What is it about Amish recipes? You read all the ingredients, and any resolution about healthy eating goes out the window. I know because that is what I do. Just imagining how my kitchen will smell is typically all it takes for me to try something new. For as much as I grew up around the Amish and attended a Mennonite Church, you would have thought that I would have made Whoopie Pies before, but I never have. So last weekend I gave them a try, and now my family says they will need to be a staple in my rotating recipe box.
Before you swoon over the recipe take a few minutes and walk into Stella’s kitchen as she whips up a batch of her special Whoopie Pies to surprise Jacob for his birthday.
The sun was just beginning to show its color through Stella’s bedroom window as she gently moved Jacob’s arm from around her waist and rolled out of bed. It was his birthday, and she wanted to get a jumpstart on his favorite dessert before he came down for breakfast. Jacob never cared much for her to fuss over him on his birthday, but he always went out of his way to make her birthday special. Just last month he surprised her with a new bird feeder and had hired a driver to take them to her favorite restaurant for dinner. When they came home, the twins had baked her a birthday cake and had it waiting on the kitchen table for them when they returned. She never told Jacob how much it meant to her that he fussed over her so much, but his undivided attention on her made her look forward to her birthday every year.
Setting the ingredients on the counter, she pulled a step stool over to the corner cupboard to retrieve her mother's recipe box off the top shelf. Setting the worn brown box on the counter she poured herself a cup of coffee as she used one hand to fumble through the recipes looking for the cocoa stained card. Just as her fingers located the well-worn card, she pulled it from the box only to find a yellow post-it note had been stuck to the front of the card. Startled by what she saw she sat her coffee down and took the card over to the oil filled light that hung over the table to get a better look at what was written on the card.
“Forget about the Whoopie Pies this year. The good Lord knows I’ve had one too many of them over the years.”
Slightly disappointed Jacob didn’t want her to make his favorite dessert she pulled out a chair and sat in the quiet to wait for her family to wake for breakfast.
Hearing the pitter-patter of bare feet against the wood floors, she knew it wouldn’t be long before her family would be making their way downstairs. Trying to shake off the February chill she stoked the stove and set a pan of water on its surface to heat for oatmeal. Just as she was about to set the table, Rebecca, Anna, Emma, Matthew and last but not least Jacob stood in front of her lined up like little wooden soldiers. Each one of them had a yellow note in their hand holding it out for her to take.
“What’s going on here?”
Rebecca shook her note and said. “Just read the note, and you’ll find out.” Stella grabbed the note Rebecca held out. “There’s nothing to worry about. I’ll fill your bread orders.” “What’s that suppose to mean.” Just keep reading Anna said as she handed her the next note. “I’ll do the laundry and feed the birds.” Next Emma shook her note to hurry her along. “I’ll keep the chickens fed and make sure the house is kept clean.” Matthew reached out his hand as his mamm retrieved the note from his fingers. “I’ll keep Datt’s Furniture Shop running and make sure the girls don’t burn the house down.”
Trying to figure out what her family was up to she turned toward Jacob and asked. “What’s this all about?” He handed her a folded note and guided her to the table to sit. As she unfolded the note she looked up at him hoping for any signs of what she might find in the note.
My Dearest Stella,
For years you’ve taken care of this family without thinking twice about your needs or wants. Yes, I know it’s what any good Amish woman would do, but most days we don’t remember to stop and say thank you. This year instead of warming our kitchen with the smell of my favorite Whoopie Pies I want to warm you up instead. Your dream has always been to see the ocean. So go pack a bag our bus leaves in two hours. We are on our way to Pinecraft to visit your sisters.
But Jacob it’s your birthday, not mine. You already gave me my birthday present last month. Jacob smiled and said. “Nobody says that you can’t have more than one present, do they? And besides, this is what I want for my birthday. A few weeks in the warm sunshine with the love of my life.
“Come on Mamm we’ll help you pack,” Emma said.
Hollering over her shoulder as the girls pulled her up the stairs. “A vacation I can hardly believe it, we’ve never done anything this crazy before.”
“Well get used to it. Now that the kinner are older there’s no reason why we can’t go enjoy ourselves a bit. There’s more to life than work and this farm, and I attend to go see what your sisters think is so special about Florida.”
A sense of pride and joy overwhelmed her as she let her girls pack their suitcase and send them on their way. As they climbed in the backseat of the car that was waiting to drive them to the bus station she couldn’t help but thank Gott for blessing her with a family that cared more for each other than they did for themselves. She reached over and took Jacob’s hand in hers and squeezed it just hard enough that he knew how much she loved him. No words were needed, as they settled in for the vacation of their lifetime.
Stella’s Whoopie Pies
Soft Cookie Ingredients
Cream together sugar, salt, shortening, vanilla, and eggs until creamy. In a separate bowl sift together flour, soda, and cocoa. Slowly add to creamed mixture alternately with the coffee and buttermilk until all is combined.
Drop by extra large even spoonfuls on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes.
Mix until all combined and is spreadable or desired consistency.
One cookies have cooled spread filling on flat side of one cookie and sandwich together with another cookie. Wrap each cookie in plastic wrap to store.
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Rebecca stood at the sink washing dishes as she watched her sisters Anna and Emma take clothes off the line. All morning she’d listened to them carry on about finishing their chores so they could get back to the project they were working on. They'd been keeping a secret, and it was all she could do to watch them whisper and giggle behind her back.
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