The Whoopie Pie cookbook has 21 cake, 29 filling recipes and 20 photos. I have some issues with the book, but the recipes are crucial, so I started baking. First, I made the Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pie recipe. I made them a bit larger than the two inch diameter noted in the recipe. The cakes are really good, with the texture a cross between a cake and a cookie. Since it is summer, my intention is to use them to make ice cream sandwiches. I baked the batch and then froze them so they can be used as needed for a quick snack or dessert.
Next, I made the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies and the Classic Cream Cheese filling. The pairing is perfect and both recipes are delicious. I froze the extra pies and have the filling in the fridge, ready to prepare a pie or two. I also decided to sample a couple of the fillings, so I prepared the Tiramisu Cream and Coconut Cream. Both are excellent and either will work well with the Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pie.
While baking I discovered that if truly round whoopee pies are the goal, be careful when dropping the batter from the spoon/scoop onto the baking sheet. If the lump is oblong, the cookie will be oddly shaped, too. I tried to use a cookie scoop, but the batter is so soft it didn't work well without first chilling the batter for 15 minutes.
The recipe gives a time for the pies, after baking, to rest on the cookie sheet before attempting to remove them. Heed this time carefully, in fact, set a timer because if they stay on the sheet or parchment paper too long, they adhere themselves to it and are difficult to remove without breaking. Conversely, if removed while too hot from the oven, they are fragile and easily damaged.
The simple drawings found throughout the cookbook are very similar to some of my vegetarian/natural food cookbooks from the 1970's - Enchanted Broccoli Forest is one that immediately comes to mind. These hand-drawn illustrations, while fitting in a natural vegetarian cookbook, seem a bit out of place in a decidedly unhealthy cookie cookbook. Perhaps whimsy was the goal or a retro feel?
Other reviewers have complained about the brown pages, small sized fonts and white and pink ink, I agree. The light colored ink is something I am seeing more and more in cookbooks. I assume the publisher is trying to make it difficult to photocopy the recipes, and that may effectively disarm a potential thief, but it also causes difficulty for the people who actually purchased the book.
The cover of a book must grab a reader's interest, but I wish publishers would leave their style concerns right there -- on the cover. Cookbooks are tools, and although they don't need to be unattractive, the pages should be easy to read from a standing position while the book is on the kitchen counter, otherwise the user is wasting time and could potentially make mistakes. They should be designed with the user in mind and have decent sized fonts in black ink, with lots of photographs of the finished recipes. Obviously, lots of photographs in a book like this one, where everything ends up looking like a Whoopie Pie isn't an issue, as it would be with other cookbooks. Twenty photographs are plenty.
Twenty-one cake recipes would produce a very slim volume, but separating the fillings and cakes gave the book more weight - unfortunately that decision causes inconvenience for the user having to jump from the cake recipe to a selected filling. The separate cake and filling recipes provide endless combinations, and although some are obvious, suggestions from the authors would have been a welcome addition. After all, they prepared each and every recipe and undoubtedly experimented with different cakes and fillings the user might not think to try.
The recipes I prepared worked well. The book is cute and like most specialty cookbooks, for the right recipient, it will make a nice gift.