One of Elizabeth's family's favorite things to eat during the holidays are pumpkin whoopie pies with cream cheese filling. While they might not seem like the most healthy of foods, they are certainly better than the whoopie pie options sitting on grocery store shelves - the kind chock full of unnatural preservatives. (That reminds me, did you hear that Hostess is no longer making Twinkies?)
I happened to be have the honor, or at least I thought, of judging the whoopie pie contest at the Vermont State Fair this year. More than twenty whoopie pie bites later, I regretted my involvement. However, out of the many entries, by far the best was a pumpkin whoopie pie with cream cheese filling. That's why I'm in support of these. That, and pumpkin itself is low in fat, calories and sodium and high in vitamins, fiber, and Iron.
To make these pies you need three cups of pumpkin puree. Getting your own puree out of a pumpkin, as opposed to a can, is easy to do, I talk more about it on our Harvest Watch blog. It's then just as easy to freeze the puree to save for other times of year, such as now.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling
For the Cream-Cheese Filling
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Pumpkin Whoopie Cookies
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cloves
- 2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Start by making the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.
Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.
Make the filling: Sift confectioner' sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla, beat just until smooth. (Filling can be made up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate; let stand at room temperature to soften before using.)
Assemble the whoopie pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag and snip the end. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate cookies at least 30 minutes before serving and up to 3 days.
Recipe from marthastewart.com