I have a predilection for inappropriate competitiveness that dovetails beautifully with culinary contests. And when our fair’s Whoopie Pie competition ended up on a day I knew I’d have free, there was little chance of me missing it.
I’d been there earlier in the week, and had scoped out the scene of the King Arthur Flour-sponsored contests. I hit the computer for a whoopie pie research and recipe. I liked the concept, suggested by some, that the whoopie pie was sort of a working class macaron, a lovely little confection that’s always seemed entirely too fussy for me to consider making.
Knowing that my talents lie more in the region of presentation and flavor than technical baking, I decided that interesting flavors were the way to go. I love the combo of maple and peanut butter, and thought I’d give it a whirl.
Given that KAF was the sponsor, I based my recipe on theirs. My first try, using butter for the fat, was a failure in that the cookies ran together into flat pancakes.
Luckily, I had time for a second try, when I used organic unhydrogenated shortening to much better, more cookie-shaped, results.
I got to the fair to discover that I was the 10th of 12 contestants to enter the competition. All I could see of the competitors’ was chocolate, and there’s no way to judge a whoopie pie from its appearance, so I sat down to wait and watch the judges with other Ladies Who Enter Fair Contests. Together we tried to determine what the panel’s body language meant, and was it bad or good if your plate’s tag was in a particular position and other such arcane things.
Soon enough the agony was over and I didn’t win a ribbon. When I tried the winners’ entries, I had to agree: a great whoopie pie is cakey and fairly thick; my cookies had great flavor, but were distinctly cookie-ish. So it’s back to research to find a soft and cakey non-chocolate whoopie pie recipe, which doesn’t sound like too bad a winter’s hobby. And in the meantime, here’s a really delicious maple-peanut butter cookie recipe for your fall enjoyment.
Maple-Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
About 9 sandwiches
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets.
1. Whisk together:
- 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2. In a separate bowl, whip until very light:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or natural shortening, softened
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
When very fluffy and well combined, add in:
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 large eggs
- 1 t. vanilla
3. Add dry mixture to wet in three parts, and stir just until combined.
4. Drop batter by the 1/4 cup onto prepared baking sheets. With the back of a spoon spread batter into 4-inch circles, leaving approximately 2 inches between each cake.
5. Bake 15 minutes or until they are firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
6. While cookies are cooling, whip together until combined and fluffy:
- 1/4 cup shortening or butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 cups Marshmallow Fluff
- 2 T. smooth peanut butter
Pipe or spread onto one cookie and top with another and serve.
(And those too-flat cookies from the first batch? I layered them with sliced local plums and mascarpone cheese and brought it to a friends for dinner after weighting it down and letting it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours. Good – like some kind of simple trifle or riff on tiramisu. I would have doused it with sherry or port but thought I’d leave off the alcohol as if my kids would eat it anyway. Right.)