It’s stupid really. It’s not even that much of a deal to be called a crisis, but what do I call it? Identity problem? Identity predicament? So here’s the thing: I live in a country that is predominantly influenced by the United States, from the way we dress, to the way we speak, to how much the fastfood industry thrives over here, down to the books and the English we study. American English. And yet, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, I cannot stop myself from spelling in British English.
That’s it actually. Kind of petty isn’t it?
I’m actually convinced I might have been a European of some sort in my past life. Something about doling out my letter u’s so generously just feels so natural to me. I’m pretty sure I can spell in any way that I want, but sometimes I can’t help but worry that people, especially people who know me, might think I’m trying to be pretentious. Which I’m not. I just think that it makes much more sense to spell ‘favourite’, or ‘colour’, or ‘grey’ in this way. I especially like how that ‘e’ looks on that colour.
See I did it again!
I’m not sure if it has something to do with the way I pronounce those words, why I automatically spell them that way. It gets confusing. Sometimes I spell ‘realize’ with a ‘z’, and sometimes I spell it with an ‘s’ depending on my mood. Once, I spelled travelling with two l’s and my English teacher crossed it out of my essay. From that point on I’ve maintained a habit of spelling that word and others like it by simply adding -ing to the end, no longer doubling any other letters.
I’ve got nothing against American English, so don’t get me wrong. I’m just trying to find some sort of explanation for my behaviour. I’m definitely fascinated with all things European, so I don’t know if that’s a possible reason as to why I gravitate more towards things that are theirs. I’m pretty proud of my Chinese heritage and I know that’s what makes up most of who I am, but I really love European culture and history too and I feel like I never get enough of it. So I guess this is my way of experiencing it on a daily basis? Am I weird that way?
Maybe if a whoopie pie had feelings, it would be filled with as much questions as myself. I mean, what are they exactly? Are they cookies? Cakes? Definitely something different from our usual imagery of pies… Maybe it’s more fair to classify them as cakey sandwich cookies? I guess as long as they’re not called Poopie Pies (thanks a lot, Dad! He’s obviously never heard of them until now), we can classify them as anything that floats our fancy at the time.
Well this is my first ever whoopie pie (in terms of making and eating both) and I find that I like whoopie pies a lot. Maybe I like sandwiched things in general, but these in particular were phenomenal after spending some time in the fridge– a kick of spice mixed with the richness of chocolate. Chocolate goes with everything.
You don’t have to take my word for it.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling
adapted from 17 and Baking | Makes about 24 sandwich cookies
For the Whoopie Cookies:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cloves*
1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons/4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
1. To make the whoopie cookies: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line two half sheets with parchment paper or silpat baking mats.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
3. In another large bowl, whisk together the dark brown sugar and the vegetable oil until well combined. Whisk in the pumpkin puree.
Stir in the egg and the vanilla extract.
4. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined.
5. Drop the batter by the heaping tablespoon, or using a small cookie scoop, an inch apart on the baking sheets. Bake until the cookies just start to crack at the top and a toothpick comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely on the pan.
6. To make the dark chocolate cream cheese filling: Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl and set aside.
7. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until very smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder on low speed until incorporated, then mix in the vanilla extract and milk until smooth.
8. To assemble the whoopie pies: Spoon some filling into a piping bag fitted with a large round open tip, or you can use a spoon. Pipe or spoon a dollop of filling onto the flat side of one whoopie cookie and top with another. Refrigerate cookies until ready to eat.
Storage: Keep sandwich cookies in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.
* I’m not such a huge fan of cloves so I cut it down to just 1 scant teaspoon, and some of my brothers don’t like such a strong ginger flavour either so I had to reduce it a little bit too. You can adjust the amount of spices according to your taste.
So whether whoopie pies are pies, cookies or cakes, I feel like it’s pointless to try and figure it out. Instead, we can just say that whoopie pies are yummy things you put in your mouth and enjoy, much in the same way that words are vessels used to get a message across no matter how you spell them.