Maybe you know them as “Gobs” (especially if you hail from PA) or maybe you know them as “Whoopie Pies”. Whatever you call them, these classic desserts are absolutely irresistible! They consist of two cakey chocolate cookies sandwiched around an old-fashioned vanilla filling. Today I’m sharing my grandmother’s recipe, no marshmallow fluff in this one!
So what do you call them, Gobs or Whoopie Pies? Or maybe you don’t call them anything? Maybe this big, fat, Oreo cookie-looking thing on your screen is totally unfamiliar? If that’s the case I have a treat for you today!
I’m sharing my grandmother’s recipe for old fashioned Gobs. It’s a fairly simple recipe that yields soft, cakey chocolate cookies sandwiched around a not-too-sweet filling. I always thought that Gobs (Whoopie Pies) were known everywhere, but it seems the “Gobs” name is more of a Pennsylvania thing, and it’s what I grew up calling them.
So What is the Difference Between a Whoopie Pie and a Gob?
There is no difference between a Gob and a Whoopie Pie, different regions simply refer to them by different names. In fact, several different states claim that the Whoopie Pie originated from them (both Maine and Pennsylvania make strong cases, and as a PA resident guess who I’m siding with). The name “Whoopie Pie” is sometimes cited as having Amish origins (another vote for PA 😉), but with so many different origination stories, it’s hard to know for sure.
Let’s Talk about Gobs Filling
The filling for this old fashioned gob recipe might be a little different than you’re used to. It’s actually pretty similar to ermine frosting, if you’ve ever made that before.
Many Gobs recipes call for a marshmallow-fluff based filling, and some simply use a fluffy vanilla buttercream. To be honest, I’m always disappointed when I bite into a Gob that’s made with one of these imposter fillings. It’s just too sweet! For this filling, I stuck faithfully to my grandmother’s recipe (after a little coercion, more on that below).
What’s mostly unique about this recipe is that, rather than starting by creaming together butter and sugar, we instead begin by cooking together flour and milk on our stovetop to make a paste (or maybe it’s more of a roux). This paste (and not marshmallow fluff!) is going to be the base of our frosting. And it’s going to be good, and not too sweet.
TIP! Make sure you let your roux/paste cool completely before you stir in the remainder of your ingredients (butter, shortening, vanilla, salt, powdered sugar). On days when I have the foresight to do so, I actually like to make the paste first, that way it has plenty of time to cool while I’m making my chocolate cookies.
Shortening Vs. Butter
If you’re a regular Sugar Spun Run reader 💜 you might be surprised to see that this recipe uses shortening. It’s not often that I use shortening in a recipe. Hardcore butter fan, right here 🙋🏼(remember my buttery, shortening-free peanut butter blossoms?).
Before I shared this gobs recipe, I was determined to modify it so that I used all butter and no shortening. That did not go over well with my family/taste testers (all butter-lovers themselves). After at least half a dozen rounds of recipe variation trials and blind taste tests later, the consensus was overwhelming. Just stick to the recipe. For once. Geez.
So I did. And, as with my other family recipes (see my Potato Candy, Chocolate Fudge, and Angel Food Cake), some things are better left alone. Which in this case means we’re using shortening, believe it or not.
What If I Want to Use Butter Anyway?
These Gobs will still turn out if you use butter instead of the shortening that is called for. The primary drawback of doing a straight substitution is that the cookies will be a bit drier than they would be if you used shortening and the filling will lose some of its signature mouthfeel.
Do Gobs/Whoopie Pies Need to be Refrigerated?
While not required, I do recommend keeping your whoopie pies refrigerated, especially if it’s a particularly warm/humid time of year. My family actually prefers their gobs to be refrigerated, just make sure you wrap them in plastic wrap or keep them in an airtight container so they don’t dry out.
