Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Hey fall. It's been a beautiful time. I see you sneaking out that door, and letting the cold air in behind you.

But I don't even care. We had so many amazing weeks of 60s and 70s together that all I can think of is the phrase "if you love it let it go, and if it's meant to be, it'll come back."

And that's how I feel about fall. Pumpkin, apples, spices, warm socks, the heat finally coming on in my dorm room (praise be!), leaves changing color, coats, scarves, and crisp air blowing through my hair.

I took this picture on a recent hike with some friends, at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in New York. The sunlight was unreal, and we had a great time. It was fall break, so my acappella group (shout out to Redhot & Blue!) took the chance to do some gigs near campus, and took some time to do fun things like this hike.

And, on my day off, I baked! Oh the glory. It's so complicated here, where a trip to the grocery store requires either a car, tons of planning around their once-weekly shuttle, or a 20 minute walk through some sketchy areas (which you'd better do with a friend at 3pm). I took the car route, and being able to bake was so worth it.

I realized, pumpkin is so good because it has a particular kind of starch-moisture combination that you just don't get with flour and eggs. Or banana--I also made granola with some banana and some pumpkin, and pumpkin definitely helps it clump together and stay that way, with it's long fibers!

So, we get whoopie pies. Luscious, mounds of cakey pumpkin cookie, heavily spiced and smashed together with creamy, dreamy, tangy cream cheese frosting. It's like muffin tops (the ones at a certain chain bakery, not the ones around your hips!), except cupcake tops and sandwiched with frosting.

It's amazing. Believe in the power of pumpkin. I'd totally stay with Linus to wait for the Great Pumpkin on Halloween!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: about 2 dozen

For the cookies:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 3 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the frosting:
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper/silicone/grease.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and nutmeg.
  3. In another bowl, whisk granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, and oil together. Add pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.
  4. Gradually add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and whisk until just combined.
  5. Drop big spoonfuls of batter onto baking sheet, about 2 inches apart (probably about 2 tablespoonfuls).
  6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. Let the cookies cool completely before assembly.
  7. To make the frosting, beat butter on medium speed until smooth with no visible lumps. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth and combined (times will vary depending on your room temperature and if you actually remembered to take out the butter and cream cheese in advance). Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, beating smooth with each addition. Finally, add the vanilla extract.
  8. Assembly: dollop about a tablespoon or more (depending on the size of the cookie) of frosting onto a cookie, then top with another, making a sandwich. Refrigerate 30 mins to set.
Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, who got it from a friend but also discovered it's an adaptation from the book Baked: New Frontiers in Baking.

P.S. Anyone know a way to prevent the outsides of the cookies from getting soggy in the fridge? Mine softened up and got all sticky after just a few hours!

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