Recently, I had a disappointing experience with the chocolate whoopie pie recipe from Baked Explorations. But just a couple of days later, I noticed that the online version of the New York Times had a slideshow of Valentine's Day desserts, and one of them was a whoopie pie recipe adapted from Zingerman's Bakehouse. I have a distinct memory of seeing this recipe and reading the accompanying article when they were published in 2009, but for the life of me, I'm not sure why I didn't try the recipe back then. It must have escaped my attention that the recipe is from Zingerman's. I have the greatest respect for the Zingerman's empire, and when I saw the recipe again in the slideshow, I knew I had to give it a try.
You can put together the batter in just a few minutes. You cream together room temperature butter and brown sugar, add an egg and vanilla, and then alternately add buttermilk and the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt). The batter was nice and thick and kept its shape when scooped (the recipe says to scoop out 1/4 cup mounds of batter, but I didn't want to make enormous pies, so I used a #24 scoop, and I was able to get 12 smaller pies that were 3.5 inches in diameter).
standard whoopie pie recipe from epicurious, it turns out that the cake recipes are identical.
The filling is a swiss buttercream made from egg whites, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt. The filling is almost identical to the filling for the Baked Explorations whoopie pies. (I should mention, however, that although the Zingerman's recipe says to whisk and heat the egg whites and sugar in a double boiler to 180 degrees, I only took them to about 165 degrees; that is high enough for food safety purposes, and I could smell the egg whites starting to cook and didn't want to risk heating them any further.)
So I guess the Zingerman's whoopie pie recipe isn't new to me after all, but simply a new combination of different chocolate cake and filling recipes that I've tried separately before. I can't decide if I like the buttercream filling or the marshmallow filling (the epicurious recipe has a marshmallow filling) better with these pies -- both are good. But I definitely know which cake recipe I'm sticking with!
Recipe: "Whoopie Pies," adapted from Zingerman's Bakehouse, printed in the March 18, 2009 New York Times.