Saturday afternoon Mom hosted an impromptu get-together at her house, attended by her neighbors T & P, my neighbors B & W, neighborhood friend A, myself, and Hubband. The original reason was to show her back yard to B & W, who have an interest in gardening, and drink a little wine, but of course Mom and I decided that we should have some little things to nibble. We then realized that late afternoon was getting close to dinner, so maybe we should just throw together a few things and make a casual party out of it. (Funny how we can turn any little visit into a reason to cook!)
We got through planning an easy menu that could be put together in advance, and then we got to dessert. Mom wanted to make apple pie, and I wanted to try a recipe I've had tucked away for almost a year now: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies! Of course, we made both.
I found this recipe on CI's website about a year ago, as I browsed around for something else. Originally submitted by Robin Smith, of Berryville, VA, it won CI's 2005 Holiday Cookie Contest. I tweaked the dough part of the recipe just a little, and used a variation of my favorite cream cheese frosting to fill them.
They turned out great! The cakes were incredibly moist and airy, with a good crumb. The tang of the not-too-sweet frosting really played well with the pumpkin, and they were a big hit with everyone who tried them. These are definitely going "in the book"*.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
adapted from Robin Smith
Makes 16-18 whoopie pies.
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
2 large eggs
3/4 C vegetable oil
1 C granulated sugar
1 C light brown sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
4 C all-purpose flour
1 Tb + 1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 Tb unsalted butter, softened
5 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
8 oz confectioner's sugar
2 tsp heavy cream
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets (preferably without sides) with parchment paper or silicone mats. In a large bowl, stir together the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg until incorporated. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Add the dry ingredients to the wet mix and stir until well combined.
Using a tablespoon measure, drop two tablespoons of dough, one on top of the other, onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread the dough out gently, using the back of a spoon, into a round about 2 inches across. Try to create an even thickness. Repeat until baking sheet is full with dough rounds spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake until the cookies are just set and the bottoms are lightly browned, 10-14 minutes. Halfway through the baking time, rotate the baking sheets back to front and top to bottom for even cooking. Slide cookies, still on parchment, off of the baking sheet and onto a cooling rack. Repeat process with remaining dough.
Filling: In a stand mixer, combine the butter and cream cheese and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment. Scrape down the sides and add the vanilla and confectioner's sugar. Continue to mix, scraping down sides as necessary, until the frosting is well blended. Remove the paddle attachment, scraping it clean into the bowl, and add the whisk attachment. Whip the frosting until it is light and some air is incorporated, about 3 minutes on medium speed. As you whip, add one teaspoon of heavy cream to thin the frosting slightly. Try spreading some of the frosting on a cookie, and add the remaining teaspoon of heavy cream if you feel the frosting is too thick. Spread the frosting on half of the cookies, and top each with another.
*When a recipe goes "in the book" it gets permanently added to my bound collection. Written on a large index card, placed in a plastic sleeve, and put in a large binder, where it patiently sits and waits to be called upon, recipes in the book are those we have tried and loved.