Grain-free Mini Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Creme

by Beth @ Tasty Yummies

Grain-free Mini Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Cream

Grain-free Mini Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Cream

Often when I find myself traveling new cities and towns, seeking out new dishes and popular local delicacies, I feel left out from being able to fully savor the flavors of the region. When you have dietary challenges, whether it be allergies, intolerances or choices, it can make dropping into a new city a little bit less than spontaneous. You can’t just stop by the most popular restaurants, the hot spots featured time and time again in magazines and TV shows, instead you have to plan ahead, do your homework and find places that will support your restrictions. This extra work, the plotting and scheming, I can tell you, is always worth it.

Grain-free Mini Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Cream

Grain-free Mini Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Cream

While traveling to Maine earlier this fall, this is exactly what I did. I had just 2 days in Portland, Maine and I was determined to make the most of it. Portland truly is a foodie town, with more restaurants per capita than most major cities in the US. So, I did what any good gluten-free foodie would do, I did my homework and I truly ate and drank my way through the city, so I have lots of great tips to share with you, at the bottom of this post.

Grain-free Mini Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Cream

As usual, I also came home inspired by all the delicious food I ate. The delicious locally caught seafood, the lobster, crab and oysters, it was enough to make me miss the east coast. But let’s not forget the sweet stuff. The potato donuts and these beauties, the whoopee pie. After having my first whoopie pie ever, the official state treat of Maine (not to be confused with their official state dessert, which is blueberry pie), I was excited to come home and recreate my own, but just a little bit healthier. I surprisingly had the pleasure of sampling one while in Maine. I had a gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate peanut butter whoopie pie from Bam Bam Bakery. While it was very delicious, it was just a tad too rich and too sweet for my blood. I took a few bites of that big, beautiful pie and that was all she wrote. My sweet tooth was buzzing and I knew that if I ate any more, I would be paying for it later. But it was enough to get me hooked and I have been dreaming of it ever since.

Grain-free Mini Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Cream

I recreated a grain-free version of these popular treats, sweetened more naturally and subtly. I also decided to feature a vanilla bean marshmallow cream, that is super light, fluffy and full of beautiful flecks of vanilla bean. I opted for a mini version, the perfect bite-sized sample, so you don’t have to overdo it on your sweets, there is not pressure to consume a dessert the size of your face.

Grain-free Mini Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Cream

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What to Do in Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine
Stay at the Portland Harbor Hotel
Just as important as where you eat, is where you lay your head. If you wanna be near the goings on, walking distance from all of the best eats, the Portland Harbor Hotel is the place to be. Quaint, old world charm meets modern and minimal. Their garden patio is such a treat, with the grape vine laced archways, it’s especially special at night when they have the fire pit going. Oh and go big or go home and snag that Honeymoon Suite, if you can. The jacuzzi bathtub and the fireplace are extra nice after a long day of walking and eating. FYI, everywhere else listed below (except the final two) was in walking distance of PHH.

Yoga at Lila East End Yoga
This adorable and sweet studio is exactly my kind of place. This joy-filled space is so warm and inviting, you can instantly feel the family and community vibes. I love their variety of styles and traditions represented. The class I took Genell, studio owner and teacher was the perfect start to my trip and the best way to shake off a long day of travel.

Portland, Maine

Indulge in Gluten-Free Maine Potato Donuts from Holy Donut
These legit Maine-style potato donuts, are made with mashed potatoes. A concept completely foreign to me, I had never had this myself, but I was blown away how delicious this is. Super moist and very filling. I sampled both the gluten-free Dark Chocolate Sea Salt and the Cinnamon Sugar and both were to-die-for.

Portland, Maine
Oysters and Kimchi at Eventide Oyster Co.
This place is truly a treat and a must if you love fresh oysters. The freshest seafood money can buy, their popularity is apparent by just how hard it is to walk through the front door, let alone get a table at lunch time. Besides the most amazing oysters and shellfish on display as soon as you walk in, their incredible house made kimchi, was surprisingly equally as impressive. The design sensibility is top notch here, too. From the signage and beautiful typography on the menus, to the reclaimed nautical details and the cozy picnic tables, this place is hip and modern while still being approachable and comforting.

