Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple-Bourbon Cream Cheese Filling

Oh, fall. How I love you, with your abundance of squash. We picked up a couple pie pumpkins last weekend (along with acorn and butternut squashes) at Hurley Farms in Indian Lake. This one pumpkin produced some pumpkin risotto, a half dozen whoopie pies, and a 3" pumpkin cheesecake for the two of us. The pumpkin whoopie pies were for a friend's birthday--a friend who has a love for pumpkin as deep as I do. The recipe was an adapted recipe from How to Eat a Cupcake. She halved the recipe when she made it; I quartered it. I also made the frosting extra-special for my friend; instead of a standard cream cheese frosting, I made a maple-bourbon cream cheese frosting, which appeals to pretty much his entire flavor palate (and mine--the frosting was SO good)

The proportions are mine, with the original proportions in parenthesis.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Makes 14 cookies (7 pies if you can stand to wait until they are cool to taste that pumpkiny goodness)

5/8 cup all-purpose flour (2 3/4 cups)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (2 tsp)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (1 tsp)
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon (4 1/2 tsp)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (1 1/2 tsp)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (1 1/2 tsp)
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (1/2 tsp)
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temp (2 1/2 sticks)
1/4 cup sugar (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 tablespoon molasses (3 Tbsp)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (2 tsp)
1 large eggs (4)
1/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) (1 1/4 cups)
1 oz buttermilk (1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Whisk dry ingredients (except sugar) together in a medium bowl.
Using electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, molasses and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add pumpkin puree.
Mix in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions, beating until just combined.
Line large baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls (I used a number 24 ice cream scoop) onto prepared sheets, spacing 2 inches apart, leaving enough room for dough to spread.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center. Cool completely on wire racks before filling.

Maple-Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting (my own recipe)
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1-2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus more if needed
a bit of vanilla extract
a bit of maple extract
a good glug of bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve)

Blend cream cheese and butter until smooth and well combined. Add in 1 cup sugar and flavorings. Blend until combined. Add additional powdered sugar, a little at a time, until frosting becomes stiff enough to not run off the cookies. Taste for flavor, and adjust if necessary.

Spoon a good amount of frosting on half of the pies (or pipe on with a pastry bag), an squish a second pie on top. Place in the fridge for a while to let the frosting firm up some more. Then enjoy. Mmm.

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