Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Filling
I am a woman possessed. (Obsessed? Probably both.) In one recipe after another, from the apple yogurt cake to the cider-braised swiss chard with apples to the butternut squash couscous and here, today, pumpkin whoopie pies with a maple-cream cheese filling, I am utterly consumed by fall flavors. Perhaps I can’t help it — fall is my favorite season after all. The crisp weather, the chunky sweaters, my birthday … what more could you want in three months?
Well, if you’re anything like me, you want these. By the dozen. Whoopie pies are cake-like cookie sandwiches with some sort of sweet frosting. Usually, they’re made with chocolate. But after trying the pumpkin cookies at Meredith’s Bread way back when, I decided I needed to make pumpkin ones, stat (er, almost nine months later … ).
I used a combination of recipes: the cookies mostly from Rachael Ray and the filling partly from Rachael and partly from the Brown Eyed Baker. Naturally, I made a few changes but they must’ve been okay because I brought these to a Halloween brunch hosted by a friend and they seemed to be a hit. I personally couldn’t resist the spicy pumpkin cake and the slightly sweet, earthy frosting combo. I may or may not be eating one right now, but only so that I can accurately describe its taste. Only for research purposes, people.
And since I lack an ice cream scoop with a lever, I had to go with the two-spoon method of creating the cookies, hence the exaggeratedly homemade (read: ugly) look. This recipe made 50 teaspoon-sized cookies, for 25 pies.
Yield: 25 pies
For the cookies:
– 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
– 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
– 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
– 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (I had a little bit more, about 1-1/3 cup)
– 1 tablespoon cinnamon*
– 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg*
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 3/4 teaspoon salt
– 1-2/3 cup all-purpose flour
*Rachael’s recipe called for 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice, a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and ground cloves. For whatever reason, I couldn’t find it at any one of three different supermarkets (three. different. supermarkets.) even though I know that my local store in Maryland carries it. I went with what I had and found that it was plenty tasty without the ginger and clove …
1) Whisk the butter and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Add the pumpkin, spices, baking powder and soda, salt, vanilla extract and eggs and mix well. Fold in the flour until incorporated completely.
2) Using two teaspoons (or a small ice cream scoop) place evenly-sized dollops of dough on a lined baking sheet. Bake at 350˚F for about 10-15 minutes, until the cookies are springy when touched. Let them cool completely on a wire rack.
For the frosting:
– 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
– 5 ounces cream cheese, softened
– 2-1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
– a pinch of salt
1) Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt and syrup and mix until the filling is light and fluffy. Chill for at least 15 minutes before making the whoopie pies.
Once the cookies have completely cooled and the frosting is chilled (the fridge is your best friend here), match the cookies into pairs by size. Slather frosting on the bottom of half the cookie pairs and top with the matching-size cookies. Try not to eat them all in one sitting.