the marshmallows.
  • Sifted 100g icing sugar with 25g cocoa powder and added about 2 tbsp water until I had a spreadable consistency (Dan’s recipe used twice the amount of icing sugar and cocoa, but I thought this would be enough).
  • Sandwiched the half pies together with the marshmallow butter to make 20 pies and  spread some chocolate icing on top – luckily, I had just the right amount.

Never having had a whoopie pie before, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. Mine may or may not, therefore, be typical, but they certainly ended up looking absolutely nothing like the ones in the book. I didn’t use a piping bag for a start. My attempts may look rather rough and ready, but I thought they still looked appealing in a home spun sort of way. They were deeply chocolatey and the lack of vanilla didn’t really impact on their tastiness and they weren’t too sweet either. The marshmallow cream was delicious but it had a rather gloopy consistency until it set properly. It did make a good contrast to the rich chocolate pies and the chocolate icing gave an additional chocolate hit, as well as adding a note of sweetness to proceedings. These were indeed a cross between a biscuit and a cake, crisp on the outside and cakey soft on the inside. CT thought these were drier than a cupcake but moister than a biscuit. He got all nostaligic when it came to the icing, which reminded him of the bought cupcakes he had as a kid. Amazingly these lasted a full week and got better as they aged. They also got a big thumbs up from both my mother and a friend, so although these were rather a faff to make, they were worth the effort and made for a fun bake.

As for my date, he stood me up! My carefully wrapped whoopie pie withstood the journey and arrived at Eden in one piece in full anticipation of being tried by the great man himself. Events took another turn, however; Dan’s plane was cancelled and he was unable to get to Cornwall. The pie had to make do with being eaten by CT and myself.

Can you wait to get your hands on a copy of this book? All I can say is be patient. Watch this space and in the next couple of days or so all will be revealed.

31 Comments

  1. Dom at Belleau Kitchen

    12th October 2011 at 6:51 am

    I’m meeting Dan in London in November courtesy of Vanessa Kimbell and I cannot wait!! I need to purchase this book ASAP as so many people have raved about now. I must say these whoopee pies look stunning!!

    Reply
  2. MissCakeBaker

    12th October 2011 at 7:15 am

    Have heard such good things about the book. The whoopie pies look delicious! Sorry you didn’t get to meet him.

    Reply
  3. Laura@howtocookgoodfood

    12th October 2011 at 10:00 am

    Not yet have I got around to making any whoopie pies. Now that I have seen yours, I really must.
    Dan Lepard’s latest book does sound brilliant too! x

    Reply
  4. Emmyw

    12th October 2011 at 10:39 am

    These whoopie pies look delicious! I’ve always been aprehensive about adding extras to my basic whoopie pie mix incase the cocoa for example dries them out too much! These look fantastic though – will have to try them out!

    Thanks!

    Reply
  5. Sushma Mallya

    12th October 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Wow those look so mouthwatering and good….hmmm just love to pick them up and bite into them …lovely:)

    Reply
  6. A Trifle Rushed

    12th October 2011 at 12:29 pm

    They look wonderful, what a shame about the plane! But at least you had the yummy whoopee pies to eat.

    Reply
  7. Kath

    12th October 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Oh man! What a disappointment. I am sure the whoopie pies made up for it though. They look like they might have done.

    Reply
  8. Suelle

    12th October 2011 at 12:48 pm

    What a disappointment for you, but the whoppie pies look lovely. I’ve never tried making anyone’s whoppie pie recipe, so can’t comment on what they are supposed to look like, but if it’s Dan’s recipe they will certainly taste good!

    Reply
  9. Karen S Booth

    12th October 2011 at 1:01 pm

    I remember that day, such a shame, but never mind – the whoopie pies look amazing and you will get to meet him again I am sure! That book looks great, just looked on Amazon, must add it to my Christmas list.
    Karen

    Reply
  10. manu

    12th October 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Sounds so yummy!!LOL

    Reply
  11. Lucie

    12th October 2011 at 7:35 pm

    They look sensational!! I have never made Whoopie pies – I must recify that soon! Shame about Dan! Lucie x

    Reply
  12. Ren Behan

    12th October 2011 at 6:54 pm

    These looks so cute. I have only ever made whoopies pies once before and I have to say they are actually very hard to make! Yours look super and I’m sure, baked to a Dan Lepard recipe (my book is on its way) were delicious! So sorry that you didn’t get to meet Dan, I met him at Vanessa’s launch of Prepped! and he was charming. Not to rub it in…

    Reply
  13. Kate@whatkatebaked

    12th October 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Ah, how disappointing Choclette. But I’m so so impressed you made whoopie pies!! I’ve been meaning to order Dan’s book from Amazon- I’ve heard so many good things and love the weekly Guardian column.

    Reply
  14. thelittleloaf

    12th October 2011 at 7:20 pm

    I’m going to put it out there…I think Short & Sweet is the best baking book I’ve ever bought. All the recipes I’ve tried from it so far have been awesome, and Dan Lepard is such an inspiration. I’ve not yet attempted the whoopie pies but definitely need to try soon – I love all the different variations he includes too.

