For part three of the “what to do with a 10-pound pumpkin” series, I decided to make pumpkin whoopie pies. This was my first attempt at any type of whoopie pie; I devised a recipe based upon my pumpkin bread and adjusted ingredient ratios by comparing a handful of other recipes. I offer 3 variations on the cream cheese filling – classic vanilla, almond, and molasses (“brown sugar”).
This would be a great recipe to make with children. The pies are lots of fun to assemble, and the fact that they’re rather humble-looking to begin with means that they’re hard to mess up. Happy baking!
2 cups (14 oz) light brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
¾ tsp ginger
1 ¼ tsp salt
3 cups (24 oz) fresh pumpkin puree (see here for recipe)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients (flour, leavenings, salt, and spices) in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients in two additions, mixing on lowest setting after each addition. Stir in pumpkin on lowest setting.
One a cookie sheet (or half sheet pan) lined with parchment paper, drop batter by 1-3 tablespoon scoops, working quickly to prevent batter from spreading too much. Take care to space the scoops at least 2 inches apart (or more for larger “cookies”).
A cookie scoop works best for consistent shape and size. I used three different sizes (approximately 3 Tbsp, 2 Tbsp, and 1 Tbsp each). Adjust baking time depending on cookie size: 13-14 minutes for large, 12 minutes for medium, and 10 minutes for small.
Allow to cool on parchment paper for 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack. Once cookies are cool, proceed with filling.
Cream Cheese Filling (Vanilla, Almond, or Molasses)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 Tbsp (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of salt
flavoring of choice*
1 tsp vanilla extract or
1 tsp almond extract or
1-2 tsp blackstrap molasses (start with 1 tsp & taste) + 1 tsp vanilla extract
Beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sugar and salt. Mix well, starting at lowest setting and gradually increasing speed to medium-high. Add flavoring.
Spread filling onto flat side of cookie and press flat side of second cookie on top. Set completed pies on wax paper.
Whoopie pies can be served immediately but will hold their shape best when chilled in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
*All three of the filling variations work equally well. The vanilla is classic, the almond is a fun twist, and the molasses is something a little different. I like that the molasses offsets the sweetness of the filling. And since brown sugar is just sugar with molasses (either unrefined sugar or refined sugar with molasses added back in), putting molasses in the filling essentially turns it into “brown sugar” cream cheese filling, which has some depth that the others lack.
If using molasses, take care that you don’t add too much and overpower the pumpkin flavor.