What can we expect when a pastry chef turns her attention, seasonally, to pumpkin? Something beyond a loaf, maybe. As promised in an earlier post, Elyssa Fournier of Mixed Bakery in Corona del Mar offers a recipe for pumpkin whoopie pies—tender pumpkin cookie sandwiches filled with tangy cream-cheese frosting. Fun to make and fun to eat, these are likely to become your go-to autumn treat. Not that Fournier has anything against the classic loaf—this rich, flavorful batter can be baked into that familiar, sliceable shape, or even as cupcakes. If you go the loaf route, she recommends adding extra-large chocolate chips, which sounds like a very good idea. Whatever form you choose to bake, do not skimp on that frosting. It’s simply the best cream-cheese filling/frosting ever: not oversweet, emphasizing rather than overwhelming the snappy, cultured flavor that makes us love cream cheese in the first place.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies from Elyssa Fournier
(Makes 2 dozen sandwich cookies)
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon clove
½ teaspoon salt
1 pound unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 15-ounce can pumpkin purée
2 teaspoons vanilla
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
Note: Batter can be baked as loaves or cupcakes. Bake loaves 35 to 45 minutes, cupcakes about 20.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt.
In large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light. Beat in eggs, then pumpkin and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients.
Drop by medium scoop or heaping tablespoon onto parchment-lined sheet pans. Bake 14 to 15 minutes. Remove to cooling rack. Repeat as necessary to make 48 cookies.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Mix together cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla and powdered sugar, mix thoroughly. Generously fill pairs of cookies to make sandwiches.