This is it. The real deal. Big and thin and deep chocolate-y. Chewy and marshmallow cream-y. Perfect. Here’s a whole stack of them, in case you’re hungry.
About five years ago we traveled with old friends, Jen and Bryan, to Jen’s dad’s childhood home on the coast of Maine, U.S.A., near Arcadia National Park. As you may already know, Maine (not Starbucks) is the birthplace of the whoopie pie. At the beginning of the trip, on our drive up from Portland to the little house by the sea, Bryan stopped at Gott’s Store, a gas station in Southwest Harbor – for one reason – and one reason alone. Gott’s is where one finds the granddaddy of the whoopie pie.
Here they are, all dolled up.
When Bryan opened up that styrofoam box of love, Chris and I were hooked. For the rest of the vacation, as we biked the carriage trails that wind through Arcadia, or walked to the neighborhood lobster pound for our third helping of lobster for the day, a little something something from Gott’s was always nearby. Even on our way out of town, I stopped by Gott’s for one more pie of joy. Sadly, it was too early in the day and the pies were not yet assembled and ready for sale.
From that day forward, I made it a mission to replicate the Gott’s experience. After several attempts, I realized it was the creamy filling that was eluding me. No amount of powdered sugar could turn vegetable shortening into Gott’s whoopie pies.
I finally stumbled upon the recipe of my dreams when the owners of Cranberry Island Kitchen were featured on the Martha Stewart show about three years ago. These ladies offered up their recipe and unveiled marshmallow cream as the missing piece to my whoopie pie puzzle.
I made them – and ate them – immediately. When Jen and Bryan visited our home in the Pacific Northwest shortly after the discovery, I served up these gas station whoopie pies and received their seal of approval. Wicked good.
In subsequent attempts, I have modified the recipe to some degree. I do not always use organic ingredients (shhh…) and most importantly, I do not bake the pies/cakes in specialized muffin tins. I like them best as close to Gott’s as possible. That is, I plop the batter from a medium-sized ice cream scoop onto a cookie sheet lined with greased parchment paper and let it all spread out. It may not be pretty, but you get that thin, chewy crust that keeps Maine on my perpetual radar.
Every once in a while, Chris gets a hankering for a hunk of whoopie pie. This was his request for his birthday last week and per usual, these flat frisbees did not disappoint. I should also note that they get better with age, like someone else I know. (:
Eating one of these pies can be quite a commitment, especially when you haven’t yet experienced Gott’s. For whoopie pie newbies, I also did some more modest cutouts.
They were pretty and certainly a crowd favorite, but something important was lost by cutting off those thin edges. Needless to say, I prefer the whole shebang and was happy to gobble up the cut out remnants. For future efforts, along with the traditional big ones, I plan on using a small ice cream scoop for smaller dollops, in hopes of retaining that chewy edge.
Also, these babies are loaded with sugar and sticky. Despite the stacked photo, above, I would not advise stacking the whoopie pies. They stick like glue to each other. Between gnosh sessions, it’s best to store the pies on parchment paper.
Here’s my modified recipe. In printable form too. Enjoy!
click here for [ PRINTABLE RECIPE ]
Gas Station Whoopie Pies
(adapted from Cranberry Island Kitchen recipe)
1 stick (1/2 c.) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
¾ cup boiling water
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow fluff
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with greased parchment paper (I use baking spray with flour).
2. Cream together butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Add salt, eggs and vanilla, and beat until just combined.
3. In a small bowl, mix together baking soda and buttermilk. Add flour to mixer, alternating with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and boiling water. Add to batter and beat until combined.
5. Using a small or medium ice cream scoop, drop batter onto cookie sheets in rounds, spaced at least one inch apart. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. When done, immediately transfer parchment paper and rounds to drying rack to cool.
6. For the filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium speed, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the marshmallow fluff and vanilla and continue mixing until well combined.
7. When cool, use a piping bag – or spread – a generous amount of filling on the bottom side of one round. Top with another round to form a sandwich. Store between parchment paper in an airtight container for up to three days.