Monday, November 28, 2011

Nonnie's Whoopie Pies

Ah, Nonnie’s Famous Whoopie Pies. 

I have to be honest - I had very mixed feelings about this post.  I like acting as though this recipe is top secret and the only person privy to it is me.  That’s not entirely true of course and I’m sure there are millions of recipes out there just like this.  What makes this special is that my grandmother, Nonnie Connie, has been making them for forever.  She makes them whenever all of us get together, for a special occasion or not.  See to her, just seeing her family is a special occasion so whoopie pies - they're always there.  Every memory I have of her includes these amazing sweet sandwiches and I was so thrilled to finally learn how to make them.   

These are SO special to me that I actually had our caterer, Blue Plate, make them for our wedding.  We couldn’t possibly have a family gathering without them and forcing Nonnie to make 200 of them seemed relatively unreasonable.  Don’t think it didn't cross my mind, because it did.  Anyway, we had two tastings just to ensure they were perfect.  Even though they were absolutely outsanding and everyone raved about them, no one can make them like Nonnie.  She just adds a little something to them, called Nonnie’s love and no one, no matter how hard they try, could replicate that ingredient.
What’s hilarious is that even though she has been making these for decades, she still uses a recipe and still barely follows it.  Once I actually saw this in person, I had to ask her about it.  You see Jaisa, when you are in your eighties and crazy you just don’t care.  There you have it - the method to her madness, the secret to her success.  Even though this isn’t exactly advice, I’m embracing it as such and applying this philosophy to my twenties.  Look out world.  You’re about to get a whole new generation of crazy up in here.
We started with her pretending to read the recipe.  We went down the list and pulled everything out of the cupboard. 
Baking Powder
Baking Soda

She likes to talk WHILE you're trying to take a picture of her.
This is not her blinking.  This is her smiling with her eyes closed.  I couldn't make this stuff up.

There we go.  Meet Nonnie.

We pulled out the flour...

...and the rest of the dry ingredients.

I think I counted 9 different sets of measuring spoons that were involved in this process.

This was her mixing bowl of choice.  We first added the flour and the sugar and mixed that up well.

She then added the cocoa and mixed.

This is how she measured the salt.  I made fun of her for doing it this way since I always thought you had to measure everything when you baked and so she whipped out a measuring spoon to prove to me that it was exactly 1/2 teaspoon.  She was right.

After you add the rest of the dry ingredients, baking powder and soda, give it a good stir.

Now add your wet ingredients to the batter.  We started with the egg and the oil.


I usually avoid baking because I hate to measure things.  Nonnie sort of threw this notion out the window, especially when it came to the vanilla.  She just sorta dumps some in. 

Ok now add your milk and mix well with a beater.

She lined her cooking sheets with parchment paper for two reasons.  She only has three cookie sheets (I only have two, like most people) so instead of having to wait for them to cool before loading up another batch for the oven, we just picked up the wax paper with the cooked whoopie pie cakes and put them on the counter.  Also, of course, it helps the cakes from sticking.  

She just used an ice cream scoop to measure the cake batter.

This is what they should look like before cooking. Put them in a 350 degree oven for 7 minutes. 

You could probably eat them just like this and be a happy little camper, but the best has yet to come, my friend. 

While the cookies/cake rounds are cooling, whisk milk and flour over medium heat and stir constantly.

You should stir until it looks like this, a nice thick paste.  We brought this outside to cool in the New England November air because it has to be room temperature before you add it to the rest of the filling ingredients.

Add some butter.

Add some Crisco!! Yessss.


After she added sugar to the bowl, I got a shot of her accidentally putting the sugar bowl lid on the mixing bowl.  So this is where I get it from.

This made me laugh out loud.  This is "two teaspoons" of vanilla.  This was more like 3 tablespoons.  It clearly doesn't matter that she just dumps it in because they always come out perfect, albeit a little different each time.

I remember once when I was younger I was playing outside at our house in Maine and she just made a fresh batch of Whoopie Pies.  She offered me one and then studied my face.  Notice anything different? Nonnie asked.  Yes, it tastes like lemons, I responded.  Darn it, I put in lemon extract instead of vanilla and was hoping no one would notice.  See...hilarious.

Pour in the flour/milk paste. 


Beat this on high for 8-10 minutes so filling gets nice and fluffy.

Try not to get the filling all over your clothes.

Yum. Yum. Yum.  I snuck about 10 finger licks of this stuff.  Pure pillowy heaven.  So the recipe she makes is for double filling.  When I was younger (like last year sometime) she caught me in the kitchen lifting all of the cakes up to eat the filling.  From that point on she doubled it just to compensate for my grazing.  Nonnie is so good to me and such an enabler.

It was hard to photograph this because she moves so darn fast, but here she is putting the filling in.

Make sure to try to match the lid as best as you can to the bottom half since some will be a little bigger than others.

Give them a light squish so the top adheres to the filling.

Then, take a huge bite.  These are seriously too legit to quit.  

When we decided we were going to spend Thanksgiving in the Cape this year, I knew I had to pin her down so she could pass the magical torch to me.   The two hours I spent in the kitchen with her entailed lots of laughter and pure hysterics.  She’s one of the sharpest and funniest people I know and also a complete lunatic.  I considered this time with her priceless and am so glad I could share this very special memory with her, and now you.

Nonnie Connie's Whoopie Pie Recipe
2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Cocoa
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 - 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Canola or Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Milk
1 Egg
1 Tsp Vanilla

6 Tbs Flour
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Butter
3/4 Cup Shortening
2 Tsp Vanilla
1 Pinch Salt

Mix dry ingredients for cakes first.  Add wet ingredients and mix well with hand beater.  Drop on parchment paper lined cookie sheets with ice cream scoop.  Bake on 350 degrees for 7 minutes.  For filling, start by whisking flour and milk constantly over medium heat until thick paste forms.  Let paste cool to room temperature. Add remaining filling ingredients including paste into mixing bowl and mix on high until filling becomes fluffy, about 8 - 10 minutes.  Let cakes cool and then add filling by spoonful.  Try to match up bottoms with tops as best as possible.  This recipe made 21 whoopie pies.  Make extra - these go fast!


  1. Made me laugh, made me cry, made me Hungry.

  2. Made me laugh, made me cry, made me Hungry

    i wish I said it first...Aunt M

  3. Me too, me too, me too.
    Nonnie Connie is from Generation "Real" :)


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!