16 September 2006
The Best Whoopie Pies in America!
Do you remember the episode of Seinfeld where Elaine opened a store that only sold muffin tops (leaving a mountain of muffin stumps that even the homeless wouldn’t eat)? Imagine if those muffin tops were made out of delicious moist chocolate cake and two of them were used to sandwich a thick layer of sweet, fluffy, creamy, whipped something. If you still can’t quite imagine it, think Hostess Suzy-Q—only infinitely better.
In late August 2004 I had my first Whoopie Pie when my partner took me to one of his favorite places on earth—Monhegan Island, Maine. The cat is already out of the bag about Monhegan, but it is a place that is so special that we try and play it down. We selfishly don’t want to increase the relatively modest tourist traffic that plies the island in the summer.
This past August we were again privileged to stay on Monhegan. Our lodging of choice is the lovely, unpretentious Monhegan House. With no television, cozy cotton bedspreads, and a large communal bathroom on the second floor, the Monhegan House is the perfect place to get away from metropolitan life (although you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone reading the New York Times). Aside from the sheer beauty of the island, we were most looking forward to the Whoopie Pies available at The Novelty attached to the back of the Monhegan House. The Novelty has the best Whoopie Pies available anywhere in Maine, perhaps the world.
Sue, The Novelty’s master baker, food goddess, and all around wonderful person makes a Whoopie Pie that will knock your socks off. Before we left Monhegan we told Sue we were going to need a half dozen of them to take home with us (why God did we only ask for six?). I emptied out my Dopp kit which has a rigid structure, trying to ensure that they would make the trip unharmed. We were momentarily worried that the TSA might think that the cream in the middle of the Whoopies constituted a gel that would be confiscated before we boarded our flight back to Washington. We vowed to eat every single one before passing through security if necessary. But then we thought that no Mainer, TSA agent or not, would be so cruel as to deprive us of our Whoopie Pies. Although we did imagine a scene that would involve having to bribe one of them with some of our WP booty.
We confirmed Sue’s Whoopie Pie prowess when we spent subsequent days traveling through Maine trying every WP we came across. None of them even came close. Even with my sweet tooth, these lesser WPs went unconsumed after the first bite. We don’t know Sue’s last name, but we do know that she makes the best Whoopie Pies anywhere. She also makes fantastic pizza and amazing oatmeal raisin cookies that have a bit of orange flavor and a hint of salt on the outside.
Although I love to bake, I am not going to attempt to recreate Sue’s WPs at home. No doubt there is more to Sue’s genius than a mere recipe.