Chinese New Year (CNY): The biggest holiday of the year here in Singapore.
I don’t think we really think much about the actual reason for the holiday, the lunar new year, but we still anticipate the holiday due to the time Andrew get’s off from work. Two vacation days: Whoopie!
The anticipation actually began a few weeks ago. One of the girls I tutor was at my house working on her homework after school. At some point during her afternoon studies, we were taking a break when I showed Ghislaine one of my recipe books. It was a book filled with recipes for Whoopie Pies.
Andrew had bought the book for me several months ago when I had spied it in a local book store. But I had yet to take the time to make one of the recipes.
Ghislaine looked surprised when she saw the book, and she spoke about how she had a very similar recipe book which she too had yet to put to use! Aware that my friend shared a love for baking and could use a fun break from school stress, I mentioned to her that we should get together sometime soon and make one of the recipes. Then torn, she wistfully told me how she would love to, but didn’t think it would be a possibility considering the homework load that she had. However, we quickly realized that neither of us had plans for the upcoming break for CNY. This set in motion a plan for us to get together during the local holiday for a baking extraveganza.
As the days past, at our homes we looked through our own whoopie pie books and thought about which ones we would most like to make. Later in the week we compared notes she became pretty sure that we had the same book.
Chinese New Year arrived. Along with it came some time off and our planned baking date! Andrew graciously volunteered to take Gideon on an guys-only excursion while us girls stayed behind and went to work in the kitchen. Step one, take out books. We compared almost every page. The books were identical. Well… there was one main difference: hers was in Dutch. But close enough.
Though her book had a different cover, inside they both had the same recipes, same tips, same descriptions, and the same pictures! For my sake, we decided to go with my English version 🙂
Our first mission: The Classic (aka “klassieke“) Whoopie Pie
Soft, cake-like, chocolate cookies with a marshmallow fluff filling. I must say, I was shocked with how good they looked when they were done!
They tasted great too. They were everything that a whoopie pie should be.
How to Eat a Whoopie (by Susanna Tee from “Whoopies!”)
When it comes to eating, you will be aware that some of the generous filling is lost out of the sides. When this happens, open it, collect up the filling that has oozed out with a finger, put back onto the bottom half, and then recreate the whoopee – only to do it all over again a few bites later. This is the correct way to eat a whoopie.
It was just right. The chocolate ends were soft and crumbly, but they still held together in a strong enough manner to contain the filling and be picked up. The filling’s marshmallowy taste complimented the chocolate and gave it that classic whoopie pie feel!
As we finished filling the last few whoopie pies, the guys walked in the door. (Okay, one of the guys was carried in the front door.) Gideon was ready for his afternoon meal, and I was ready for a break.
Our second selection: Gingerbread Whoopie Pies
The molasses, as called for in the recipe, is hard to find in Singapore. So we made do with some substitutions. We used molasses brown sugar and a type of sweet and sour sauce. Both included some molasses in their listed ingredients. It must have worked, because the batter was particularly sticky and the aroma that wafted from the oven caused my mouth to water as I waited to taste the warm and spicy combination.
We had some down time while we were waiting for the cookies to bake. It was the perfect time to pay attention to Gideon.
Gideon was happy long enough for us to complete the baking of the Gingerbread whoopie pies. But before they could be tasted, we needed a filling to make the whoopies complete. The recipe recommended a lemon buttercream filling. I wouldn’t have initially thought to pair lemon with gingerbread, but it ended up pairing quite well. The lemon gave the filling the slight edge it needed to live up to the tang of the ginger, but still maintained the sweetness required for a whoopie pie sugar rush.
All in all, it was a GREAT way to spend a day during our CNY break.
Of course, we couldn’t eat all the cookies ourselves. The majority of the sweets were sent home with Ghislaine for her to share with her family. Since Gideon (though he did seem interested) isn’t quite ready to partake of the treats, and Andrew is still being careful with his carb intake, I knew I needed a way to ration myself. The solution seemed to be to pack the cookies away so they weren’t out on the counter where they could tempt me as easily!
Now, I just need to avoid the temptation to open the refrigerator where they’re stored!