Katy Elliott

A daily design journal about new england life, home decorating resources, and renovating a 257-year-old house in Marblehead, MA.

Recipe: Real Maine Whoopie Pies

Posted on | July 30, 2009 | 73 Comments

rita and grammy making whoopie pies

While I was in Maine I spent one rainy afternoon making whoopie Pies with my Grammy Elliott and my cousin’s grandmother, Rita. Watching them bicker and laugh while sipping some cold Pinot Grigio with Judge Judy blaring in the background was a hoot. Rita calls herself the, Whoopie Pie Queen and frankly after tasting her creations I can’t deny that claim. Store bought whoopie pies are just too thick and have way too much filling. More is not necessarily better when it comes to whoopies.

Maybe I should back up and explain what a whoopie pie is. Two devil’s food cakes with a creamy filling made of egg whites, confectionery sugar, fluff, and basically Crisco. Whoopie pies as far as I know are a Maine thing. The amish have their own version. You’ll spot whoopies wrapped in cellophane at gas stations, sub shops, and gourmet stores all over Maine. Some claim to be the best but honestly nothing compares to homemade. Above and below photos from a fun afternoon.

Below the recipe both grandmother’s having been making for years adapted from Marjorie Standish book, “Cooking Down East,” (1968).

Ingredients for Cakes:
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
5 tablespoons of cocoa (rita uses 4)
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon each: baking powder, baking soda, salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

The sugar and shortening are creamed together, the beaten egg yolks added. The dry ingredients are sifted together, and added alternatively with the milk and vanilla. Drop the batter in equal spoonfulls onto a greased cookie sheet, leaving room for them to spread. Bake in a pre-heated 375 degrees oven for 7-10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool. When completely cool, mix filling (recipe below), spreading half the cakes with this mixture. Put them together like a sandwich.

Filling: With an electric mixer, combine 1/2 cups shortening, 2 cups confectioners sugar, 2 egg whites, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons fluff.

p.s. I’ve come across recipes that cook the egg whites. The grandmothers never have and nobody has ever gotten sick.

Making Whoopie Pies
Old Ladies of Waterville, Maine making Whoopie Pies
Rita Making Whoopie Pies
Checking the Whoopie Pie Recipegrammy elliott and rita making whoopie pies

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Swans Island Blankets Studio In Maine

Posted on | July 30, 2009 | 6 Comments

Swans Island Blankets

Sheep in the rain at Swans Island Blankets

Just up the road from Windsor Chairmakers is Swans Island Blankets in Northport. On a rainy Thursday morning we were warmly greeted to tour their new gallery space and studio. I’ve read about Swans Island blankets a hundred times. When I saw the price tag I would gasp. Truthfully, once you see the quality and care that goes into each and every piece you realize it’s well worth every penny.

Each blanket is handmade by a talented weaver using only natural dyes. My mom and I found the indigo fascinating. “The dye, called Indican, is produced as the leaves of the plant are fermented, exuding a rich paste which turns blue when exposed to air.” Fascinating. The wool is harvested from super soft sheep raised in Maine. A cute photo of a few cuddled up in the rain above.

Swan Island Blankets in Maine

Blankets displayed at Swans Island
Winter Weight Blankets at Swans Island

Natural Grey Throws at Swans Island

Blankets and throws are available in summer and winter weights. The check style available in a winter weight—a weave of two layers of wool for warmth—was my favorite. Natural grey throws are woven from the fleece of Corriedale sheep.

Loom Room at Swan Island

A blanket be woven at Swan Island

Wander back into the studio to see yarn being dyed in large buckets and blankets being woven by hand on large looms. When I first went away to college I studied textile design with a concentration in weaving. I can tell you from experience setting up a loom is a total bitch. I was horrible at it. All the yarns have to be hand pulled one at a time through each tiny needle. So painful and time consuming.

Check out Swans Island’s website for more info on the weaving process and history. The lighting on a rainy day made shooting in the gallery a bit difficult. Take a hop over to their site for detailed photographs of their stunning blankets, swansislandblankets.com.

p.s. martha went to Swans Island Blankets just a few days before me and blogged about her visit today too!

Swans Island Blankets
Rt 1
Northport, Maine
207-338-9691
swansislandblankets.com

Related Posts:
Windsor Chairmakers in Lincolnville, Maine

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