Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Chai Filling

It is fall. I love fall. But, when fall comes, out come all the pumpkin treats. Pumpkin and cinnamon and nutmeg, oh my. Pumpkin lattes are one of the perks of fall. They work to cancel out the ragweed (they don't succeed, but they help). It's still too early to be making pumpkin pies, but after I had the chai frosting idea, combining it with pumpkin seemed perfect. And I am from Pennsylvania, the home of the whoopie pie, and so...whoopie pies. I love my whoopie pie cookbook. It has traditional whoopie pies, and then intriguing things like pistachio cardamom whoopie pies with rosewater filling (Persian whoopie pies! They are on my list of things to make at some point.)

Usually, when I'm doing pumpkin things, I start with a pumpkin and roast it. Which is delicious, and much easier than peeling and boiling down a pumpkin. I make killer pumpkin pie. I have made delicious pumpkin cheesecake. But for these, I went super easy, and used canned pumpkin. And I added clove, because I thought, correctly, that it would be delicious. Also, I cheat. The written recipe said to sift things together, and if I'm not making angel food cake, I don't sift.

Delicious. The intention was to make "traditional marshmallow filling" and add Trader Joe's chai powder. And then I realized that I didn't have nearly as much crisco as the recipe called for (I have no idea what happened to the crisco, I don't usually use it), so I cut in unsalted butter. It turned out to be fine, unsalted butter has less flavor than salted butter, I suppose, so that wasn't a problem. And then we tasted, threw in the rest of the marshmallow fluff, some more sugar, and more chai powder. This is the kind of frosting that just being in the kitchen with it gives you a sugar rush. But, if you are really craving sugar, open faced whoopie pies are insanely delicious. Mostly, I turned them into sandwiches, but two of us wanted open faced, and there was enough frosting to do it, so we did.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pie
adapted from Whoopie Pies
2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter, at room temperature (I use salted butter for just about everything)
1 1/2 c pumpkin -- this is slightly less than a can. I wound up throwing out the rest of the can.
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Beat togethr brown sugar and butter. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Continue to beat. Slowly add the dry ingredients, and mix just until it's combined.

Put on baking sheets lined in parchment paper.  A little bit goes a long way; I meant to make tiny whoopie pies and accidentally made full sized cookies by using two heaping tablespoons.

Bake at 350. For full sized cakes, bake to firm. For full sized cakes, bake for 15 minutes, adjust for size.

Chai Marshmallow Frosting
adapted from Whoopie Pies
1/4 c Crisco
1/4 c unsalted butter (room temperature)
3/4 c confectioners sugar
7 oz jar of marshmallow cream/cream/whatever (my preference is for Kraft's Jet Puffed Marshmallow Cream, and I stock up on it when I leave the Boston area)
2 generous scoops Trader Joe's chai powder
generous dollop of vanilla extract

Beat all ingredients until mixed and fluffy. Taste, add more chai if needed.

After the cakes are cool, put a dollop of frosting on one side of half the cakes. I like to pair up the cakes by size before I start sandwiching things, because otherwise I will end up with the biggest cake and the smallest cake at the end and who knows what to do. And, don't close them up until there's no more frosting, in case there's extra to add off to all the sandwiches.

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