Doesn’t that name just ooze all things fall and cozy? I love thinking it, saying it and writing it! It’s been a crazy week. We all know this. Things are still beyond awful and unimaginable for many. That is not lost on me. Yesterday, I volunteered with Meri, The Food Yenta and many others in my town at Good Life Gourmet to make lunches for 100+ kids without power, since our cafeteria wasn’t fully up and running yet. Even more importantly, we received such an incredible amount of donations from the community, and Eric Korn, the chef and owner of Good Life, kept providing fresh turkey, steak and other trays of hot food so we could continue the effort and provide 3 carloads of food and supplies to the people devastated by Hurricane Sandy in Breezy Point/The Rockaways and Staten Island. They are actually continuing to collect donations for those areas at Good Life Gourmet this week so, follow them on facebook for updates on what is needed.
Despite all of this, I needed to get back in the kitchen today. It’s therapeutic for me. I was reluctant at first but, once I started, I got lost in it and started to feel a little better. Does that sound crazy to you? If it doesn’t, I guess we can relate. I’ve had pumpkin on the brain for a couple of months now. As soon as the weather started changing, I knew I had to do something with it. I wasn’t sure what so, I googled. I started searching recipes and narrowed it down to either a pumpkin cheesecake, some sort of pumpkin bars or whoopie pies.
I’ve never actually had a whoopie pie before but, they kept coming up in my search for pumpkin recipes and looked good! One in particular was calling to me. It was a DIY: Whoopie Pie recipe on a fabulous blog I follow, Donuts Dresses and Dirt. Then, I saw this picture from Sara Bakes Cakes on Instagram a few weeks ago. She made Sheri’s recipe and it looked so good! Done. I knew I was going to try to adapt the recipe to make it gluten free and I did so last night.
With a bit of a consult from Sheri Silver and Sara Schneider, I was on my way. Sheri’s recipe didn’t work cup for cup with my usual gluten free flour blend so I had to add a little more. I was very happy with the end result. I definitely got my pumpkin fix and while I don’t know how these compare to regular whoopie pies, I do know they are delicious. The kids gobbled them up (and yes, I admit, I ate way too many as well)! The cookies are more like small little cakes and the filling is a bit thicker than frosting so it holds its form. The flavors of pumpkin, cream cheese, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger come together so nicely in this recipe. It’s the perfect fall dessert. Thank you, Sheri and Sara for the inspiration! Also, thank you, Meri and Eric for everything you are doing and for giving me the opportunity to feel like I made a bit of a difference.
- 2 C gluten free flour blend* (see link in post above)
- 1 t ginger
- ¾ t cinnamon
- ¼ t nutmeg
- ¾ t baking powder
- ¾ t baking soda
- ½ t salt
- ½ 15 oz. can (7.5 oz) pumpkin puree, chilled
- 1 C packed light brown sugar (15 oz.)
- ½ C canola oil
- 1 egg
- 4 T. dark brown sugar
- 1 T maple syrup
- 4 oz (1/2 C) cream cheese, room temperature
- 5 T unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 T maple syrup
- ¼ t of pumpkin pie seasoning (or ⅛ t of cinnamon and ⅛ t ground cloves)
- ⅛ t salt
- 3 C confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- Make the cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a mixer bowl beat the pumpkin, brown sugars, oil, egg and maple syrup for 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until incorporated.
- Using a pastry bag fitted with a large, plain, circular tip, pipe 1” diameter circles on the baking sheets, leaving about ½ “ between them. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cookies spring back when touched.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely
- Make the filling:
- In a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter – beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the maple syrup, pumpkin pie seasoning and salt and mix till incorporated.
- With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the sifted confectioner’s sugar and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. If the filling is too soft to hold its shape, add more confectioner’s sugar, 1 T. at a time, until you reach the desired consistency
- Assemble the whoopie pies:
- Turn half of the cooled cookies over so that the flat sides are facing up. Using the same tip you used to pipe out the cookies, pipe the filling in a circle onto each of the bottoms. Top with the remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges.
- Whoopie pies will keep for up to 3 days, chilled and covered in plastic wrap.