What did I send her, you ask? Well, I tend to mail baked goods to people for their birthdays instead of actual gifts unless I know there's something they absolutely want and specifically asked for. So I was thinking about what my friend really likes. I've already made her Homemade Reese's Cups, which is her favorite chocolate candy. Since it was fall, I kept thinking of something with pumpkin and then these whoopie pies popped into my head!
Back when we were in college, a group of us went to Staunton a lot to watch plays at the American Shakespeare Center. Before or after the play, we always stopped by the cafe right next door. This cafe sold Pumpkin Whoopie Pies and my friend always got one. I never tasted these before I made them myself so I don't know how they compare, but she very much enjoyed them and one of her classmates in grad school said it was the best thing he had eaten in a while! I will take that as a success. I'm also glad they got to her in good condition. To send these pies, I froze them individually by wrapping in plastic wrap. Then I made sure to place them in a ziploc bag when shipping them to help keep them fresh while traveling.
There's been a lot of pumpkin in my life this year more than ever, especially this past weekend. My boyfriend and I went to a farm, which had hayrides, a corn maze, a pumpkin patch where we could pick one pie pumpkin for free, and a pile of huge carving pumpkins. With the pie pumpkins, we made homemade pumpkin puree to make pumpkin mac and cheese with bacon for dinner one night and then pumpkin pie french toast for breakfast one morning. The only difference the pumpkin made in the mac and cheese was the texture, but the french toast was delicious! I used the recipe from Closet Cooking but it looks like you can just add 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree to your standard french toast batter with a small amount of pumpkin pie spice. Add a side of fried apples and you've got a great fall brunch!
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
From Kitchen Konfidence
For the pies
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp fine grain sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground cloves
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin purée
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the frosting
4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
12 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
In a large bowl, add flour, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger and ground clove, whisking to combine. Set aside.
In another large bowl, whisk together dark brown sugar and vegetable oil until well combined. Add chilled pumpkin puree, whisking again until combined. Add eggs and vanilla then whisk until well combined. Sprinkle dry mixture (flour and spices) over the wet mixture (pumpkin and oil). Whisk until fully incorporated.
Using an ice cream scoop, drop 1 – 2 tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets (about 1 inch apart, the cookies will spread a bit). One at a time, transfer the baking sheets to the oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on the top. You can also use a toothpick to test doneness. Insert a toothpick into the center of the largest cookie on the sheet. If it comes out clean, the cookies are done (12 – 14 minutes). Let the cookies cool completely on the pan.
While the cookies are cooling, prepare the frosting. Sift confectioners’ sugar into a medium sized bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until very smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add vanilla and mix for a few seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat just until smooth (be careful not to overmix the frosting).
To assemble, start by lining a baking sheet or serving platter with parchment paper. (the cake is very moist and can stick to regular surfaces). When the cookies have completely cooled, place half of them cut side up on the prepared baking sheet. One at a time, spoon a heaping tablespoon of frosting on the flat side of a cookie (the measurements above make a lot of frosting, so you can be generous here). Sandwich another cookie on top of the frosting, pressing down slightly to spread the filling to the edges. Repeat with remaining cookies and frosting. Cover finished whoopie pies with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.