Is it possible that we beat the French to a trend?
Of course whoopie pies have been a favorite on the East Coast since the 20s, but only recently reached “trendy” status. In fact earlier this year, the whoopie pie was named the official dessert of the state of Maine! Does California have an official dessert? Maybe I should convene a panel to pick one…
At any rate, I subscribe to the Newsletter for a French children’s magazine, Milk. Initially, I hoped it was a way to help me retain all that French I studied in college for my minor. Now, it has become a source of inspiration. I have never actually seen a copy of the magazine itself here in the states, but Jordan, of Oh Happy Day, mentioned in a recent post that she has happened upon it in San Fran.
In the latest newsletter from Milk, I noticed that they have jumped on the whoopie pie band wagon. Or, perhaps its more of a bakers truck. I was frankly a little surprised that these sweet, and pint-sized, cakes hadn’t become the craze in Europe that they had here sooner. I mean if there is one thing that the French do well, its desserts!
The pies sold at La Grande Epicerie Paris are dubbed “whoopie cakes,” which honestly is probably a more appropriate name. They sell for 3,90 Euros each, which is about $5.61 USD! The most I’ve seen a whoopie pie sell for here in California is $3 so maybe we shouldn’t feel so guilty when we indulge ourselves?! So start the week off right and pick up a little something sweet for yourself today. Smile while you eat it, knowing that not only did you probably spend less than your French counterpart, but you’re one trendy step ahead of her…and I bet she can’t catch you in those heels she’s always wearing!
Our large and spread-out family gets together once a month to celebrate all birthdays that fall in that month. It saves a lot of back and forth since there is almost always something to celebrate with our bunch!
Over the weekend we headed to Grandma’s to celebrate the February babies (Happy Birthday Summer, Nathan, Caitlyn and Lucas!). We typically enjoy potluck style meal. My contribution is almost always dessert. So for February I brought whoopie pies! I made Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies and Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies.
This was my first time trying out the peanut butter recipe. They taste similar to peanut butter cookies. I paired it with milk chocolate frosting. They are simple and not over-powering. Honestly, they aren’t my favorite, but my family seemed to enjoy them. Trying new flavors and combinations is part of the fun of Whoopie Pies though, isn’t it?! What’ll be next?
Last weekend my son had a playdate with a friend from school. The whole family was kindly invited over for dinner as well. Taught never to show up empty-handed, I did what I do best…I baked. Since we also had T-Ball practice earlier that day, I had little more than an hour to throw something together.
I stared at the pantry for about ten minutes. It seemed that I was missing at least one ingredient for every recipe that I considered. Literally, the only recipe that my kitchen could accommodate was that of Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies with milk chocolate frosting.
The Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pie recipe is actually the same as the Vanilla Whoopie Pie recipe, but with the obvious, chocolate chips, added in at the last moment. Since whoopie pies are small, it is best to use mini chocolate chips. Unfortunately I only had only about a 1/2 cup of mini chips. I used regular sized semi-sweets for the other 1/2 cup and they turned out just fine.
I think the best part about this combo is that it’s basically a classic chocolate chip cookie. You really can’t go wrong with these treats and finally I got an enthusiastic response out of my husband. These, he says, are his favorites so far! Mission Accomplished!
I recently hosted a baby shower for one of my nearest and dearest. As she is having a girl, it was hard to exclude pink, but I did my best to balance it out with lots of creams and greens.
Baby showers can easily become a cliché, so I did my best to keep it modern and clean….much like the new parents!
The invites I created on my computer and simply e-mailed them to my local FedEx Kinko’s for printing. I also carved out a stamp using the image of the stork. I stamped it on the envelope so that they coordinated with the homemade invites inside.
Once I had decided on the style of the invite, the rest of the decorations came from there. A diaper cake is a must have at a baby shower, so I made one using one package of size 1 diapers. I covered a cake round with some cute coordinating scrapbook paper and layered my diapers on top. I used a big container of baby powder and a chop stick to hold everything together in the center. I created a bouquet of felt flowers in different sizes to decorate the cake, and topped it with a stork matching the invite.
Since I went in a “Sugar & Spice” direction, I knew immediately that I wanted to have a Candy Bar. Who wouldn’t love to create their own to go bag of their favorite candies in lieu of the traditional party favor?
We had simple finger foods for the guests–Sandwiches, veggies, pita chips, etc–and instead of a traditional cake, in keeping with the finger foods, I made vanilla whoopie pies with strawberry glaze.
Mama got lots of great stuff for the baby and more importantly, we all had the chance to express our heartfelt congratulations to the happy couple and share in the love and excitement of this time in their lives!
One of the great things about Whoopie Pies is that the combinations are endless. You have the cakes…then the frosting…then the potential for glazes, or sprinkles. When I’m trying to come up with something new I think of a favorite flavor and try to do it a new way. When deciding the particulars for a casual baby shower (post to come!) I knew I wanted to include whoopie pies since for a party setting the are a perfect bite-sized, no-utentsil-needed dessert. Since this was for a party, I had to consider color coordination. Nothing says baby girl like pink and nothing says pink like a strawberry glaze.
For the cakes, I used a standard vanilla cake recipe. For the filling, I used store-bought vanilla frosting (not fluffy white…I think it would be too sweet). For color and just enough flavor I made a simple strawberry glaze. Once the pieces the pies together, I very carefully dipped them into the glaze and let them set on a wire rack with some parchment paper underneath to catch any excess glaze.
They not only turned out beautiful, but very light, and just sweet enough. I will definitely make these again! In the Spring they’ll make a great addition to Easter baskets and in the Summer they will be a lovely picnic ready treat!