This is the only nod I will give to March Madness. I don’t like sports. I don’t like basketball. I don’t like when conversations revolve around sports or basketball.
(But…I do always like to mention that despite this, I did win with my March Madness bracket one year. It was when I worked at American Girl, and I had outsourced the picks to someone else. But I think it still counts.)
Regardless, Zach was having a few people over to watch the games tonight and had planned to make brownies for dessert. But then he remembered that one of his buddies doesn’t like chocolate. So, he bought Starburst jelly beans for our non-chocolate loving friend. This morning, I started to question this. I mean, I do love Starburst jelly beans myself, but it felt like a shoddy attempt at hosting a guest.
I was actually delighted deep down to have a good reason to bake something. I’m having a hard time justifying baking just for the two us lately because…we’ve been eating a lot lately.
Whoopie pies have been on my mind recently. And then I came across a recipe for them in one of the first cookbooks I opened this morning. Done.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. Whoopie indeed!
“Pumpkin bars on steroids” was how I think one of the boys described them.
They were different than pumpkin bars, it’s true. They were much better.
They start out with perfect pumpkin-y pillows of delight. Cakey, moist, spiced like it’s Thanksgiving. They didn’t even require a mixer (I’m a fan of things that don’t require me to lug out that heavy thing.) Just some good elbow grease to combine the ingredients.
And then, as if they aren’t cute enough or delicious enough of their own, you pipe them with luxurious cream cheese frosting. You top said frosted pumpkin-y pillows of delight with another pumpkin-y pillow of delight. You repeat until either the cookies are gone or the frosting is gone. You look at them proudly.
You eat one.
And then you die and go to heaven (or write about them).
Obviously, the basketball stripes are optional. Enjoy!
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito)
Pumpkin Whoopie Cookies:
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ginger
1 tbsp ground cloves
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, room temp
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
To Make the Cookies:
Preheat oven to 350.
In large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. (Sounds like a lot of spices, but it’s fine…)
In another large bowl, whisk brown sugar with oil until combined. Add pumpkin and combine. Add eggs and vanilla; whisk to combine.
Add flour mixture to wet mixture and stir until well incorporated.
Using a 1.75 inch spring-loaded ice cream scoop, drop batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment, an inch apart.
Bake for about 18 minutes, or until cookies are starting to crack and cake tester comes out clean from middle.
Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely on cooling rack.
To make the Frosting:
Using electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter until there are no lumps. Add cream cheese, and beat until combined. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla; beat until combined.
Flip half of the cookies over. Put frosting in large Ziploc bag and make sure all air is squeezed out of bag. Cut ½ inch off the corner of the bag. Pipe frosting out onto the upside down cookies. When finished, top with another cookie to complete the sandwich, pressing down lightly.
Let whoopie pies set in refrigerator for 30 mins before serving.