I am always honored to participate in Bake a Difference for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, and this year the bloggers are featuring different cookies from Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, Dorie’s Cookies I chose to make Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Dulce de Leche Filling, plus I got to test out some OXO products along the way. Thanks for working with me, OXO!
Learn to make homemade organic dulce de leche here. And if you’re in the mood for more soft sandwich cookies, I bet you’ll love my copycat Oatmeal Cream Pies. Ridiculously good!
For ease of browsing, here are all of my cookies and bars in one place. Thanks for stopping by!
Raising Money for Cancer Research
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and each year, OXO is involved in helping to raise money for research through “Oxonian” launched charity, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.
Two years ago, I made decorated sugar cookies and told the story of my best friend’s daughter who had been diagnosed with ALL at the age of five.
This year, I’m thrilled to be sharing Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Dulce de Leche Filling. And to report that Lily continues to thrive as a direct result of research and improved treatments for kiddos fighting cancer.
Now, let me show you those pumpkin whoopie pies:
What’s So Great About These Whoopie Pies?
They’re a little bit unexpected.
The hint of cardamom is surprisingly lovely with the pumpkin, and the pops of tart chopped cranberry really complement the mellow pumpkin batter.
The dulce de leche filling (I made maple, because it’s what I had) speaks of fall and cooler days, and the caramelized notes go beautifully with the earthy pumpkin, sharp cranberries, and citrusy cardamom.
Equipment I Used (and You May Need)
- Non-Stick Pro 12 Cup Muffin Pan: I have the 9″ x 13″ rectangular pan in this same series, and I use it often. So far, nothing sticks to it, so I was excited about receiving the muffin pan. The cavities are actually deeper than my grocery store muffin pans, allowing me to make more substantial cupcakes and muffins without their being ridiculously huge. They have a waffled texture that helps with air circulation and allows for more even baking, and the ceramic-reinforced non-stick coating is durable and really works. Huzzah!
- Medium Cookie Scoop: Even baking comes from even portions, and to get the “evenest” portions, you need a scoop. You can use a spoon, but this scoop is less messy because you can squeeze the handles and out comes the portion. Plus with the squishy grip, it feels good in my hand.
- Medium Silicone Spatula: Yet another OXO spatula to add to my arsenal. I appreciate the “half-spoon” shape because I can get into pan and jar corners with the pointy side and can sweep out bowls cleanly with the rounded side.
- (UPDATE: OXO no longer makes this product, and I am sad about it) Illuminating Digital Hand Mixer: I admit I was skeptical about this guy. I haven’t had a hand mixer in years and years, and I thought I’d never need one again. I used the hand mixer to make the filling for the pumpkin whoopie pies, and I was really pleased with how well it performed. I expected the motor to bog down when it hit the still-cool butter and sticky marshmallow cream, but it didn’t even blink! So, a big yes on the power, plus I had forgotten how thorough a hand mixer can be since I can move it all around in the bowl and even up the sides if I need to. This guy sits down flat, and has a clip to keep the beaters handy when it’s not in use. It does light up which is sort of gimmicky, but at the same time, if the lighting isn’t the best in your kitchen, it can certainly help you see into your bowl to make sure you haven’t missed any spots and that everything is mixed evenly.
Here are my treats in action. Thanks again, OXO!
- Photo 1: Making the pumpkin cardamom batter in my stand mixer. You could absolutely use a hand mixer for this part. I used mine to make the filling, but it would’ve made short work of the batter.
- Photo 2: Folding chopped fresh cranberries into the batter. You could get away with substituting Craisins, but they aren’t as tart, so you wouldn’t get the contrast. Plus, that would introduce a chewy texture, so it’s really up to you if you like that or not. I will say the fresh cranberries really waks up the flavors, though.
- Photo 3: Portioning out the whoopie pie dough into the muffin tins. You can absolutely just scoop onto Silpat or parchment, allowing the cookies to spread at will. If you like your guys perfectly round, then stick with the muffin tin. It’s a good trick!