    Reply
  15. Susan's blog

    12th October 2011 at 7:49 pm

    A thing of tasty beauty basking in the Cornish sun, one of those and all is well again. x

    Reply
  16. JavelinWarrior

    12th October 2011 at 10:10 pm

    These look scrumptious and if they’re any indication of what’s between of cover of Mr. Lepard’s book, then waiting with baited breath seems the only option 😉 Wow, I need a cookie now!

    Reply
  17. Katie

    13th October 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Your whoopie pies look gorgeous and very indulgant. What a shame you didn’t get to meet Dan. Hopefully you’ll get a chance in the future.

    Reply
  18. Anne

    13th October 2011 at 3:34 pm

    This reminds me that I still havn’t gotten around to trying a whoopie pie!

    I think they look fab little beasts, will have to make a batch for work as am sure would be very popular!

    Reply
  19. celia

    13th October 2011 at 7:56 pm

    What a chocolate treat! I’m sorry you didn’t get to meet Dan though.. 🙁

    Reply
  20. Baking Addict

    13th October 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Got the book on my wishlist. Such a shame you didn’t get to meet him. Your whoopie pies look great. I’ve only made them once but really should try them again.

    Reply
  21. Hazel

    14th October 2011 at 5:10 pm

    I think these look great! I’ve never seen them iced before but I love the idea. I always thought of whoopie pies as something in between biscuits and cakes!

    Reply
  22. Chele

    14th October 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Choclette! What a shame he stood you up, my heart fell at that point … although it leaped with joy at the thought of eating a chocolate whoopie pie ;0)

    Reply
  23. Lady Chutney

    14th October 2011 at 5:52 pm

    These whoopie pies look delicious. I have never tasted one so that is now on my to do list – eat a whoopie pie preferably one that looks as lovely as yours.

    Reply
  24. Choclette

    14th October 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Dom – yes it’s looking like I might miss him again. Not sure I can make 18th although will be at Birmingham Bite&Write on 19th.

    MCB – Thanks. It is a particularly good book.

    Laura – Thank you. Can’t praise Dan’s book highly enough.

    Emmy – I’m impressed you’ve got a basic whoopie pie mix 😉

    Sushma – lovely to here for you and thank you for being so nice.

    A Trifle Rushed – chocolate is always such good conciliation 😉

    Kath – I was rather miffed if truth be told.

    Suelle – Thank you. Ha ha, there’s confidence in Dan’s recipe and then confidence in my baking of it 😉

    Karen – thank you. Hopefully one day. Are you seeing him on 18th?

    Manu – thank you.

    Ren – thank you for saying you didn’t find them easy either – that makes me feel better. You’ll love the book when you get it I’m sure.

    Kate – one must just carry on – sigh 😉 The book is a baker’s delight.

    LittleLoaf – think I’m inclined to agree with you. Wondering what you’ve made. had better stop wondering and come and have a look.

    Lucie – thank you and lovely to hear from you.

    Susan – a thin of beauty might be going a bit far, but I appreciate the sentiment 😉

    Javelin Warrior – you have a chance now – 3 copies up for grabs 🙂

    Katie – thank you. They were indulgent, but we were very good and they lasted a week. I shall be crossing fingers I’ll get another chance.

    Anne – I suspect they;d be very popular at work – feeling guilty now for not making some to take in!

    Celia – thank you. I was sorry indeed, but maybe I’ll get another chance.

    Baking Addict – maybe you’ll get lucky in my giveaway. Will be coming over shortly to check out your whoopie pies.

    Hazel – now you come to mention it, I’m not sure I’ve seen them iced before either :-S

    Lady Chutney – you are very kind. I’ve no idea what they are meant to taste like, but these were very good, if rather fiddly to make.

    Chele – I was rather gutted 🙁

    Reply
  25. Cakefairyblog

    15th October 2011 at 9:55 am

    These just look delicious! fudgey and yummy! I hadn’t thought of putting icing on top – great idea x

    Reply
  26. vanillalemonade.com

    16th October 2011 at 11:11 am

    I love the Chocolate Cap! That extra layer gives a sinfulness that all chocolate yearns for!!

    Reply
  27. Corina

    16th October 2011 at 11:54 am

    I’ve never made or tried whoopie pies before either but these look lovely.

    Reply
  28. Choclette

    16th October 2011 at 12:02 pm

    CakeFairy – you can trust Dan to do something a little different 😉

    VanillaLemonade – well indeed, chocolate without sin doesn’t sound in the least bit tempting.

    Corina – thank you. They were very good and worth a try.

    Reply
  29. Johanna GGG

    16th October 2011 at 1:16 pm

    sounds like a disappointment dan couldn’t turn up but am glad he could send some consolation in the form of a recipe – and am pleased to hear a big tick for your first recipe from the book – must look out for it in our bookstores

    Reply
  30. Wendy@The Omnivorous Bear

    17th October 2011 at 4:49 am

    Oh what wonderful whoopie pies! Shame you didn’t get to meet Dan – he’s one of my favourites!

    Reply
  31. Maggie

    17th October 2011 at 6:51 am

    Dan’s recipe must have been a lot better than the one I used because mine ended up in the bin!
    Yours look very successful and I love all that topping!

    Reply

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