Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Last Sunday we had an office Octoberfest party at my Chief's house; he worked at a Japanese steak house when he was in high school/college and so he makes a mean fried rice and teriyaki chicken.

He made all of the food for the main feast but asked that we bring desserts and drinks; I of course brought a surprise there.

The day actually started off with me standing in line for the WH garden tour (first pic); it is October, but it has been unseasonably warm and though it was a beautiful day my choice of attire was entirely inappropriate and I was just flat out hot.

I arrived late (trying to find parking near the WH) so I missed my friends and then ended up not actually going on the tour. The line was seriously long, I had been before and my WH buddy said it wasn't work the wait...I had a ton of stuff to do that I hightailed it back home.

Dan spent most of the week on business travel so it was just me and Remster to fend for ourselves (we did fine--I actually become rather productive when he is away.)

However, I am seriously contemplating baby gates for our house because when I'm cooking he feels that it is his time for mayhem in the basement and inevitably he destroys something while I am distracted in the kitchen.

This recipe is pretty straightforward, yet a bit time consuming due to the steps in the process. I also can only fit 2 sheet pans comfortably in my oven at any given time (and it is not convection) so I'm a bit more limited there. Read, I started this recipe at 2pm and I was not finished until after 4pm.

I am not 100% satisfied with this yet (I never am really...need to work on this!)--I might add more spice next time I make these--thought they needed a little extra something. I've found a new butter love (above), Lurpak.

I am a sucker for cream cheese frosting, so this was right up my alley--pecans might be a good addition to the filling for next time....

I individually wrapped the pies in clear plastic wrap like I did for the oatmeal cream pies (they travel much better this way). Then I added a little sticker to the back so that they stayed together better.

For the "sticker" I used 2.5" circle Paper Source labels in Poppy and just stamped them with a pumpkin rubber stamp I got from PS last year in a brown chalk ink. I wrote the Pumpkin Whoopie Pie part with a brown micron pen and the other little bit is just my personal mark.

The recipe came from the Brown Eyed Baker site and I slightly modified it from her original.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Filling
For the "pies" a loose term only because they are more like little cakes.
3 cups AP Flour
2 1/4 tablespoons Ceylon cinnamon (I basically do 2 hefty tablespoons because I love it so)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
3 cups canned pumpkin (basically 1 and 1/2 cans--use the rest of the pumpkin for pasta...recipe to come later!)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Maple-Cream Cheese Filling
2 cups powdered sugar (do this to taste--I like a bit of tang from the cream cheese--original recipe calls for 3 cups of powdered sugar--I literally open a box of confectioner's sugar and add until it is to my taste)
8 ounces Philly cream cheese, (i.e. one brick) at room temp; Philly is the best--I've tried to go organic with this and the texture is just not there.
4 ounces (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temp
3 tablespoons maple syrup (grade B is best--I used grade A because I had that in my pantry!)
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract (or a bit of vanilla bean paste would do well also)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (or a silpat

2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients: AP flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the two sugars...granulated and dark brown with the oil to emulsify. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Crack your eggs in a small bowl, whisk to break up, add the vanilla to this bowl then slowly incorporate into your wet ingredients

4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk until combined. A rubber spatula is also of good use here.

5. Use a small cookie scoop to drop a rounded tablespoon of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. The dough is really rather dense so I had to tap my baking sheet on the counter (on a towel to protect the granite) to make them spread a bit--otherwise they don't spread much.

6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating your sheet half way through, pull when a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. The "cookies" should feel firm when touched--like a pumpkin bread. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack.

7. To make the filling, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth with no visible lumps, about 3 minutes. It is imperative that both the butter and cream cheese are room temp or this will not be pretty! Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth, roughly 2 minutes. Slowly add the powdered sugar, drizzle in the maple syrup and vanilla on low until combined.

8. To assemble the whoopie pies: Turn half of the cooled cookies upside down. Dollop the filling (about a tablespoon) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie and you have a nice sandwich. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving.

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