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January 21, 2006

'Origin of the Gob'


No — it's not what you think.

The headline of this post was the headline of a story that appeared in the Johnstown [Pennsylvania] Tribune–Democrat about the signature sinfully sweet treat of that city.

Gobs (above) are little cakes with icing on the inside instead of on the outside.

"Susan Kalcik, folklorist and archivist from with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Commission in Johnstown, said her research shows that the Gob's origin can be traced back to medieval Germany."

Kalcik added that once a Gob leaves Johnstown it takes on a new identity: "'They don't call them Gobs, they're called Whoopie Pies (below),


she said. 'I've also found Whoopie Pies in New England and as far away as Hawaii.'"

Tim Yost, the owner of the Dutch Maid Bakery in Johnstown, owns the name "Gobs," which he purchased from Harris & Boyar Bakery in Morrellville, Pennsylvania.

Yost loved Gobs as a little boy and told the Tribune–Democrat, "Little did I know that we'd be making it someday. When the opportunity presented itself to obtain the rights to the Gob, we pursued it vigorously."

He told the paper that his recipe was a secret and added, "I would say Gobs are our biggest seller."

While we're on the subject, let's not allow the signature Southern iteration, the beloved Moon Pie (below)


to go remarked.

No, I'm not gonna leave you like this — I know what you're like and what you're in the mood for right about now....

Tim Yost's Dutch Maid Bakery does not appear to have a website, according to my crack research team.

However — if you're in the neighborhood (they're at 809 Scalp Avenue in Johnstown) you could stop by and pick up some Gobs for the gang.

Or you could call Tim at 814-266-3191 and see if he'd ship you some.

Don't forget to tell him I sent you in order to qualify for special bookofjoe pricing (it's twice the regular price, this being the Bizarro World and all... but I digress).

The Pie Shoppe of Laughlintown, Pennsylvania makes its own version of Gobs (below)


and sells them via the internet.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that they only do so on an occasional basis: last year's Gobs months were June, July and August.

They haven't yet announced their plans for 2006 but you can email the shoppe here or call them at 724-238-9536 and ask.

You can order Whoopie Pies here.

If Moon Pies are more your style, hey, here you go.

[via Mark B., who informs me that the Gobs package is "decorated with the image of a sailor"]


Bonus: the Tribune–Democrat published a recipe for Gobs should you wish to whip up a batch.

Here goes:

Chocolate Gobs

2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup of boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sour milk (1 Tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar to sour it)
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

Mix sugar, shortening, eggs, milk, water and vanilla. Then sift together flour, baking powder, soda and cocoa.

Gradually add dry ingredients to the first mixture, beating constantly until well mixed. Drop by tablespoon on engrossed cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes. Cool before icing.


Really have a lot of time on your hands?

Why not do a Gobs smackdown?

Here's another recipe.

And yet a third.


January 21, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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Tracked on Aug 9, 2006 12:47:36 PM


I grew up in Johnstown. We just returned today from a 3 day weekend there visiting my family. My husband and several friends have become GOB addicts because of me. They are all from Maryland and had NO clue!! If you are in the Sidman area, go to Keipers Market they carry home made GOBS that are to die for. We brought home a bunch for those who requested nothing more than a GOB. I've tried so many types but my favorite is the original. I've made them adding chocolate chips in the cake and they are really good for those moments you need the extra chocolate fix. The pumpkin with cream cheese filling are good as well as the chocolate with peanut butter filling. LOVE MY GOBS!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Heather | May 18, 2009 8:58:54 PM

I'm from johnstown,pa! Born n raised! Recently, i moved to bristol, pa (about 15 mins outside of philadelphia--in bucks county). and no one here knows what a gob is !!! they have these nasty wannabe things at the amish market called "whoopie pies". They don't even hold a candle up to the dutch maid bakery gob. it's very interesting that someone else besides me raised a brow at the fact that people outside of a 80mi radius haven't heard of gobs!

Posted by: amber | May 5, 2009 10:41:11 AM

Summer, early 1950's...Loyalhanna Cottages in Ligonier...hammocks, dappled sunlight, children's laughter, gently banging screendoors, swimming in the "crik"... and the sound of the ice cream truck crunching slowly along the gravel lane. 8 cousins racing in for money to buy... GOBS! This is an absolutely treasured memory -- and I can taste them still. I found this site while looking for the recipe--
Thanks so much for today's smile!

Posted by: susan | Feb 11, 2009 9:07:57 AM

Just returned from Thunder in the Valley in Johnstown. We also traveled about the town in search of gobs to bring south to Florida. I love them amd miss them!!

Posted by: Kelley | Jul 2, 2008 9:33:40 AM

I remember visiting my family the Mowerys in Johnstown and always craving two things... gobs and Coney Island hot dogs!! DONUTS Connection I think it's now called sometimes make gobs, but only on occasion. They are fairly difficult to come across nowadays being fresh and home-made like. I do miss those tasty treats!

Posted by: brad | May 29, 2008 4:26:52 PM

Every time I get back to Johnstown, my parents always have the Yost gobs waiting for me, yummy!

