Looking back at this frenetic second week of school, I honestly cannot fathom how I had time to make a normal dinner last Friday, never mind produce and photograph pumpkin whoopie pies. And yet. Here they are. I’m not the world’s most obsessive sweets fan, but I would take one of these again right now if you asked — and not just to bring myself down from the amped-up schedule. (That’s what wine is for, come on.) Still. Perfectly cupcake-sized pumpkin whoopie pies with cream cheese filling lightly flavored with maple and vanilla? Is there a world where that’s not the right answer? Not in my backyard.*
* If I do say so, I’m getting SHOCKINGLY good at amortizing my law degree in unconventional ways.
Despite all the pretense up there in the intro, these fall treats don’t actually take very long to make, and the kids — and, okay, adults — went totally nuts over them. (But don’t worry, they’re nut-free until you add your family to the equation.) Plus, I think they actually tasted even better the second day, when the cakey-cookie thingies had relaxed a bit. So there’s that.
I should say that the idea for these goodies came from a trip to Volante Farms in Needham, Massachusetts, where they had something similar in the bakery case as early as August. (Either that or I hallucinated them or at least extrapolated them from some other whoopie pies — I can’t remember for sure.) But, as ever, it looks like the internet already knows about pumpkin whoopie pies with cream cheese filling. There are no new food ideas — only new mouths to stuff them into.
This recipe uses one cup of pumpkin puree from a 15-ounce can, but don’t growl at me just yet. Here’s what to do with the leftover half cup of pumpkin. (Psst…it’s a REALLY delicious, vegan and good-for-ya pumpkin spice smoothie that I made for Serious Eats a while back.)
That’s all for now. Have a great Friday. See you soon.
For the batter:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the filling:
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg allspice, cloves and salt.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat together the butter and sugar for two minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each until well incorporated. Add the pumpkin and vanilla and beat until incorporated. (The mixture will look curdled. Don’t worry.)
Pour in the dry ingredients and mix on the lowest speed until just incorporated. You may want to do the last little bit of mixing by hand.
Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper (or lightly grease). Drop batter onto baking sheets about two tablespoons at a time, to make 10 cookies on each sheet, nicely spaced out.
Bake for a total of 16 minutes (or until the tops spring back a bit when touched), swapping the position of the baking sheets halfway through to ensure even cooking. Cool completely on a rack before filling.
Combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla and maple syrup in a medium mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Mix, starting on low and increasing speed to medium as you go, until smooth and well-mixed, about 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar and mix on the lowest speed until incorporated. Then increase speed and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes more.
Spread icing onto the flat side of half the cookies and top with the remaining cookies to make sandwiches. The whoopie pies will keep well overnight on the counter (put them on a plate and cover with foil), or you can refrigerate them for a couple of days.