Other Recipes You Might Like:
Make sure to check out my How to Make Gobs video at the bottom of the post! If you enjoy watching, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel where I’ve already uploaded over 100 recipe videos that you can watch for free! 💜
Whoopie Pies (Gobs)
- 1 cup sugar (200g)
- ¼ cup shortening I use Crisco
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup buttermilk¹ (120ml) (see notes for substitute)
- 2 cups all-purpose plain flour (250g)
- ¼ cup cocoa powder² (50g)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup very hot or boiling water (120ml)
- 1 cup whole milk (236ml)
- 5 Tablespoons all-purpose plain flour
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (170g)
- 2 Tablespoons shortening
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar (125g)
- Preheat oven to 450F (235C) and line several cookie sheets with parchment paper³. Set aside.
- In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar and shortening and beat together until well-combined.
- Add egg and vanilla extract and stir until mixture is pale yellow and well-combined.
- Stir in buttermilk and then set mixture aside.
- In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Prepare your boiling water.
- Alternate adding the dry ingredients and hot/boiling water to the wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry ingredients and stirring until combined after each addition. I usually add the flour in 3 parts and the water in 2.
- Stir until well-combined and mixture is smooth. Be sure to use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure ingredients are thoroughly combined. The mixture should be thin like a cake batter rather than thick like a cookie dough.
- Drop cookie batter by a heaping Tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets, spacing cookies at least 2” apart (they will spread in the oven).
- Bake for 5 minutes in 450F (235C) oven, then remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, prepare your cream filling.
- This Whoopie Pie filling starts with a flour/milk paste that’s critical to the texture and consistency of an old-fashioned Whoopie Pie/Gob. Pour milk into medium-sized saucepan over medium/low heat and then sift/whisk flour into milk until smooth.
- Continue to whisk constantly until mixture is thickened to a near paste-like consistency that wants to cling together. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming, before proceeding (if it’s warm and you proceed you’ll melt your filling and have a runny mess). If you refrigerate the filling, press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. To speed up the process you can pour mixture into another container but it will take at least 30 minutes. Flour mixture will thicken even more as it cools.
- Once flour/milk mixture has cooled, add to a medium-sized mixing bowl along with butter, shortening, salt and vanilla. Use an electric mixer to beat until creamy and well-combined.
- With mixer on low speed, gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined.
- Pair up your cooled chocolate cookies so that you have evenly-sized pairs.
- Pipe or spread filling onto the bottom of one cookie then top with another cookie to make a sandwich. Repeat until all cookies are filled. Enjoy!
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
Very yummy recipe that turned out picture perfect. Had people asking me for the recipe.
Best filling reciepe
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Thank you so much, Patti! We appreciate this review 😊
Never heard them called Gobs but very close to my Grandmother/Mothers old Fashioned New England Authentic Whoopie Pie recipe. Except we cooked the paste in a double boiler and then refrigerated it. I think our recipe is a double or triple batch since it was a lot of work -might as well make a lot. Traditionally wrapped individually in waxed paper and some could be frozen. My mom used to send them to my father when he was deployed
We’d like to make this for my mom’s funeral. She loved gobs but wasn’t a baker. Can we make cookies and filling ahead of time? We have to travel for the funeral. and then assemble when we get there? There would be about a 2 day delay. Your advice? We won’t have a kitchen on site.
Hi Lori! Personally I like them fully assembled and refrigerated. They will do well in an air tight container in the refrigerator, but if you’d like to assemble them later you can make the filling and cookies in advance. The filling will need to stay refrigerated. I’m sorry for your loss. 🙁
Ive successfully frozen them (wrapped individually) and they were still perfect upon thawing. Sorry for your loss.
Hello, I’m not a person who bakes a lot so I have a question. When you say sift/whisk flour into milk are you actually using a sifter or do you mean to just whisk flour in? Thank you so much. Making these for bake sale fundraiser.
Hi Wendy! You can just whisk them in. You can see how I do it in the video. 🙂
Kimberly J O'Brien
These were amazing! New favorite go-to recipe! When my husband hadn’t eaten for three weeks because of Covid and his hospitalization, the only thing he asked for when he got home was these! Thank you (and your grandmother) for a wonderful treat!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Wow, what a compliment! We hope your husband is feeling much better now that he’s home and had his whoopie pies 😊 Thanks so much for commenting, Kimberly! Take care ❤️
Do any of the ingredients need to be room temperature, or is everything used cold? Thanks!
