This month, my award winning recipe, Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, are featured on author Debbie Macomber's recipe blog. She chose five pumpkin recipes for October. I also received an autographed copy of Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove Cookbook; recipes from her beloved characters of the Cedar Cove series!
For the past six years at Christmas time I have entered a cookie contest at my favorite gift store, Zinnia's. I have been circling first place for a few years and last year, won with this recipe.
Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Eggnog Cream Cheese Filling
Yield: About 5 dozen assembled
Bake Time: 10 – 11 minutes
For the Whoopie Pies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (you can substitute pumpkin pie spice for more pumpkin taste)
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons canola oil
2 ½ cups chilled pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin) (you might need to add a little more if mixture looks too thick)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Eggnog Cream Cheese Filling:
3 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
¼ – ½ tsp. eggnog flavor *
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. Measure out the pumpkin filling into a bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill while you prep everything else. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the granulated sugar, the dark brown sugar, and the oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined. (or use the paddle attachment of an electric mixer)
4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.
5. Use a small cookie scoop * to drop a rounded, heaping teaspoon of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Lightly wet the tip of your finger and smooth out the tops of the cookies and flatten slightly
6. Bake for 10 – 11 minutes, making sure that the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. The cookies should be firm when touched. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack.
7. To make the filling, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth with no visible lumps, about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, then add the vanilla bean paste, ¼ tsp. eggnog flavor and beat until smooth. Taste the filling. Here is where to add a drop or two more of the eggnog flavor but be very careful, it can easily overpower everything! Place in refrigerator for a few minutes to firm up.
8. To assemble the whoopie pies: Turn half of the cooled cookies upside down. Pipe or spoon the filling (about a teaspoon) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving.*
NOTES: I adapted this recipe from Browneyedbaker.com to make them mini size for a cookie contest. I use a teaspoon cookie scoop I found at kingarthurflour.com. This scoop works great for rounding the cookie. The eggnog flavor came from kingarthurflour.com as well. I used a piping bag with a star top to pipe the filling onto the mini cookies. I have also made this recipe eggnog buttercream filing. I found mini cupcake papers at my local craft store. I flatten the papers out a little to rest the pies on them and keep them from sticking to each other.