Recipe: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Cream Cheese Filling

For the whoopie pies:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon table salt

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup packed light brown sugar 

½ cup canola oil

1 large egg

1 tablespoon dark molasses

For the vanilla cream cheese filing:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon table salt

3 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided

A few drops of milk, if needed

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, oil, egg and molasses for 3 minutes at medium speed. Thoroughly scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture for a total mixing time of 30 seconds. Carefully scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (the hole should be about as large as the tip of your ring finger), pipe out 2-inch diameter circles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving 1 1/2 inches between each. Keep the pastry bag completely vertical to achieve clean circles. 

Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet, and bake 8 to 10 more minutes until the whoopie pies have a deep orange color and spring back when touched. Remove pies and let them cool completely. 

To fill the whoopies, turn half over so that they are bottomside up. Using a pastry bag, pipe a small dollop of vanilla cream cheese filling onto each whoopie bottom. Top with the remaining whoopies.

Yield: 18 whoopie pies.

To make the cream cheese filling, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. 

With the mixer running on low, gradually add the vanilla, salt and roughly 2 ½ cups of confectioners’ sugar, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl. If the consistency is too soft to hold its shape, add more confectioners’ sugar a tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. If the filling is too stiff, add a few drops of milk.

Store filling in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.