Sunday, October 17, 2010

Making Whoopie (Pumpkin Whoopie Pies)

I like whoopie pies. I have liked them ever since I visited Amish country with my family more than ten years ago. Whoopie pies are almost like two thick cupcake tops with frosting in between. In other words, totally delicious.

This weekend I was planning to attend a pumpkin recipe swap and was in need of a simple pumpkin recipe that I could whip up in between a visit to the pumpkin patch and studying. I also needed a recipe for which I already had all of the ingredients. Enter: pumpkin whoopie pies.

I found this recipe in a neat little cookbook titled, Whoopie Pies : Dozens of Mix 'em, Match 'em, Eat 'em Up Recipes. The nice thing about this cookbook is that the cake recipes and frosting recipes are separate so that you can mix and match to your own tastes. So I decided upon the pumpkin cakes with maple frosting. The result was delectable.

This was, as I said, a very easy recipe to put together. I had two moments of panic: the consistency of the liquid ingredients before the dry were added looked a little off to me, and I was also afraid the the frosting was not going to come together because it looked grainy. Not to fear! The magic always happens toward the end! The cake batter was nice and thick and ploppable, and the frosting was thick and fluffy.

The verdict on this recipe was favorable. Everyone seemed to enjoy them, especially the frosting. They honestly make me think of pumpkin scones. The cake is thick, but soft and spicy. The frosting is fluffy and sugary with a hint of maple. They are a little big, though, so do I suggest sharing them. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
from Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell

For the cakes:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 1/2 cups solid pack pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together the dry ingredients (flour through salt) onto a sheet of waxed paper.

In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the brown sugar and butter on low speed until just combined. Add the pumpkin, then the egg, beating well. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.

Add the flour mixture and beat on low until just incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Using a small ice-cream scoop or 2-tablespoon scoop, drop about 2 tbsp of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 15 minutes each, or until the cake begins to crack and are firm to the touch. Let the cakes cool on the sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

for the Maple Frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk
2 tbsp maple syrup

In a medium bowl, beat the butter on low speed with a hand mixer until creamy. Add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, with the mixer on low until incorporated. Add the milk and maple syrup and beat on medium for 3 or 4 minutes to incorporate, scraping down the sides of the bowl periodically.

To assemble the pies: Take two similarly-shaped cakes and spread some frosting on the flat side of one cake, and place the flat side of the other cake against the frosted side.

Notes: the cakes will hold the shape that you scoop onto the tray. You should be able to fit 12 cakes onto a baking sheet. Make sure to remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently when preparing the cake batter to make sure everything is evenly Incorporated. When preparing the frosting, I combined the milk with the syrup and added a little bit to the sugar/butter mixture each time I added sugar.

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