Pumpkin Whoopie Pies:
3 cups (390 grams) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups (410 grams) light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 - 15 ounce (425 grams) can pumpkin puree
1/4 cup (55 grams) vegetable shortening
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) (55 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (115 grams) confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) light corn syrup
For Pumpkin Whoopie Pies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, and salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (can also use a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. Beat in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Drop heaping tablespoons (can also use a small ice cream scoop) of the batter onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. With moistened fingers or with the back of a spoon, smooth the tops of the cakes.
Bake for about 10 - 12 minutes or until the tops of the cookies, when lightly pressed, spring back. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Filling: Beat the shortening and butter until soft and creamy. With the mixer on its lowest speed, gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar. Increase the speed to high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Then, with the mixer on low speed, beat in the vanilla extract and slowly drizzle in the corn syrup. Continue to beat until the filling looks like soft mayonnaise.
To Assemble: Take one cake and spread a heaping tablespoon of the filling on the flat side of the cake. Top with another cake. The assembled cookies can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for several days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Makes about 14 Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies take two round, domed shaped cookies and sandwich them together with a soft and creamy vanilla filling. The debate is ongoing, but they have their origins in either the Amish country of Pennsylvania or in New England. Nancy Baggett in her book "The All-American Cookie Book" gives an excellent account of their history. She tells us that they can be traced back to the depression era and the Berwick Cake Company of Boston was the first to start making them commercially (around 1926). Although we may never know who or how someone came up with these delicious cookies, the story is that one day a creative cook had leftover cake batter and decided to make large round cookies with it. When they turned out, the cook was heard to say "Whoopie!" "Pies.". If you are wondering why they are called "Pies", it is because cakes were once baked in pie tins, so the two names often became interchangeable.
Whoopie Pies come in a variety of flavors, chocolate, molasses, peanut butter, and pumpkin. While chocolate may be the favorite, Pumpkin Whoopie Pies is my choice. These cookies are wonderfully moist, soft and cake-like with a buttery pumpkin flavor. The recipe comes from "Cook What You Love" by Bob and Melinda Blanchard. I have used a different filling than the one they give in their book. Their recipe uses raw egg whites which I know many people do not like, so I opted instead for Wayne Harley Brachman's Creamy Vanilla Frosting from his book "American Desserts". This frosting has a nice vanilla flavor and is soft and creamy because of the addition of shortening and corn syrup. These cookies would be nice served after a Fall or Winter meal and would also make a pleasant surprise at Thanksgiving.
To make our lives easier instead of making our own pumpkin puree we can buy canned pure pumpkin. Just make sure you do not buy the pumpkin which already has the spices added to it. However, if you want to make your own puree start by using the smaller pumpkin varieties like Sugar Pie, Baby Bear or Cheese Pumpkin (approximately 5-7 lbs., 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 kg.). Then first cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise, remove all the seeds and stringy fibers, and then place cut-side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) for approximately 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours (depending on size) or until easily pierced with a knife. Scoop out the pulp and puree in a food processor until smooth. You do need to extract all the liquid, so strain the pumpkin through a cheesecloth lined strainer and then cool the puree before using.