Fries at Duckfat
Here’s the deal, if you are gluten-free, there isn’t much on the menu here that you can have, but fries, this is the love language, I speak. Cooked in duck fat!! Now we’re really talking. I took mine to go, this place was crazy busy, and I grabbed a glass of their Maine tonic to take away too, with maple, honey, apple cider vinegar and chaga, I thought this was the perfect beverage to keep my digestion right while traveling. {Note: I didn’t ask about shared cooking oil, so if you are cross-contamination sensitive, I would investigate this further.}

Portland, Maine
Happy Hour at The Portland Hunt and Alpine Club
Imbibe in the good vibes for happy hour with thoughtfully created cocktails and light bites at this gorgeous neighborhood spot. This place is beautiful, from top to bottom. A great stop for a pre or post dinner carefully crafted cocktail and a small bite (I recommend the green chile popcorn).

Portland, Maine
Dinner at Vinland
This is my kind of place, I am absolutely OBSESSED with this joint. Single handedly one of THE best meals I have ever had in my life. The entire menu is gluten-free, organic, local and seasonal. In fact, they are so hyperlocal and conscious, that if they cannot sustainably source or forage it locally, they won’t serve it. Go for the 5 plate tasting and try everything that catches your eye.

Portland, Maine

Go Crazy on Gluten-free Treats Bam Bam Bakery
This place has it all. Every single thing in this dedicated bakery is gluten-free and there are many vegan options, as well as many options that are also dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free and nut-free. They can tell you what is in absolutely everything and they will. I sampled both their famous gluten-free cinnamon roll and one of the well-known whoopie pies that inspired this post. Both were amazing and very very sweet. Besides the largest selection of gluten-free treats that I have every seen, they also carry a wider variety of savory lunch options as well, like pizza, soups, lasagna, pot pies and more.

Portland, Maine

Gluten-free Lobster Roll at Sea Dog Brewing Company
OK truth be told, this isn’t exactly my kind of restaurant. It has a bit of a T.G.I. Friday’s vibe, it’s big and a tad cheesy and it’s in the middle of nowhere, that said, it was THE only place I could find that served up a gluten-free lobster roll. So, as I made my way to Kennebunkport, I stopped in what appeared to be the suburbs or South Portland, and had a delicious lobster roll! It was worth the weird ambiance.

Portland, Maine

Get Your Lighthouse Fix and Pics at Portland Head Light
A quintessential tourist requirement, you have to snap some lighthouse pics, while in Maine. There is certainly no shortage of lighthouses on the coast, but the locals suggested I visit the Portland Head Light, as I was traveling down to Kennebunkport to continue my exploring. Nestled on the coast, in Fort Williams Park, I stopped for some killer views and a quick walk around the trails to take in all the fresh sea air.

Travel to Kennebunkport
Finally, if you are looking to explore outside of Portland, whether it’s just a day trip or you plan an overnight or two, I highly recommend you scoot down to the super quaint town of Kennebunkport. I spent a few days down there with the Tom’s of Maine folks and it was such a pleasure. This town is sweet, quiet and so friendly. Oh and I ate my weight in lobster while there, it was incredible and I’d do it again.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ashlae November 11, 2015 at 3:26 pm

Sooooooo I totally tried making these with aquafaba meringue in place of the marshmallow creme and that was a really bad call on my part. Thankfully I managed to save the mini chocolate cakes (I literally scraped the crappy vegan meringue off each one) and made whoopie pies filled with peanut butter coconut whipped cream and bananas. And they are SO GOOD. Those chocolate cakes are spot on, lady. The texture is perfect.

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2 Sherrie November 11, 2015 at 4:28 pm

Okay first of all that marshmallow creme – insane. It’s really doing it for me!! And second, the food scenes from Portland are making me wish even more that I would’ve made it a priority to go there when I lived back east. I never really made it past Cape Cod/Providence {another wicked good food town} because I couldn’t justify pulling myself north of my favorite place on earth. But you’ve definitely convinced me!!!! xx

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