Every year at work, we have a Thanksgiving potluck lunch. Don’t think to yourself, “eh, it’s probably a wimpy potluck”. Nope! It’s a full on, Thanksgiving dinner. We order a turkey and ham, and everyone brings a side dish. This year we had: cornbread stuffing, broccoli, corn pudding, sweet potatoes with pecan praline, mac n cheese, pasta salad, green salad, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, punch, and a dessert table with an apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, fruit, and pumpkin whoopie pies.
This is how I start my Thanksgiving week. Actually, this is how I start my holiday season. I basically eat my way through New Year’s and then hit the gym until spring!
I wasn’t really planning on making the whoopie pies, but I had a bit of pumpkin left over from the scones, and I didn’t want it to go to waste. I’ve always wanted to try pumpkin whoopie pies, so now there was no excuse.
Cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg has to be one of my favorite spice combinations. Whenever you cook or bake with this blend, your house fills with the most wonderful aroma and makes me think of winter, snow, a nice fire in the living room and my family.
The whoopie pies came together without a hitch. The batter came together easily and baked to perfection. I actually added quite a bit of bourbon to my filling, so please don’t feel that you have to add the same amount. I’ve been in a boozy mood and have been added bourbon or brandy to everything lately! The texture was like the perfect mini cake in cookie form. Firm and sturdy enough to hold the bourbon cream filling, yet delicate and light at the same time.
I was never a big whoopie pie fan growing up, but now I love them. For me it’s like a less guilty way of having a piece of cake. I can just make a small batch, eat one (or three) and give the rest to friends.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Bourbon Cream
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin (not pie filling)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
- 6 ounces cream cheese (, softened)
- ¾ stick ((6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ½ cups confectioners' sugar
- 4 tablespoons bourbon ((optional; substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract))
Make the cookie-cakes
- Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices in a bowl.
- Whisk together sugar, oil, pumpkin, egg, and vanilla in a separate large bowl until well combined, then stir in flour mixture.
- Using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop or tablespoon measure, drop of batter onto a lined baking sheet to form 1 mound. Make 15 more mounds, arranging them 2 inches apart until baking sheet is full (you will have batter left over).
- Bake until springy to the touch, 12 to 18 minutes. Transfer cookie-cakes to rack to cool.
- Form and bake remaining batter on the other parchment-lined sheet. Leave oven on.
Make the bourbon cream filling
- While cookie-cakes are baking, beat cream cheese, butter, and salt in a bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar and bourbon and mix on low speed until smooth.
- Chill filling until firm enough to hold its shape when spread, about 30 minutes.
Assemble whoopie pies
- Spread 1 heaping tablespoon of filling each on flat side of half the cooled cookie-cakes, then top with other half of cookie-cakes. If necessary, chill whoopie pies just long enough to firm up filling again, about 30 minutes.
Adapted from Gina Marie Miraglia Enriquez