Pumpkin Season and Whoopie Pies

By CAILIN BRINEY, for the Flathead Beacon Newspaper

The arrival of October certainly marks the official kickoff of fall, but for me it’s even more than that – it’s the start of pumpkin season!

I love all things pumpkin, but it’s one of those ingredients we don’t seem to bake with until the weather becomes cooler.

I don’t know why I wait until late September or early October to start baking with pumpkin, but I try to make up for it by making many, many pumpkin-filled goodies.

I also love the spices that traditionally accompany pumpkin, so I usually add just a little more than the recipe calls for to give the final product a more intense flavor.

Also, if the recipe doesn’t call for pumpkin pie spice, I always add it. I feel it gives any pumpkin creation more of a well-rounded flavor.

I recently made these pumpkin whoopie pies with nutmeg cream cheese frosting, and they have received rave reviews. If not everyone you’re serving is a fan of nutmeg, you can substitute cinnamon or you can leave it out altogether.

If you aren’t familiar with whoopie pies, you’re missing out – they are delightful.

They are similar to a sandwich cookie, but with a moist cake outside and a creamy frosting center.

I highly recommend doubling this recipe because they will not last long. I hope these whoopie pies will become a staple fall dessert in your house as they already have in mine.

Happy pumpkin season!

pumpkin-whoopies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. CourtesyPhoto.

COOKIE-CAKE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (15-oz) can pure pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

FILLING INGREDIENTS

  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 stick (6 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. nutmeg

PREPARE COOKIE-CAKES:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in middle.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, salt and spices in a bowl.

Whisk together brown sugar, oil, pumpkin, egg and vanilla in a separate large bowl until well combined, then stir in flour mixture.

Using a 1-oz ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop a scant scoop’s worth of batter or two scant tablespoons of batter onto a lined baking sheet to form one mound.

Make 15 more mounds, arranging them two inches apart until baking sheet is full (you will have batter left over).

Bake until springy to the touch, 12 to 18 minutes.

Transfer cookie-cakes to rack to cool.

Form and bake remaining batter on the other parchment-lined sheet.

You should have a total of 32 cookie-cakes.

PREPARE FILLING:

While cookie-cakes are baking, beat cream cheese, butter and salt in a bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.

Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and nutmeg, and mix on low speed until smooth.

Chill filling until firm enough to hold its shape when spread, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

ASSEMBLE WHOOPIE PIES:

Spread one heaping tablespoon of filling each on flat side of half the cooled cookie-cakes, then top with other half of cookie-cakes.

If necessary, chill whoopie pies just long enough to firm up filling again, about 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

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