i don’t recall exactly where i picked up this recipe originally (maybe it was from the washington post? or maybe just a recipe site online? i forget) but it’s been a go-to fall favorite for a few years now with some minor tweaks i’ve made along the way.
they smell glorious coming out of the oven and they’ve also proven very effective in winning over
pumpkin whoopie pies
depending on how large you make your dollops of dough, this could make anywhere from 12 big whoopie pies to 20-24 small ones. (the original recipe said it could make 40 small ones and i have no idea where they got that from, unless they were making miniscule pies.)
part I… the cookie/whoopie/cakeypie portion
what you need:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 heaping tablespoon ground cloves (i’ve used allspice when i was out of cloves)
- 2 cups packed dark brown sugar (light works too)
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 cups chilled pumpkin purée
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
what you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves together and set aside.
3. In a larger 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.
4. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.
5. Use a regular table spoon (not a measuring tablespoon) to scoop heaping spoonfuls of dough onto the lined baking sheets and make small dollops about one inch apart. Aim to make them about the same size so you have an easier time matching up pairs when it comes time to assemble. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, until the cookies are starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. (If you’ve made large cookies, they will take longer to cook through.) Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the pan. You don’t want your cookies to be hot or even warm when you’re assembling them, because they will make the frosting all melty and gross.
part II… cream cheese frosting filling
what you need:
- 3-4 cups confectioners sugar (in an ideal world, you should sift the sugar. but i never do. ain’t nobody got time for that.)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened (you can nuke in the microwave on medium heat for 10-20 seconds at a time, but don’t let it melt!)
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
what you do:
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter until it’s completely smooth, with no visible lumps. (If there are lumps, that means your butter is too cold, but sometimes you can beat the lumps into submission.) Add the cream cheese and beat until combined. (Same as the butter)
2. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. (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.) If it’s too melty, stick it in the fridge for a few minutes to harden a bit. But don’t let the frosting sit out by itself too long without being in an airtight container or else it will crust over and get crumbly on the edges.
part III… assemble your beautiful whoopie pies
Flip all your cooled pumpkin cakeycookies upside down. This way you can touch the flat sides to make sure they’re cool and easily fill and assemble the whoopie pies. Scoop a dollop of cream cheese frosting filling onto the flat side of a cookie, then gently press another similarly sized cookie’s flat side into the filling. It really doesn’t take a lot of filling before it starts squishing out of the edges (and I personally don’t like to overwhelm the pumpkin with cream cheese) so err on the side of less filling until you get the hang of what works. If you want to get fancy, you can use a piping bag and tip to make swirls, as seen in the first photo above.
Refrigerate for a half hour before serving, or just eat them right there, or store on a parchment-lined dish/pan and saran wrapped in the fridge. The cookies tend to get a little bit gooey if you leave them out, but you’ll probably end up eating them all immediately anyway.