Monday 4 November 2013

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkins are a relatively recent addition to the Hallowe'en scene here in Scotland.  I used to have to hunt around a fair amount to find them, but now they are at every supermarket and veg stall in town. Mostly they are the small, "pie" pumpkins rather than the large ones fit only for carving, which means I feel guilty if I don't at least attempt to cook them afterwards.  I bought and carved three pumpkins this year, then chopped them, steamed them, peeled them, pureed them, and drained them, so I had a fair amount of pumpkin and a good understanding of why most people just use a can.  Of course, I also have a bag of pumpkin in my freezer from two years ago, but we're just going to ignore that for now.

This recipe uses 3 whole cups of pumpkin, so it seemed a good way to make a dent in my jack-o-lantern supply.  Until I'd made these, I'd never made whoopie pies before, but I think I'm pretty sold on them now.  I just don't know how to store or transport them well, as they seem to be kinda sticky.  But first, you have to get together a few things:

Oil and sugar first.  The oil keeps them from drying out, but doesn't add flavour, so there has to be a lot of other good stuff going on to compensate for that.  Brown sugar is one.

Pumpkin is another.  Not so bright as the stuff in the can, but allegedly they don't actually use pumpkins to make the canned stuff.  It's some weird squash hybrid.

I mixed all that together: 

And then added a couple eggs.

Meanwhile, in another bowl, I put flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and ground nutmeg together to add flavour:

Then dumped it into the liquid mix and stirred it all together.  It's a pretty forgiving mixture; I had some small lumps like muffin batter due to the fact I didn't have as smooth a puree as the canned kind, but it all worked out well in the end.

You can just put spoonfuls on a tray but I thought I'd try piping it.  Here's an easy way to fill your piping bag in case you haven't done it before - use a tall glass to hold it in place.  Works a treat.

I piped rounds onto the lined tray then stuck them in the oven for about 9 minutes.

They came out looking good...

But with the odd brown sugar lump.  I can live with that.

Then I whipped up some filling.  I didn't have as much icing sugar as the recipe demanded, but anyway it seemed too sweet before when I made it.  I also increased the proportion of butter to cream cheese, as I found last time it was a bit runny.  I cut down the vanilla and maple syrup too.  It definitely held together better this time.

Then I tried to match them by size as best I could and voila!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies adapted from Annie's Eats
Yield: about 32 sandwich cookies


For the pumpkin cookies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the maple cream cheese filling:
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Cooking View


  • To make the pumpkin cookies, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl, whisk sugars and oil together.  Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly.  Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.  Sprinkle the flour mixture over the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.
  • Transfer the cookie batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip .  Pipe small rounds of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1½-2 inches in diameter.  (If your dough seems to thick to pipe, you can drop scoops of it onto the baking sheet.  Or just add a bit more liquid.  This recipe is pretty forgiving.)
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pan for about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Repeat with remaining batter.
    To make the filling, combine the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-heat speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.  Add the powdered sugar, maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Be careful not to overbeat the filling or it will lose structure.  
  • To assemble, pair the cookies up by size.  Spoon filling onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair, and sandwich together with the remaining cookie.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm before serving.

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