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Pumpkin Whoopie Pies + Book Giveaway

Posted Oct 09 2012 3:05am

Whoopie!!! That’s what I want to say when I bite into one of these.

Rich buttercream filling that’s sandwiched between two very soft and tender pumpkin cookies. It doesn’t get much better.

The recipe for these orange and white puffy cookie sandwiches comes from White Jacket Required: A Culinary Coming-of-Age Story by Jenna Weber.

The book chronicles Jenna’s trials and tribulations in young adulthood. She moves to attend culinary school and then moves from Florida to the wine country in Northern California. She writes about as a major life tragedy as well as the joys in her life and it’s a lovely coming of age story. Because I’ve been reading Jenna’s blog Eat Live Run for years, I feel like I just got to know her so much better as she bares her soul in the book.

At the end of each chapter, Jenna shares a couple recipes and the recipe for these Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (which Jenna writes as Whoopee) is one that I couldn’t resist making immediately, even before I finished the book.

Normally, I cannot follow a recipe to save my life and am temped to play around and tweak things, but in the case of these whoopie pies, other than halving the recipe and omitting the raw egg white that’s called for in the buttercream filling, I followed the recipe to the T. For the first time, that is. They grew on me so much that I made them again, but tweaked.

I loved how melt-in-my-mouth soft and moist these cookies were, which I attribute to three major ingredient choices. First, brown sugar is used exclusively, which renders cookies softer and moister than using granulated sugar.

Secondly, oil rather than butter is used, which keeps muffins and cakes extra moist. And finally, the pumpkin puree tenderizes and moistens the batter. Anything made with any or all of those ingredients usually turns out especially soft, moist, and tender and the cookies are no exception.

Jenna indicates that the batter for these cookies is like pumpkin cupcake batter and it is. As I was pouring it onto baking sheets, I was thinking, am I really doing this? It was so soupy, and I was worried, but it turns out I had no reason to be.

She suggests pouring the batter in a piping bag and piping it onto trays but I hate dealing with piping bags. So much of the precious cargo gets stuck to the sides and is wasted.

Instead, I used a one-quarter cup measuring cup and scooped batter from the mixing bowl onto baking trays, not quite filling the cup full. Because there’s a decent amount of oil in the batter, it slid right out of the measuring cup. Like butter. And I placed six mounds of dough on each of the two baking trays.

I halved Jenna’s recipe because the full recipe said it made 18 whoopie pies. We did not need 18 of these babies laying around and 9 sounded about right. However, I must have made my cookies larger than Jenna makes hers because I only yielded 6 completed whoopie pies.

My whoopie pies were borderline extra-large but because the pumpkin cookies are soft and light, extra-large didn’t seem ridiculously huge. Two huge cookies with nearly one inch-thick buttercream filling didn’t seem ridiculously huge to me. Okay moving on.

My first batch of whoopie pies disappeared far too quickly. With the second batch, I increased the amount of spices. I nearly doubled the amounts of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and tossed in some pumpkin pie spice because I love robust, intense, and bold flavors when it comes to warming spices. Extra cinnamon , yes please. Plus, pumpkin stands up incredibly well to boldly spiced treats. A dash of molasses or maple would also be nice.

I just wanted to pick off these little morsels and squish them between my fingers. The cookies are soft and remind me of my days squishing Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies as a kid.

Jenna calls for vegetable shortening for the buttercream filling. I prefer butter in my buttercream because the flavor can’t be beat. However, the advantage to using shortening is that is has much more structure than butter and so the filling is firmer, holds up better, and has more density and less squish than a butter-based buttercream. She also calls for a raw egg white in the frotsting, which I omitted and replaced with a splash of extra cream to make up for the volume.

Buttercream layered on thick and in plentiful abundance. The only way frosting and fillings should be.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 32 minutes

Yield: Makes about 18 whoopee pies

Soft and tender pumpkin cookies with a thick layer of sweet buttercream sandwiched between them will make you scream Whoopie for one of these fun pies. They're easy and fast to make, moist, and rich.


For the Buttercream Filling

1 egg white

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups powdered sugar, divided

3/4 cup shortening

For the Cookies

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper


Make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the egg white, milk, vanilla extract, and 1 cup of the powdered sugar, then mix on high speed until the mixture is creamy and light. Add shortening and remaining cup of sugar, and whip on high speed until very light, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make the cookies: In a large bowl, blend together brown sugar and oil with a spoon until well combined. Add pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla and continue to stir until smooth.

Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices, and then add to the wet ingredients, stirring only until combined (be careful not to overmix).

For best results, spoon batter into a piping bag with a large tip and pipe mounds of batter (about 1 tablespoon each) of batter onto the lined sheet tray, about 3 inches apart. (If you don't have a piping bag, use two large spoons and space the batter in the same way.)

Bake cookies for about 10-12 minutes, until they begin to turn golden. Let cool completely before sandwiching cookies together with the filling.Cookie sandwiches will keep in a sealed plastic container at room temperature for a few days.


The recipe written here is the recipe that appears in the Jenna's book. Changes I made included: Halving the batch size for the cookies. The full batch is to yield about 36 cookies or 18 whoopie pies; and a half batch should yield 18 cookies or 9 whoopie pies. My half batch yielded just 12 cookies and 6 whoopie pies; however mine are likely larger than Jenna's and are very well-stuffed with filling.

I halved the frosting but realized that because I like a thicker filling layer, I needed to make the full amount of frosting for a half batch of cookies. I omitted the raw egg white and added an extra splash of cream to make up for it. I prefer frosting made with real butter as opposed to shortening but made it with shortening to stay true to the recipe. The advantage to using shortening in a filling like this is that it will hold a shape better than using butter, which tends to be softer and squishier.

If you prefer a more intense or robustly-flavored cookie, you may wish to increase the spice amounts. I remade these and nearly doubled the amount of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and added pumpkin pie spice for my second batch because I prefer my cookies more boldly and intensely flavored.

I did not use a pasty bag to place the batter on Silpat-lined baking sheets. I used a 1/4 cup measure and scooped out nearly 1/4 cup of batter and placed it in circular mounds, with 6 mounds per baking sheet. I baked for 12 to 13 minutes, a couple minutes longer than suggested since my cookies were larger. The resulting cookies were incredibly soft and tender. If you prefer a firmer cookie, I recommend baking for a couple additional minutes, because mine were falling-apart-soft, which is just the way I like them. I stored the extras in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days and noticed very little difference in taste or texture from day 1 to day 5 but would not suggest doing that at room temperature because I think they would get too soft, gummy, and the filling isn't shelf-stable for extended periods.

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Related Recipes:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Chocolate Ganache – Takes five minutes to make the batter by hand and it’s one of the moistest cakes I’ve ever had and will be a favorite for years to come. The ganache can be made in the microwave and is a snap

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting – This bread is a mixture of both pumpkin and banana flavors whereas the above cake is more robustly pumpkin-flavored. Depending on the flavor profile you want, they’re both moist, dense, pumpkiny, and you can’t go wrong with either

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies – A soft and tender pumpkin cookie meets a chewy and classic chocolate chip cookie, rolled into one

Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Granola (vegan, GF) – I can’t get enough of the pumpkin + chocolate combo this fall. This granola is a snap to make so you’ll never have to buy overpriced storebought granola again

Pumpkin Spice Latte (vegan, GF) – A homemade and natural version using real pumpkin rather than artificial syrups

All Pumpkin Recipes here

If you’d like to enter to win a copy of Jenna’s book, White Jacket Required: A Culinary Coming-of-Age Story , comment below to enter the giveaway :

1. What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe? (recipe links welcome and encouraged)


What’s your favorite cookbook(s) and what recipes in it do you love?

2. For a second entry, Twitter Follow @AverieCooks and and then tweet the following:

I want to entered to Win the New @EatLiveRun Book in the @AverieCooks Giveaway

3. For extra entries and you must leave a separate comment for each (please don’t do these ‘just’ for the giveaway and then unsubscribe or unfollow immediately):

Subscribe to Email Updates from my blog (upper right hand corner of screen – enter your email address and confirm subscription)

Get the Averie Cooks RSS Feed

Facebook Like Eat Live Run

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Contest ends Saturday, October 13, 2012 and winner will be chosen randomly. Open to continental U.S. residents only.

The winner of the Grill On Morningstar Farms Giveaway is Elizabeth @Food Ramblings

The winners of the Muir Glen Gift Basket Giveaway are Michelle @ Eat Move Balance , Amy @Foodie4Healing , and Laura @ Gluten Free Pantry

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