A Twist on a Classic: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I must really love my job.  Lately, I have begun dreaming up recipe ideas, literally.  Last night, I was dreaming of desserts, and in the middle of the dream, the idea came to me.  Whoopie pies!  Not your average whoopie pies– fall-inspired, pumpkinwhoopie pies! 

For those of you who follow my blogs, I don’t fancy myself a serious baker, but I definitely am down with confections.  Therefore, I do my fair share of baking, but I also have been known to cheat.  I love to make homemade cookies, but I have no problem with the pre-rolled sugar cookies ready for Christmas-shaped cutters (it is the frosting part of the process that everyone loves anyway).   I am truly appreciative of honest-to-goodness homemade brownies, but I have also made it my mission to find the best boxed brownie mix (I favor Ghiradelli and the Trader Joe’s Truffle Brownie mixes).  I also make a LOT of quick breads and muffins from scratch, but every now and then, I’m not ashamed to use a mix.  So, when I discovered a really yummy boxed pumpkin bread mix, I was ALL over it.

So, for my dreamed up pumpkin whoopie pies, I used a boxed pumpkin bread mix, which I doctor up a bit to get the consistency necessary for it to hold its cookie-shape on a baking sheet.  If you are feeling really adventurous, you could add raisins or walnuts to the mix, but for my whoopie pies, I like nothing textural to impede my soft, whoopie goodness.  The mix makes things go a little faster, so creating these does not have to be an afternoon-long project.

The filling is a simple mixture of confectioner’s sugar, butter, and cream cheese.  This is a bit of a departure from the usual  shortening- or marshmallow crème-based mixture, but since we’re going “maverick” on the whoopie pie, I decided an updated filling was also in order.  It whips up like a frosting, and gets mounded between the pumpkin cookies for a truly grown-up version of the original. 

And, Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!  

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Makes 12 sandwich cookies

1 – 18 oz box pumpkin bread/muffin mix + ingredients listed on box (usually a couple eggs, water, and oil)

1 cup flour

8 oz cream cheese

½ stick butter, softened

1 cup confectioners sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.  Prepare 2 baking sheets by spraying with non-stick cooking spray.

Make the pumpkin bread batter according to package directions, and add an additional 1 cup flour to stiffen the mixture slightly.

Place mounds of batter (2 tablespoons each), about 1.5 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. 

Bake 12-15 minutes, rotating the pans half way through cycle.  Cookies should be firm to the touch with a little “bounce” to them.

Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

To make the filling, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, butter, and confectioner’s sugar (and optional vanilla). 

Spread a generous dollop of filling on the flat side of half the cakes, and top with remaining cakes. 

Note:  The whoopie pies I made and photographed are a larger version of what you are directed to make in this recipe.  Don’t use that as a guide for the size of yours! 

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