Reading Group Whoopie!
by Gesine Bullock-Prado
At 10:45, just as George Michael’s “Sports Machine” was finishing up on Virginia’s
channel five, members of a clandestine society would filter into my college living
room, students of Mr. Jefferson’s University all and each bearing an offering of
Moon Pies and a bumper of Colt 45. At 11pm, when the strains of the Star Trek:
Next Generation theme song squeezed themselves from the mono speaker of my crappy
t.v., a hush fell over the room as we nibbled, sipped and fell under the spell of
Captain Picard and his travails with the Borg or poor Data struggling under the
influence of human emotion. These were heady things, made more memorable with
the inclusion of our ritual treats.
I’ll be honest with you. I don’t know what spurred on the specifics
of our ritual meal. I’m hard pressed to tell you what’s tasty about a Moon
Pie. I’d never gone out of my way to eat one on any other occasion.
And the Colt 45, forget about it. I want to. But the combination of elements,
the Star Trek, the cardboard sandwich cookie and the malt liquor, made for a beloved
communion of friends that we’ll cherish forever.
Now an adult, a professional baker with access to a better selection of alcoholic
beverages, I’ve reimagined my youthful gathering: A book that brings friends
together instead of Roddenberry, a generous glass of juicy Pinot Noir
in place of the Colt 45 and a luscious, spongy, fluff filled homemade chocolate
Whoopie Pie in the shrink-wrapped Moon Pie’s stead.
So I’d like to share this recipe with fellow book lovers so that your next literary
gathering may be infused with Whoopie goodness. Enjoy!
Chocolate Whoopie Reading Group Pies
(makes 2 dozen sandwiches or 6 sandwiches and 1 large whoopie)
For Chocolate Whoopies:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups non-fat buttermilk
¾ cup hot coffee
½ a bar (or 2 ounces) of Ghirardelli 4 oz bittersweet premium baking bar, cut into
small pieces and melted in the coffee
Preheat oven to 350 (convection) or 375 (traditional)
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and set
Add chocolate to coffee and set aside for it to melt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Scrape down bowl and add eggs one at a time. Mixing until fully incorporated.
Combine buttermilk and coffee and alternate this mixture with the flour mixture
until all elements are incorporated. Whisk quickly on high to insure perfect
On a parchment lined cookie sheet and using a large ice cream or cookie scoop, place
cookies onto parchment lined baking pans, 12 per pan. Bake for 15 minutes
or until the cake springs back when gently touched.
Pipe a generous dollop of Marshmallow Fluff or Seven-Minute Icing (recipe to follow)
onto half the Whoopies and sandwich with the remaining cookies. These will
keep up to 2 days in an airtight container.
For Seven Minute Frosting:
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 egg whites
In a heavy saucepan, combine 1 ½ cups sugar, corn syrup and water and heat over
medium until (1) sugar has melted and (2) reaches 230 degrees on a candy thermometer.
This can take from 5 to 10 minutes.
In a mixing bowl with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites with the salt and vanilla
until you reach soft peak stage. Slowly add the remaining ¼ cup sugar.
Add the molten sugar mixture the instant it has reached temperature while the mixer
is on medium speed. Make sure to pour the syrup down the side of the bowl
so that it doesn’t splatter and it’s incorporated more gently (i.e. doesn’t scramble
your eggs). Beat until the fluff is cool, thick, very stiff and shiny.
This can take up to 10 minutes. Sometimes more!
Visit our Wine by the Book!
for Pinot Noir suggestions to accompany your Reading Group Whoopie!
Visit with Gesine Bullock-Prado in her 1-On-One.
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