Gobs are to western Pennsylvania what whoopie pies are to most other regions. They are quite simply two chocolate cake-like cookies that sandwich a fluffy white filling. While whoopie pies come in many different flavors and variations, gobs are most assuredly always chocolate with a white creamy filling in the middle. I ate a lot more gobs when I was a kid than I tend to do now. My mom would sometimes get them as a treat from the grocery store, and at most birthday parties, someone’s mom inevitably showed up with a plate of gobs. They were just one of those things that were always around as a kid, and now as an adult, I realized that I totally took them for granted, especially in the wake of the whoopie pie craze. My mom had given me a copy of her recipe, which she received from her friend Karen umpteen years ago, but I never made them myself until recently.
I love how incredibly easy these are to make, not to mention how fast they bake! You can certainly make them larger or smaller if you’d like; I experimented with a few different sizes and found these to be perfect in terms of my personal preference. They’re large enough that you don’t feel like you need to eat more than one to get your fill, and not so big that you feel as though you totally gorged when you’re done eating one.
While I still haven’t been able to nail down the origin of the name “gobs” (it’s bugging me!), I’m so happy to have resurrected this recipe. They stirred up great memories, and reminded me that I need to make them more often! I sent a large plate of these into work with my mom, and she had more than one coworker tell her that these gobs were the best they’d ever tasted. I have no idea where my mom’s friend got the recipe, but it’s definitely a winner!
A recipe for gobs, otherwise known as whoopie pies.
For the Gobs:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup hot water
For the Filling:
1½ cups marshmallow fluff
1¼ cups vegetable shortening
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablepsoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer, cream together the shortening and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until completely smooth and combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add one-third of the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Add the buttermilk and mix again, followed by another third of the flour mixture, the hot water, and then the remaining flour mixture. Give the batter a few quick folds with a rubber spatula to ensure all of the ingredients are incorporated.
4. Drop the dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheets using a medium cookie scoop (about 1½ tablespoons of dough). Bake in the preheated oven for 5 to 6 minutes. The cookies should look puffed and completely set. Let cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Make the Filling: Cream together the marshmallow fluff and shortening on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract; mix until all of the sugar has been incorporated, then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
6. Assemble the Gobs: Using a pastry bag with round decorating tip, or a spoon, spread some of the filling onto the bottom side of half of the cookies. Top with the remaining cookies. The gobs can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.