Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

'Tis the season for pumpkin. I'm usually all about making pumpkin flavored desserts during the fall but I had heard rumors that there was a canned pumpkin shortage in the local supermarkets. However, on top of finding a large can of pumpkin puree in my pantry from last year (used for the batch of Pumpkin Bread and Pumpkin Pancakes last weekend), I was able to find plenty of smaller cans of pumpkin puree from the Stop & Shop I frequent. Thus, I was inspired to try a new pumpkin recipe. I'm obsessed with whoopie pies (probably stemming from fascination with trying to make Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies, which are kind of like a cookie whoopie pie) so I was thrilled to find this Pumpkin Whoopie Pies recipe from Martha Stewart. Should you need further pumpkin inspiration, Beantown Baker has also done a full week of interesting Pumpkin recipes.

Makes 12 whoopie pies. (I used my Oxo medium-sized cookie scoop to create smaller, uniform cookies and I ended up 5 dozen cookies or 30 whoopie pies)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger (I replaced the tablespoons of ginger and cloves with two tablespoons pumpkin pie spice since I'm not a big fan of ginger or cloves)
1 tablespoon ground cloves (Reduced to just a pinch)
2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled (I forgot to chill the puree ahead of time, but I did end up putting the batter in the fridge for 30 minutes)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.

Using a small ice cream scoop (or Oxo cookie scoop) with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.

Make the filling: Sift confectioner' sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla, beat just until smooth. (Filling can be made up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate; let stand at room temperature to soften before using.)

Assemble the whoopie pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag and snip the end. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate cookies at least 30 minutes before serving and up to 3 days.

I'm glad I ended up making smaller version of the whoopie pies, because even my version ended up being quite a mouthful:

The cookies themselves ended up soft and moist, but I should've taken time to stiffen the cream cheese filling a little more.
These whoopie pies had a nice strong spicy pumpkin flavor, but were a little to messy for my taste as the exterior became very moist after refrigerating and it was hard to pipe enough frosting for each one without having it spill over the edges. I was also disappointed in the cream cheese filling - it tasted great but that's because it was your typical cream cheese frosting. It didn't have that fluffy texture that I associate with traditional whoopie pie fillings.
That being said, Andrew really enjoyed this recipe, being the pumpkin aficionado that he is and my coworkers liked it as well.

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