December 24, 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

i wanna lick that frosting

I realize that pumpkin is technically more suited for the likes of November's seasonal eating.  You're probably thinking that perhaps I should have made an egg nog inspired whoopie pie or even basic chocolate ones flecked with peppermint candy canes. But ya know what?  I had already made these. Over a month ago. And I had already photographed these.  So I thought, the hell with it.  I'm posting them anyway.

Come to think of it, why do we, on average, only eat pumpkin one month out of the year?  It's sold year round in supermarkets, the canned version anyway.  It's delicious. It's healthy.  So why not?  Maybe I'll just have to make it my mission to change this.

three little whoopies all in a row...

Pumpkin or no pumpkin, however, whoopie pies are becoming increasingly popular.  Some even claim it's on its way to replacing the cupcake as the next "It" dessert.  There are others out there, however, who believe it's the French macaroon that is on its way to the top.  I prefer macaroons to whoopie pies, but macaroons take a skilled hand. (You might recall this from last December- a humiliating display of macaroon technique. I plan to give this another go within the upcoming weeks). The beauty of the whoopie pie although, is that there is basically an endless array of flavor combinations.  If it can work as a cupcake (or cake), it can work as a whoopie pie.  After all, whoopie pies began their existence as a way to use up leftover cake batter, which is merely plopped by the spoonful onto a baking sheet, the same way cookie dough is.

Now, the whoopie pie purist might be some what put off by my use of a cream cheese frosting in this recipe. Original whoopie pies were made with a marshmallow fluff filling, but that's not very fun.  Or creative.  Or very forgiving to flavor additions. So I'll make my whoopie pies any way I see fit.  And you can too.

Whoopie! I love pies!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Spice Cake
recipe heavily adapted from Bon App├Ętit 

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 teaspoons finely grated orange peel

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a whoopie pie pan with nonstick cooking spray. (If not using a whoopie pie pan, use a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper). Whisk first 8 ingredients in large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat pumpkin, sugar, and oil in another large bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to incorporate between additions. Mix in orange peel. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed until just combined. Spoon 2 tablespoons of batter into each cavity of pan; spread batter to the edges. Cavity should be about 2/3 full. (If not using pan, drop 2 tablespoons of batter on to prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly with the back of a spoon).

2. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when touched. Cool in pan 8 minutes. Remove cakes from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before filling. Repeat process with remaining batter. 

3. To assemble pies, spread frosting (or pipe with a piping bag filled with frosting) on the flat side of half the cakes.  Top each frosted cake with another cake.  Voila! 

*I poured sprinkles around the edges of the frosting for added decoration.  Chopped pecans would be yummy too!
makes 20-24 whoopie pies

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

16 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter softened
6 cups confectioner's sugar
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp maple extract (optional)

1. Beat the cream cheese and butter together in a large bowl until blended and creamy.  Gradually add the confectioners sugar and beat until combined.  Add the maple syrup and extract if using and beat until smooth.  Store in refrigerator for up to one week. 

makes 3 cups