Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

I'm not sure what's wrong with me, but I never really ate pumpkin-flavored anything until about a year or two ago. I have no idea why now; they're delicious! So far, I've tried out some pumpkin fudge, some pumpkin Hershey's kisses, pumpkin coffee cake, and thoroughly enjoyed them all. I even baked (and posted about) pumpkin cheddar muffins and loved every bite of those. Clearly, I have been missing out on a whole lifetime of pumpkin-y treats, and I deeply regret it now. So, obviously, I need to start making up for lost time!

These Pumpkin Whoopie Pies are a wonderful step in the right direction. Yet another treat from the Baked boys' first cookbook, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, these are just further proof (not that I needed it) that these guys are geniuses. Two luscious pillows of soft pumpkin cookie encase a sweet/tart cream cheese filling that's spiked with a generous splash of maple syrup. Now, the maple syrup is actually not in the Baked version of these whoopie pies. I found an adaptation of this recipe on the blog Brown Eyed Baker. When I read that hers had maple syrup, I was sold on it. I thought that would be the perfect addition to the filling.

Once again, I used my trusty whoopie pie pan to make these. I love that thing! I don't know if it's really necessary for these, but it sure does make a perfectly-shaped little whoopie. Isn't symmetry grand?

These are some of the most delicious whoopie pies I've ever eaten, pumpkin or otherwise. The cookies are spiced perfectly, and the filling is an amazing blend of smooth, creamy, decadent, and sweet. I would have stuffed these with even more filling, if I could have, but the ratio really was spot-on. The extra filling would have just made me greedy, and gluttonous, and who needs that?

Anyway, I couldn't recommend these whoopie pies any more highly to you. They're a fantastic fall treat, easy to make, and even easier to devour (just have a napkin handy!). They would not be a bad idea to bring for dessert at Thanksgiving this year. No matter what the occasion, just try them! Serious yum.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Filling
adapted from Baked and Brown Eyed Baker
makes about 24 assembled whoopie pies

For the whoopie pies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the maple cream cheese filling:
3 cups powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, or lightly spray a whoopie pie pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and the oil. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix until completely combined.

3. Using a small cookie scoop or a large spoon, drop rounded, heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets (spacing 1 inch apart) or whoopie pie pan. Bake for 11 to 14 minutes, making sure that a toothpick inserted into the center of a whoopie pie comes out clean. The cookies should also spring back when touched. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack.

4. To make the filling, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth with no visible lumps, about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, then add the maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth.

5. To assemble the whoopie pies, turn half of the cooled cookies upside down. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies have been filled and sandwiched. Refrigerate the whoopie pies for about 30 minutes to firm before serving. These will keep in the fridge for about 3 days. Do not stack them; line a baking sheet or covered container with wax paper to place the pies on.

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