Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I have always been a fan of Whoopie Pies and they have been a regular in my life since I was a kid. But it wasn’t until a 2011 trip to Wahlburger’s (think: Mark and Donnie) that I really knew that I HAD to perfect this recipe.

That’s right, the Wahlberg brother’s burger joint in Massachusetts inspired me to master the art of the Whoopie Pie!

See, I was there with my son hoping to catch a glimpse of Marky Mark.. I mean… get a quick bite to eat, when I noticed they had none other than the chocolate version of this famed Lancaster County delicacy sitting at the counter. I went up to investigate and wouldn’t you know, big brother Paul came out and started asking me about them (this was before he became a big time reality show star), and recommended that I try one.

I did. And then I took the opportunity to boast about visiting from good ol’ Amish Country, and knowing a thing or two about their little treat (literally one or two things was ALL I knew)…. secretly hoping Paul would offer me a job. Obviously that didn’t happen, but as soon as I got home I made it a point to be ready in case our paths ever crossed again.

They haven’t.

BUT I’m still holding out, and in the mean time I’ll teach you guys what they’re all about. Maybe if you and Paul ever come face to face you can put in a good word for me?

At Wahlburgers, they served chocolate. This is the classic, probably most popular version but definitely not the best. If you really want to impress, you need to go with the pumpkin/cream cheese combo.

The overall recipe for them is pretty simple, perfecting them is more about technique.

Start by lining your cookie sheet with wax paper. This will make sure your cookies come off clean and stay pretty. Change the paper each time you take them out of the oven.

As with any baked good, start by combining your dry ingredients in a separate bowl. I’ve tried a lot of recipes that call for less than a tablespoon in spices. This is not okay with me. Contrary to what a lot of people believe, pumpkin isn’t what makes these creations taste so good, but the spices (hence, “pumpkin SPICE” everything). For a good, strong flavor; you’ve got to be bold with these.

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It might look excessive, but it’s necessary. My 2 year old once dumped half a bottle of cinnamon in the mix, and I was told they were the best I’ve ever made.

Now, set that aside and start with the wet ingredients. I first combine the eggs and sugar, because that’s what most recipes advise. I never took the time to understand the science behind most aspects of baking, but I figure when everyone does things a certain way; there’s probably a reason.

Once that’s nice and creamy, add the oil and pumpkin. I like to use coconut oil because I just like it more than vegetable oil (what most recipes advise). You can never taste coconut, but it does give a little, tiny hint of something different. If you’re saving the coconut oil for your DIY spa treatments, veggie oil is okay.

Just put that all together, add the dry ingredients, and mix on low for about a minute.

THIS is where the technique comes in, so pay close attention. You want to take a tablespoon (the ones that come in your flatware set that are too big to eat with, so they just sit in the drawer) and get a heaping scoop.

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When placing it onto the sheet, you want to twirl your spoon in a circular motion as the mixture comes off, and continue that pattern while spreading out the batter so it’s thin. This helps keep them round and uniform looking. They should end up like this:

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They won’t spread , so it’s okay to put them semi-close together. Bake as directed.

When they come out of the oven, let them cool a little on the wax paper before removing so you don’t burn your fingers worrying about getting them off.

Repeat this step until they’re all done. Then get to work on the cream filling.

The filling is really simple; just whip your butter, cream cheese, and vanilla together and add the sugar. Make sure you scrape down the sides until it’s all incorporated.

I fill my cookies by piping the icing on, but you can spread with a butter knife or spatula if you don’t share my compelling need to be fancy. If you do, spoon your icing into a ziplock type back, squeezing out as much air as you can, and then cut a hole in one of the corners.

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I put a hefty blob on the inside of half of the cookies (because two cookies make a “pie”).

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This is really just so when you squeeze the cookies together, the filling will ooze outward and give you a clean look.

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If these look a lot thinner than traditional pies, it’s because they are. This makes them easier to eat!

Also note that this recipe only makes about 8 pies. If you’re baking for a crowd, double or triple the amounts.

Recipe

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 cup  canned pumpkin

1 8oz pkg of cream cheese

1/2 stick of butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Line a baking sheet with wax paper and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together dry ingredients and set aside.

Combine egg and sugar in your mixing bowl, add oil and pumpkin. When combined, add the dry ingredients.

Spoon your mixture onto the baking sheet in a circular motion, spreading it out into a round shape. Bake about 9 minutes or until solid to the touch.

For the filling:

Mix together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Add the sugar and whip until creamy.

Place filling in ziplock bag and pipe onto half of your cookies. Place the other half onto frosted cookies and squeeze together until the filling meets the edges.

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