I don't know about you, but my love of pumpkin doesn't end at Thanksgiving. I love the warm spices that make you feel so good in cold (well, cooler) weather.
I found these over at Butter + Cream in early November and just knew I had to make them. It took me a while to find time between big research papers and not finding ground cloves anywhere, so I ended up making them Monday of Thanksgiving week. But they turned out amazing!
I'll include the original recipe below, but we did make a couple alterations/notice some things to make a note of, which will be highlighted along with the recipe.
The very first thing you need to do is chill your pumpkin puree (and make sure it's puree, not the pie mix.) Just like most cookie batter, warm dough is not a good idea. So pour it into a bowl and pop it in the fridge while you put together the rest of the ingredients. If you're quick in the kitchen you might want to do it even a little earlier. It doesn't need to be cold, but it needs to be cool throughout.
For the actual recipe, I started by measuring 2 cups of firmly packed dark brown sugar. It's important to get the dark brown version, not light brown! You also need to pack it down in the measuring cup with a spoon or spatula to make sure you get enough.
Something I learned the hard way is that you want to put the brown sugar in your big, mix it all together bowl. I put my flour in the biggest bowl and had to swap it out when it came time for mixing everything.
Next I combined the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices in a bowl, and whisked them together. If you're like me here in odd ball Miami, and you can't find ground cloves, you can use a coffee bean grinder to blend up whole cloves. Just make sure to put enough in at once to get them ground fine enough (we had a couple gritty bits of clove in some cookies). Set that bowl aside.
Mix the oil into the brown sugar until you have an even consistency. It'll seem over oily at this stage, but don't worry about it. When you put everything together it works out perfectly.
Grab the pumpkin from the fridge and mix it into the sugar/oil combo. Ahh, now you're beginning to see why I said make this your biggest bowl!
When well mixed, add the eggs and vanilla. And don't worry still, it will be very liquidy (is that a word?).
Slowly mix in your flour mixture and now you'll see it thicken up. A spoon or spatula might be a good idea here, rather than the whisk. Or if you just want the workout, then have at it.
Ta-da! You're ready to bake! We deviated from the recipe on two things here. First, it says to line the baking sheets with parchment paper. Well, we just gave them a light PAM spray and it was fine.
Next, we don't own an ice cream scoop with the little releaser thing inside, so I used a tablespoon measuring spoon. The batter is pretty sticky, so it didn't come out very easily unless I made it an enourmously heaping spoonful. Later I switched to a 2 Tbsp. measuring spoon (All Clad has these measuring cups & spoons that are odd sizes, came in pretty handy more than once on this recipe.).
Our cookies never really "cracked" on top like the recipe says, but the baking time was still spot-on. I always bake at the minimum time and then check them. I think we ended up checking at the minimum and then baking another minute. They should still be pretty soft and sponge like.
While the cookies are baking, make the filling. You can also make the filling the day before and just refrigerate it. Using either a stand or hand mixer, beat a full stick of butter until smooth. Add the cream cheese and blend the two.
Please ignore the monster hand there! Yikes! Sift the powdered sugar before adding it to the mixture. And yes, I mean sift not just pour. You can use a colander or preferably a little mesh thingy like this:
As I'm sure you all know, go slowly when you add the powdered sugar, unless you want a mushroom cloud of sugar in your face. Don't forget to add the vanilla at this stage too.
After it's well blended you're ready to make whoopie pies! Two temperature things: the cookies need time to cool before assembly and the filling needs to be room temp to be spreadable. Now, the recipe says fill a pastry bag and pipe your filling in, but I just used an icing spatula and spread a dollop on mine.
See how some cookies are different sizes? I'd suggest before you start icing and assembling, you match up your cookies. Hopefully it goes without saying, but put the icing on the flat side of just one cookie, then smush them together a bit to spread the icing and cement them together.
And there you have it! Yummy whoopie pies! They are pretty tough to store, because they're a moist cookie they stick to everything, including each other. So plan on cling wrap, parchment paper, or a lot of space taken up in your fridge! Although the recipe says it makes 12 cookies, I had 24 and ended up with 4 or 5 containers of them in my fridge just days before Thanksgiving because I didn't have parchment paper to separate them in one big thing.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
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
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
Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside. (Or spray lightly with a non-stick spray)
In a large (medium) 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 (or stir, the whisk gets clogged) 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 (or just use a hand mixer with regular beaters), 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. (Also see my version of assembly and storage if you don't want to mess with baking sheets & pastry bags. Plus, I refrigerated for about a week and they were fine.)
I hope you all enjoy the cookies as much as Mr. Puma & I did!
You can also check out my recipe on Tatertots & Jello's Weekend Wrap-Up, fudge ripple's Tuesday Night Supper Club and Sew Chatty's Made with Love Monday.