Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I’ve baked a lot of pumpkin treats over the past few years, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that these whoopie pies are probably my very favorite.  I liked them so much that I decided to post them today even though I’ve seen them on several other blogs already over the past few months.  On the off chance that there’s someone out there who hasn’t come across this recipe, I figured they were worth sharing because they are beyond delicious!

The cookies are really more like tiny cakes – soft, spicy and moist – that are guaranteed to fill your house with the scents of autumn baking while in the oven.  Sandwiched between the cookies is a cream cheese filling, the perfect mate to pumpkin goodies in my opinion.  They’re a bit labor intensive, but not difficult at all, and so worth the effort.  A few weeks ago our friends had an Oktoberfest gathering, and though I wasn’t able to attend, I sent Shane with these whoopie pies and I heard that they were a big hit there too.  I just opened a big can of pumpkin puree the other day to make a pie, and the leftover pumpkin is sitting in my fridge, earmarked for another batch of these whoopie pies.  I think they’ll be the perfect snack for the Patriots game on Sunday as we take on the Chargers :)

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
adapted from Baked by Matt Lewis & Renalto Poliafito (originally seen on Annie’s Eats)

Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
3 cups canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Filling
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and nutmeg.  In another bowl, whisk the sugars and oil together.  Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly.  Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.  Finally, gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine completely.

Use a small scoop (or a large spoon) to drop rounds of dough (about 1.5-2 tablespoons each) onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean.  Remove from the oven, then let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Repeat with remaining dough.

To make the filling, beat the butter on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth.  Add the cream cheese and beat to combine.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.

To assemble the whoopie pies:  Turn half of the cookies over so the flat side is up.  Put the cream cheese filling in a disposable pastry bag and cut a hole from the end.  Pipe the filling onto the flat side of the turned cookies.  Sandwich with the remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so the filling spreads to the edge.  Cover the whoopie pies and transfer them to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.