I have an anti-American admission: I'm not a big pumpkin fan. So the whole prospect of a holiday table organized around a dry turkey and a gummy pumpkin pie didn't excite me. But when you invite people over for Thanksgiving, they expect pumpkin, and you can't send them away disappointed, can you?
So I made mini pumpkin whoopie pies. Because in my mind miniaturizing anything makes it irresistible, as does adding cream cheese frosting. And bourbon.
My recipe is adapted from Matt Lewis's pumpkin whoopie pie recipe (from the Martha Stewart website); my additions/changes are in italics.
Ingredients (makes about 30 mini whoopie pies):
For the pumpkin whoopie cookies:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cloves
- 2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 teaspoons bourbon (or replace with 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract if desired)
Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.
Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. (I found that it was easier to create well-formed circles if I piped the dough. If you have a real piping bag, use that, but if not, a ziploc bag snipped at a corner will do just fine.) Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes (for regular-sized cookies) and 13-14 minutes for mini cookies. Let cool completely on pan.
Make the filling: Sift confectioner' sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla (or bourbon, if using), beat just until smooth. (Filling can be made up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate; let stand at room temperature to soften before using.)
Assemble the whoopie pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag and snip the end. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate cookies at least 30 minutes before serving and up to 3 days.