Monday, September 19, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Friends and family descended upon us today for a fun-filled week.  The freezer is full of homemade goodies, the menu is planned in a spreadsheet (of course), and the first dinner is behind us.  I made tapas tonight...three rounds plus dessert.

Round 1: Balsamic Bean Dip with veggies and pitas, fried green maters with ranch dressing
Round 2: Land's End (Homer, Alaska) Crab and Artichoke Dip with soft baguette, deviled eggs with pickled jalapenos.  Thanks to my mother in law for bringing 24 ounces of fresh dungeness crab!
Round 3: Trader Joe's Chicken Pot Stickers with homemade dipping sauce
Dessert Round:  Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (pictured below) and Lemon Sandwich Cookies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pie Recipe

3 c. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
2 T. cinnamon
1 T. ginger
1 T. cloves
2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
3 c. chilled pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Filling
3 c. confectioners' sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 t. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or use silpats. 

In a bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger together and set aside.  In a separate bowl, whisk the brown sugar and oil together until combined.  Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly.  Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.  Use a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cookies comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack.

For the filling, sift the confectioners' sugar into a medium bowl and set aside.  Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until it is completely smooth, with no visible lumps.  Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.

Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Be careful not to overbeat the filling, or it will lose structure.  Note:  The filling can be made one day ahead.  Let the filling soften to room temp before using.

Assemble the pies:  Turn half of the cookies upside down (flat side facing up).  Use a spoon to drop a large dollop onto the flat side of the cookie.  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 are used.  Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up before serving.

This recipe is from a wonderful cookbook, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.  One of my morning rituals is to drink coffee and read cookbooks that I borrow from the library.  This is a great read with super baking tips.  I encourage you to check it out!

P.S.  Email me if you want the delicious crab and artichoke dip recipe!

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