I have a massive sweet tooth due to the fact that my mother's family owned the Cambria Home Bakery. Sure do miss all the goodies and the smell of them baking.

Posted by: Lisa | Apr 10, 2008 7:57:34 AM

Thanks Jo! I am going to call them as soon as I can. I can hardly wait - I can almost taste those gobs! YUMMY!

Posted by: Linda | Mar 6, 2008 4:34:09 PM

i have done a performance with gobs check it out on my website (www.jonovelli.com/gobs.htm). i also have a picture there of a painting i made from the wrapper...
you can contact the bakery at (814) 266-3191 and they will mail order the gobs to you.
and, btw, the baker's name is TIM YOST, not COST. just fyi.

Posted by: Jo | Mar 4, 2008 1:40:55 PM

I need gobs! The kind with the yellow filling in and they had a picture of a "gob" (sailor) on the plastic "film" cover. My cousin brought me some when she visited from PA a few years ago, but they are long gone! Oh and those raisin cookies are delicious as well. Does anyone know who is making these delicious items and how I can get some sent to me? I miss the Johnstown ethnic foods - all we get here are Mexican food!

Posted by: Linda | Jan 28, 2008 5:14:20 PM

I moved from J-town to Philly about 10 yrs ago. I have my parents bring me Galliker's Iced Tea, gobs, and Yost raisin cookies every time that they come down (a few times a year). I can't find anything that even compares to any of those three.

Posted by: Dave | Nov 29, 2007 8:00:24 PM

I'm totally out of control. I just returned to Florida from Johnstown (visiting family), and in one suitcase were 100 gobs and 50 raisin filled cookies! Would have loved to have seen the faces of the TSA inspectors!!

Best time to go - Labor Day weekend: Ethnic Fest in Cambria City (West edge of town). They sell varieties of home-made gobs at numerous churches, most for just $1 each! Not to mention they had all the other favorite foods I grew up with, but can't find in Florida.

Posted by: Don | Sep 11, 2007 9:36:23 PM

Hi I am born and raised in Western Pa, Westmoreland Co. , and I have been eating cobs from the Yost bakery before I could talk. I live in Ga now and everytime I go to Pa to visit family I make a trip to the store to get gobs I love them there is nothing better.

Posted by: arlene | Sep 6, 2007 5:28:11 PM

My sister informed me this week that Dutch Maid is now selling Gobs and raisin cookies via the mail. Couldn't find anything on the web so I guess I'll try the number above.

I now live in Seattle and usually bring back a batch of Gobs after a visit to The Friendly City. I shared one with my next door neighbor (who is a gourmand and has lived in France for 10 years) and he said it was the best mass-produced treat cake he's ever had.

Posted by: Mark | Jul 11, 2007 7:46:43 PM

I grew up in Johnstown, and every time we get back there, we look for gobs. Some of the local supermarkets also make them...

Old time Johnstowners may remember the Cambria Home Bakery -- they also had great raisin filled cookies, but that's another story!

Posted by: Muzz | Jun 11, 2007 5:15:32 PM

My mom is from Johnstown. We went there the first week of Oct 06. We brought home a suitcase full of Gobs for friends and family in Fl and AZ.

ALot of people dont know what they are missing. :)

Posted by: chrissy | Nov 20, 2006 12:37:02 PM

In Ireland and the UK, Moon Pies are called Wagon Wheels.
See http://www.nicecupofteaandasitdown.com/biscuits/previous.php3?item=18
for a review. They seem to like them, I don't particularly.

Posted by: john | Jan 22, 2006 5:40:19 PM

Gob is such a fun word. I always knew it's meaning used by 70's brit punks (for hocking a loogie on someone). When I used it a song once... people totally thought it was something a tad more hardcore. The slow stepping back of listeners was priceless.

You know... one more article on the whoopie pies and I might just break down and order a ton. Oh, and moonpie brownies do sound like the devil at work... and winning.

Posted by: Neosamurai85 | Jan 21, 2006 9:33:44 PM

Moon Pie brownies....oh God. Get thee behind me, eevill Moon Pie.

And don't anybody order anything with butter or lard in it for delivery to anywhere in the South in June, July or August. Although, a Moon Pie can hold up to amazing heat. I had this pocketbook that I loved and carried all one summer and I had forgotten I had put a Moon Pie in it around May sometime and when I changed out pocketbooks in September it made a tasy snack, still.

Posted by: Flutist | Jan 21, 2006 4:47:46 PM

Little-known fact about Moon Pies...they taste even better microwaved. (Try it at 50 percent for about 30 seconds. It loosens up the chocolate a little and makes the marshmallow creme just the slightest bit softer.)

I've also made Moon Pie brownies before. Get three chocolate Moon Pies, tear them in smaller pieces and put them at the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch pan and then pour your favorite brownie recipe on top. (You may have to double it if the recipe calls for a 9-inch square pan.) Moon Pie heaven. ;)

And if you're feeling adventurous and want to make your own, here's the recipe: http://pie.allrecipes.com/az/SouthernMoonPies.asp

Posted by: Shawn Lea | Jan 21, 2006 11:23:48 AM

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