Usually when I think about whoopie pies, my thought process isn't too complicated. I want to eat that. Preferably now. But making pumpkin whoopie pies for the first time, I started analyzing the white, fluffy innards.
Amish markets typically whip up a combination of powdered sugar, Crisco, vanilla, and eggs. Martha Stewart skips the Crisco and uses butter, throwing in some Marshmallow Fluff too. Some people take the shortcut, using just Marshmallow Fluff. But my favorite whoopie pie fillings are the ones with cream cheese.
Cream cheese frosting is a beautiful thing. Carrot cake, where would you be without it? Somewhere with no friends, that's for sure. This recipe from Baked by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito of the same-named bakery in Brooklyn, combines the cream cheese filling with super spiced pumpkin cakey-cookie nubs (those things need an official name). They get that great Autumny taste—packed with cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and three whole cups of pumpkin puree—and even a baking klutz like me had no problems making them.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have a copy of Baked to give away this week.
Read more: Happy Halloween From Serious Eats!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cloves
- 2 cups packed dark-brown sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 cups chilled pumpkin purée
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves 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 prepared baking sheets, about one inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cookie comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the pan while you make the filling.
For the Cream Cheese Filling: Sift the confectioners' sugar into a medium bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter until it's 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. (The filling can be made one day ahead. Cover the bowl tightly and put it in the refrigerator. Let the filling soften at room temperature before using.)
Assembling the Whoopie Pies: Turn half of the cooled cookies upside down (flat side facing up).
Use an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon to drop a large dollop of filling 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 whooopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up before serving.
The whoopie pies will keep for up to 3 days, on a parchment-lined baking sheet covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator.