Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

It has already been well established that I like pumpkin, and fall flavors, and fall in general, so it was only a matter of time before this happened. I saw this post on pinterest, and then another recipe showed up in a friend's instagram feed, and combine that with a clean house and being ALMOST caught up on grading, and well, it will be a happy day at school tomorrow. The recipe was based on the link above, but I did make some changes.

Cookie Ingredients:
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 Tlbs cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cardamom
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1.75 cup pumpkin puree (1 15 oz can)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Icing Ingredients:
1 8 oz package of neufchatel cheese, at room temp
1 stick of butter at room temp
2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tsp vanilla
1-2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

Mix dry ingredients (from flour down to cardamom) together in a medium sized bowl. In a large bowl, beat the remaining cookie ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly, mixing just until incorporated. Spoon cookie batter into 2 inch circles on a non-stick pan, making them relatively flat. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes*, then let cool for 1-2 minutes before removing them from the pan. Let them completely cool before frosting. To make the icing, mix the ingredients together and beat until smooth. If the icing is too sticky, add milk, a tsp at a time until the consistency is correct (you should be able to easily spread it without tearing apart the cookies, but not so runny it will all run off). Frost the flat side of  a cookie, then put another cookie on top to make a sandwich. Best served chilled, if you can resist.

*Her recipe said 14 minutes, and another recipe said 12. I have dark non-stick pans, and checked them at 8 minutes, and they were perfectly done. I didn't use evoo. Check on them and test with a toothpick. Doneness will depend on how thick your cookies are, and how hot your oven runs. Like a cake, the cookies should not have any raw material in the middle, and to keep them from burning or getting at all brown on the edges or top.

These are quite delicious. I grew up on chocolate whoopie pies, which are a Mennonite tradition and have been around long before becoming trendy in the last few years. These have a distinctly different flavor, but are still very good. I adjusted the spices from her recipe to intensify the flavor and I really like it. Thank goodness I work with a bunch of teachers, there will be no problem getting rid of these tomorrow. =) One other thing, I ended up with quite a lot of frosting left over. I think I used more than half of the frosting, so I didn't want to cut the recipe in half, but just be aware.

Rating - 4.5/5
Why? Delicious, but multistep processes and a lot of ingredients make it a less than simple recipe.


Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

I would like to state that I jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon before it was cool. I don't like pumpkin lattes or stalk pumpkin flavored syrup online, but I do like pumpkins in some things. To me it is so unequivocally the flavor of autumn. I've posted some pumpkin-based recipes before (here, here, and here), but I've not had a lot of chances to bake this year so this is the first pumpkin recipe of the year. I cobbled it together from this recipe (and this one) from allrecipes.com.

1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tlbs cinnamon
1/2 tlbs nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tlbs vanilla
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, salt, baking powder and baking soda together and set aside. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugars, applesauce, pumpkin puree, and vanilla together until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and fold together, then fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Put it in a bread pan that has been sprayed with olive oil and then dusted with flour (trust me, otherwise it will not come out of the pan). Bake it at 350 for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Some notes...At 45 minutes, it was not finished cooking in the middle but was getting really brown on top, so I covered it with some tin foil for the last ten minutes. Also, this is at the top end of my sweetness tolerance, so next time I might cut the sugar to 1/3 cup for each type of sugar.

This was pretty good. Nice and moist, but it is still warm and I need to see what it will be like when it is cool. It smells really good though. The taste of the pumpkin is not very strong, even though I doubled the amount.

Rating: 4.5/5
Why? There are a lot of ingredients in this, but it is good and is a way to eat zucchini, applesauce, and pumpkin. My coworkers will love it.