Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie PiesPumpkin Perspective
Halloween is here and I am just not feeling the Halloween spirit. I’m thinking that it’s because our priorities are focused elsewhere this week. Maybe it’s because most of the Bay Area is worried about having power or, worse if their house is still standing. It’s probably more important to have candles to see at night versus candles to put in your pumpkin. I’m just sayin’.

It is kind of a bummer, though. I actually had plans to make fun treats and dress up like I usually do. But, I no longer have the will nor the energy. This past weekend wore me down mentally. At one point there was fire 4 miles to the south of me and fire 3 miles to the west of me with air tankers overhead. With those ridiculous winds, you just didn’t know where it was going to pop up next. It’s the unpredictability that drives you nuts. Thankfully, my home was not threatened but I got a tiny taste of what they are going through in Healdsburg and the surrounding areas. My heart goes out to everyone. I can’t even imagine the stress and heartbreak…

I may still try to make the Whoopie Pies that I had planned on because, you know, stress eating. Whoopie Pies, I have been told, are an East Coast thing. I love them—though I couldn’t tell you where I was the first time I tried one. The traditional version features a chocolatey cakey cookie that is filled with vanilla-flavored cream. Kinda like a giant, soft Oreo. The recipe I was planning to make for Halloween have pumpkin cakes with a cream cheese filling. Anything with cream cheese filling is a winner in my book. And, I have made these before and I know how good they taste.

Here’s hoping conditions improve and the fires can be put out quickly. In the meantime, if you have the will and you have the power, give these treats a go. I am fairly confident they will improve anyone’s mood.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Yields 1 dozen 4-inch Whoopie Pies

For the cookies
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
one 15-ounce can pumpkin purée
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling
8-ounce package cream cheese at room temperature
4 tablespoons soft butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the cookies
Preheat the oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. (You can grease them if you don’t have the parchment paper.)

Beat together the butter, oil, sugar, molasses, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices until well-blended. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then beat in the eggs one at a time until the batter is fluffy. Next, stir in the pumpkin purée.

Add half of the flour to the batter and mix well. Repeat with the second half of the flour.

Use a 1/4-cup scoop to deposit the thick batter onto the prepared baking sheets. Leave 2″ around each mound so the cookies can spread while baking.

Bake until the cookies feel firm to the touch. A slight indentation will remain when you gently press them in the middle (about 16 to 18 minutes).

Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing them to a rack to finish cooling.

Make the filling
Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy. Then beat in the sugar in two additions.

Add the vanilla and continue beating until very fluffy (about 2 to 3 minutes).

Assemble the sandwiches
When the cookies are completely cool, spread about two tablespoons of filling on the flat side of one cookie and top with the second cookie.

Your Whoppie Pies are best stored individually wrapped in plastic wrap and in an air-tight container in the fridge. Allow the Whoopie Pies to reach room temperature before serving.

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