Of all the treats that I buy and enjoy in Amish Indiana—and there are plenty—one of my favorites is the “whoopie pie.”
“What is a whoopie pie,” you ask? According to Wikipedia, it is “a U.S. baked good that may be considered either a cookie, pie, or cake. It is made of two round mound-shaped pieces of chocolate cake, or sometimes pumpkin or gingerbread cake, with a sweet, creamy filling or frosting sandwiched between them.” Yeah, that describes it pretty well. Yum.
Wikipedia goes on to say that the origin of the name is uncertain, but they are a New England and Pennsylvania Amish tradition, probably brought over from Germany by the Amish. Women would make them from cake batter leftovers and put them in their husbands’ lunch pails or lunch boxes. The whoopie pie is the official state treat of Maine (not to be confused with Maine’s official state dessert, which is blueberry pie). I’ll bet you didn’t know that.
As with most food items, the quality varies, and the fresher, the better. The best whoopie pies I’ve ever had were baked by the teenage daughter of one of my Amish friends. She knew I loved them, so she made them whenever she knew I was coming—and sent me home with a plateful. Now she’s in her twenties and married with a home of her own. I miss those whoopie pies, so I’ve had to seek out another source for my addiction. The best ones I’ve found are made at Essenhaus Bakery in Middlebury, where they have the basic flavors, and also a “whoopie pie flavor of the month.” The flavor for this past January was mocha, and they were heavenly.
I see online that there is a bakery in Maine that specializes in whoopie pies called www.wickedwhoopies.com. They sell them for $26 a dozen plus shipping. They look pretty good, and pretty true to the Amish Indiana tradition, except the filling is a little thicker, and they have some distinctly non-Amish flavors like “Lip Lick’n Lemon.” They sell regular-sized whoopies, mini-whoopies, and a jumbo, five-pound whoopie. The founder says she has made over four million whoopie pies in fifteen years, and her product was featured on the Oprah show.
Anyway—Should you find yourself in Amish Indiana, why not try something new and different? And if you have a sweet tooth like I do, why not make it a whoopie pie?