Update on 11/19/09: I just finished making these again for the boys' Thanksgiving feasts, and I wanted to add a few details. First, I can't triple the recipe in my Kitchen Aid mixer. Each batch makes about 20 good-sized whoopie pies.
Second, it's really hard to make these small. I used teaspoons (not measuring spoons) to make them about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. They were 3-4 inches in diameter after baking.
Also, I did make extra icing. They need a good amount because they are so thick. I'd double the recipe for the icing.
Bake the whoopie pies until they are just starting to brown on the edges. You don't want to underbake these because they'll be too sticky.
Finally, they do well wrapped or even layered in waxed paper.
Let me know if you make them and how they turned out!
Whoopie pies are very popular in New England and Pennsylvania. My mom used to make them for our class birthdays instead of cupcakes. The traditional ones are chocolate with a marshmallow frosting, but there are oatmeal ones, and my dad created a snickerdoodle one.
I really love this recipe for the pumpkin variation. The original recipe from King Arthur Flour cookies makes monstrously huge ones - great for a bake sale or for sharing among four people. I 've changed the directions to make them smaller, but they still end up about 2 -3 inches in diameter. I made them for Jack's and Ben's Thanksgiving feasts yesterday; the filling is a simplified version of the original. I tripled the recipe, and that worked fine.
I noticed in the paragraphs above that I keeps saying "ones" or "them" instead of "whoopie pies." That's probably because I've always felt silly saying their name! But it's true what they say - when you eat one, you say "Whoopie!".
By the way, an assortment of whoopie pies would be a great Christmas gift. Since they are so big, they are indulgent in a way that makes them a good gift. Also, unless you are from the Northeast they are slightly unusual. Finally, they are crazy expensive to buy (but not to make): Dean & Deluca sells a dozen for $55!
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
1 1/2 cups (15-ounce can) pumpkin
2 large eggs
2 cups (16 ounces) brown sugar
1 cup (7 ounces) vegetable oil
2 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) molasses or dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese (reduced fat [Neufchâtel] or full fat)
2 1/4 cups (9 ounces) confectioners’ sugar (add more to taste)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two large baking sheets.
TO MAKE THE COOKIES: In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, oil, and molasses. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl, then beat in the salt, spices, baking powder, and baking soda.
Add the flour to the wet ingredients and beat for 1 minute, until the mixture is well combined. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then beat for a short time just to make sure everything is thoroughly mixed. Use two tablespoons to drop the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.
Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until they feel firm to the touch; a slight indentation will remain when you press your finger in the center. Remove the cookies from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool while you prepare the filling.
TO MAKE THE FILLING: In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add half the confectioners’ sugar to the butter/cream cheese mixture, beating well. Add the remaining confectioners’ sugar, mixing until blended.
TO ASSEMBLE: Spread the flat side of half the cookies with the filling, using 2 generous tablespoons of filling for each cookie. Top with the remaining cookies. For best storage, wrap each pie individually in plastic wrap.