Hi Rebecca! I like my eggs to be at room temperature and I’ll normally let the buttermilk warm up a little bit too. 🙂
Have you ever had your gobs come out flat? I’ve been making gobs for years from a family recipe and never had issues. This year they are flat!!!! I’m embarrassed to give them away lol. The only thing I did different was I made sour milk because I had forgotten to get buttermilk.
Hi Stephanie! I’m so sorry this happened. I am wondering if the sour milk was the issue. It can be thinner than the buttermilk so it could cause flatter results. 🙁
Hi, if you used vinegar to sour your milk, you may have added a little too much, which could use up all the leavening. I add a little extra baking soda when I have to do this.
Hi! PA native here, grew up with my grandmother’s or maybe it was my great-grandmother’s GOB recipe. It is almost the same as this one, nothing compares! Never called them whoopie pies, my personal whoopie pie experience (and I’ve tried dozens) always has a sickening sweet filling, not the classic gob filling. That is the difference between the two. Thanks for posting, so people can experience a real GOB!
Hi! My mom used this recipe. Just wondering if you can use almond milk? And why mine gets lumpy?
Hi Bonnie! I would be worried about the whoopie pies spreading too much and being too dry. I haven’t tried the frosting with almond milk, but I know others have done it with success. I include tips in the post for a smooth frosting. 🙂
I have this recipe from my grandmother who lived in Pennsylvania. My daughters, now grown, absolutely love it! My oldest always asks for them on her birthday. A note to some of the previous comments concerning runny filling: I made the mistake of using 1% milk one time. BIG mistake! I even have problems with 2% milk if the weather is hot. Whole milk is the solution. Regardless of the humidity and temps, whole milk makes a consistently fluffy filling every time. And if you want to be decadent, add a touch of heavy cream!
So yummy. Just made today. I don’t know why my filling is weird. I followed the recipe, and I know that my paste was definitely cold. But it kind of separated into a weird looking mixture. I dunno. Any ideas?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Oh no! We’re so sorry this happened, Heather. 😞 Was your paste cold or just cool when you added it? If it’s too cold, it might separate when added to the rest of the ingredients. This could also happen if your kitchen is too warm. Sometimes if you keep whipping you can get it to come back together, or you could try popping everything in the fridge for a few minutes before whipping again. We’re happy to hear they still tasted good though!
Sometimes the temperature of the house is the issue,or,heat in the kitchen.I make cookies one day,and,icing the next.The frosting usually also doesn’t work when humid.We mostly make these as a treat for Winter. holidays…Add sugar slowing..This icing very temperamental.I never double icing .I always make two separate icing batches.I have used half and half. And have ok results,but your milk needs fat,so skim,2%,1% will not work.
Hi, born and raised in Pa. Pa Dutch/Mennonite family. Learned to make gobs from my grandma and still make them, no butter, all shortening, same filing as you. Nothing like it, store bought does not compare! Thanks for sharing your recipe.
They are soooo good! Thanks for commenting. 🙂
Delicious! Will definitely be making these again soon. Made these in August in Florida and had no problems. Just curious to know if you’ve ever tried making a red velvet version?
Hi Darlene! I have not actually tried it, but it sounds delicious. I’m glad you enjoyed these. 🙂
I love butter too!! I am wondering if you can make the filling with all shortening? .
Hi Terry! All shortening will work in the filling. 🙂
Could I make these into cupcakes instead of whoopie pies?
Hi Patty! I’m not sure how it would work. I would recommend my chocolate cupcakes instead. 🙂
Hi! looks delicious but i don’t keep shortening on hand? wondering if you could recommend a substitute? thank you:)
Hi Nidhi! You can substitute butter. Be sure to check the section in the post on substituting butter for exactly how to do it. 🙂