Believe it or not, I haven’t always liked pumpkin. In fact, it wasn’t until about five years ago that I started realizing pumpkin didn’t always mean a mushy and often tasteless pie eaten at Thanksgiving in the name of tradition. These muffins were undoubtedly the gateway treat that started it all, and I’ve never looked back. These pumpkin whoopie pies are another recipe from the earlier days of this blog that helped convert me to the pumpkin lover I am today. These two- or three-bite treats are just the right size to satisfy your sweet tooth or pumpkin craving. It’s a bit like an inside out pumpkin cupcake, but you don’t have that pesky wrapper to slow you down. Ha!
I enjoyed the opportunity to revisit and put a few minor tweaks on this recipe. This time around I made the batter slightly thinner and piped rounds onto the baking sheets, rather than scooping them. I prefer this because it gives the cookies a nice smooth surface. Any irregularities in the piped batter can be smoothed down with the back of a damp spoon before baking. While the cookies are baking, whip up the filling. Then once the cookies are cool, assemble and voila! You’ve got a cute little fall treat that can be enjoyed with coworkers, tailgating, at parties, and more.
Yield: about 32 sandwich cookies
For the pumpkin cookies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup canola oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the maple cream cheese filling:
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, cold
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
To make the pumpkin cookies, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk sugars and oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.
Transfer the cookie batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip (I use an Ateco #809). Pipe small rounds of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1½-2 inches in diameter. (If your dough seems to thick to pipe, you can drop scoops of it onto the baking sheet. Or just add a bit more liquid. This recipe is pretty forgiving.)
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pan for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.
To make the filling, combine the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-heat speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth. Be careful not to overbeat the filling or it will lose structure. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip.
To assemble, pair the cookies up by size. Pipe filling onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair, and sandwich together with the remaining cookie. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm before serving.