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Whoopie Pies

When a bill aiming to make the whoopie pie Maine’s official dessert was debated in the state legislature, some lawmakers countered that blueberry pie (made with Maine wild blueberries, of course) should have the honor. In the end it did, but what could have been a civil war ended civilly, with whoopie pies designated the "official state treat." Spend a few days anywhere in Maine and you'll notice just how popular the treat is.

The name is misleading: it's a pie only in the sense of a having a filling between two "crusts"—namely, a thick layer of sugary frosting sandwiched between two saucers of rich cake, usually chocolate. It's said to have Pennsylvania Dutch roots, and may have acquired its distinctive moniker from the jubilant yelp farmers emitted after discovering it in their lunchboxes. Many Mainers dispute this, claiming that the whoopie pie originated here. Typically, the filling is made with butter or shortening; some recipes add Marshmallow Fluff. Many bakers have indulged the temptation to experiment with flavors and ingredients, particularly in the filling but also in the cake, offering pumpkin, raspberry, oatmeal cream, red velvet, peanut butter, and more.

Labadie's Bakery. This bakery in Lewiston boasts nearly nine decades of baking whoopie pies (which, over time, have grown from whoopie to whopping: they top out at 16 inches in diameter!). The storefront bakery is open weekdays. 161 Lincoln St., Lewiston, ME, 04240. 207/784–7042. www.labadiesbakery.com.

Wicked Whoopies. Made by Isamax Snacks in Gardiner, these whoopie pies are stocked in supermarkets and convenience stores throughout Maine and sold at the company's storefront in Farmingdale. There's a second location at 32 Main Street in Freeport. 621 Maine Ave., Farmingdale, ME, 04344. 207/622–8860. www.wickedwhoopies.com.

Updated: 2014-05-06

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