Thanksgiving Recipes: Whoopie Pies from 1789 Pastry Chef Mallory Staley

Get a jump on Turkey Day desserts. These sweet sandwiches can be made days in advance.

Whoopie pies are a tradition in chef Mallory Staley’s family. Photograph by Erik Uecke

Pastry chef Mallory Staley whips up playful riffs on classic confections for 1789 Restaurant—think spiced pumpkin crème brûlée with beer gelée and toasted marshmallow—but when it comes to her family Thanksgiving, it’s all about tradition. One sweet that’s guaranteed to be on the table every year: Grandma’s whoopie pies. These crowd pleasers can be assembled two to three days in advance, though you could make the pie batter and filling a week ahead and finish the treats just before guests arrive.

Whoopie pies from Mallory Staley, 1789

Makes 8 to 10 regular-size whoopie pies

Whoopie Pies
¾ cup whole milk
¼ cup white vinegar
1 cup hot water
1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
4 cups flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup butter, cubed and at room temperature
¼ cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
¼ cup whole milk
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Make the pies: Create sour milk by combining the milk and white vinegar in a bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes, then add the cup of hot water.

In a bowl or stand mixer, cream the shortening and sugar at medium speed. Add eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated.

Combine the dry ingredients in separate bowl. In the bowl with the shortening mixture, alternate adding a cup of dry ingredients and a half-cup of sour milk mixture at a time. Beat on medium speed after each addition until it is incorporated.

Grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Using an ice cream scoop or a piping bag, drop 3 to 4 tablespoons of dough onto the pan, forming a rough ball. Bake, rotating the pan about halfway through, about 10 to 12 minutes, or until the tops are firm and springy but not browned. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let cool.

Make the filling: Combine butter, flour, vanilla, and milk in a bowl or stand mixer. Beat on high speed until smooth.

Add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, beating on high until smooth after each addition.

Spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons of icing onto one cake and place another over it, flat-side down, making a sandwich.

Cakes can be covered and kept at room temperature or in the fridge for about three days.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.