But I had another reason, aside from any literary pretensions, for being there. A local bakery, Sugar + Sunshine Bakery, was providing freshly baked whoopie pies and I wanted to check them out...as a kind of public service, of course. I have to give them props for making really superb ones.
There were peanut butter-filled whoopie pies...
and the classic white-filled whoopie pies...
Their crumb was perfect - moist, but still cakey, without being in the least dry. I had the peanut butter one. (I really didn't want to be mowed down by book-loving, whoopie pie fanatics, so I only tried that flavor - it was the closest one to where I was standing.) The filling was creamy, but not greasy. The peanut butter flavor was pronounced, but not cloying. And there was no crumbling, so they made for very neat eating, which I'm sure the library appreciated.
It’s pretty wonderful that at each of the stops on Weiner’s book tour, the audience will be treated to locally-made whoopie pies. That’s even more reason to admire her.
Today, the appreciative audience included one person who came from Ohio and another who drove 3 hours from Pennsylvania. Weiner’s delightful presentation included hilarious anecdotes from her recent stay in Los Angeles as executive producer of State of Georgia on the ABC Family Network. (She had to explain what that was to her grandmother and why her show wasn’t on the regular ABC network.) She also admitted that everything she ever learned about making a television show she learned from Liz Lemon on 30 Rock.
But back to the food angle - Interestingly, last year Weiner’s book tour featured cupcake giveaways. This year, she changed it up and went with whoopie pies.
To be clear, when I refer to whoopie pie, I mean 2 discs of cake, sandwiched with an icing-like filling. Cupcakes, of course, have been the rage for quite a while, but there are a few reasons to think that the popularity of Whoopie Pies might be on the rise:
Whoopie Pies are much easier to eat than cupcakes. The icing is on the inside, so you don’t have the sticky hand problem (as much).
The ratio of icing (which is on the inside) to cake is much larger than with cupcakes, so each bite of a whoopie pie contains more of the best part – the filling.
You don’t have to deal with bothersome cupcake papers. Each whoopie pie stands on its own.
The NAME – whoopie pie – is much more entertaining than the slightly cutesy “cupcake”.
Whoopie pies have a pleasing flying saucer shape, which makes them suitable for parties about or for aliens.
I mentioned Jennifer Weiner’s own whoopie pie recipe here, and there are MANY great recipes out there to try.
Incidentally, I do know that the classic filling is marshmallow fluff and vegetable shortening, but unless I was making them to put into a time capsule to last 100 years, I would always go with a buttercream or 7 minute icing-type of filling.
I did an informal survey of the whoopie pie recipe landscape out there and here are some of the ones I really want to try:
A yummy inside-out version of a whoopie pie with a chocolate ganache-style filling - Reverse Whoopie Pies
Here are Delish.com’s 7 Best Whoopie Pie Recipes. I wish I had been in on the taste testing.
But some of the best recipes I’ve seen are from Donal Skehan, who had the fabulous idea of mixing nutella and peanut butter for his filling. It doesn’t hurt that he is completely and totally cute. Two of his whoopie pie recipes are here. If you need help un-metricating, drop me a line.
All in all, it was a great day with a captivating author, a good book to look forward to and an excellently executed whoopie pie.