More About These Whoopie Pies
This is Dorie Greenspan’s recipe.
The only changes I made to the original was to use maple syrup in place of the dulce de leche.
I didn’t have any on hand, but I did have Grade B maple syrup.
Trading one fall flavor for another seemed a good idea, so I went for it. It worked out really well, but I know the dulce de leche would be fabulous too. If you have some, by all means, use it!
Here’s what you’ll need to make the pumpkin batter:
- all-purpose flour: provides the structure and bulk of the batter. All-purpose is a good choice here. Do not substitute cake flour or bread flour or your whoopie pies could be too tender to hold together (cake flour) or be chewy (bread flour).
- cinnamon: adds warm spice notes that go nicely with the pumpkin
- cardamom: adds an almost citrus edge to the batter. Cardamom is a beautiful, “perfumey” spice, so it also makes the cookies smell fantastic. If you don’t have it, consider adding the zest of half an orange and a few gratings of nutmeg instead
- baking powder: provides leavening
- baking soda: counteracts the acidity of the buttermilk ensuring a batter with a neutral pH that will set up properly in the oven
- butter: carries flavor, tenderizes the crumb, assists in browning, and adds that melt-in-your-mouth quality that only butter can bring to the table
- sugar: adds sweetness, tenderness, moisture, and assists in browning
- fine salt: brings all the flavors into focus
- eggs: you just need one. Adds to the structure, adds some additional liquid along with fats and emulsifiers
- vanilla: rounds out the flavors. Perhaps not strictly necessary, but always lovely. Adds some floral notes as well. If you would like, you could substitute a small amount of orange extract or even rum extract instead
- pumpkin puree: don’t use canned pumpkin pie mix–you just want the straight “solid pack” pumpkin. You can also use homemade pumpkin puree
- cranberries: Add welcome tartness and acidity–a really nice counterpoint to the warmly spiced “pies.”
- buttermilk: Adds tenderness as well as moisture and a subtle tang. Using buttermilk can often make baked goods feel “lighter” because of that little bit of tang
And here’s what you’ll need for the marshmallow filling:
- butter: in this case, the butter is here primarily to carry flavors and to add to the consistency of the cream filling
- marshmallow creme: provides the sticky-gooey texture we all love in a whoopie pie
- powdered sugar: adds more sweetness and also just a touch of “gritty” texture to keep the filling from being too impossibly smooth
- salt: balances all the sweetness and brings the flavors into focus
- dulce de leche: provides the deep, caramel notes that play so nicely with the pumpkin. I didn’t have any, so I substituted real maple syrup. You could also use caramel sauce or even butterscotch sauce in place of the dulce de leche.
NOTE: In my experience, storebought canned dulce de leche is thin and artificial tasting. I would take the time to boil a can of sweetened condensed milk, completely submerged, for about 3 hours. Allow it to cool, and then use that. Or you could make your own homemade dulce de leche starting with whole milk.
Procedure: for the Pumpkin Cookies
These cookies are made using The Creaming Method. Here’s how to apply that method to these cookies:
- Whisk all the dry ingredients together: the flour, spices, salt, and leavening (baking powder and baking soda).
- Cream the butter together with the sugar in a stand mixer.
- Add the egg and beat well, scraping the bowl as necessary.
- Add the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk: half the flour mixture followed by all the buttermilk and then the remaining flour mixture.
- Fold in the chopped cranberries, portion, and bake.
Procedure: Dulce de Leche Filling
Putting the filling together is a snap. This is the part I used a hand mixer for, but you can make both the cookies and the filling with one, so don’t let not having a stand mixer stop you from making these guys.
- Beat together the butter, marshmallow creme, salt, and sugar until very smooth.
- Add the dulce de leche, and beat that in, scraping the bowl as necessary.
What To Love About Them, In Dorie’s words:
I liked these big pumpkin-spice cookies when I first made them and thought of them as cookies. But when I sandwiched them with a marshmallow crème and dulce de leche filling, officially turning them into whoopie pies, “like” became too mild a word for how I felt about them. They passed over into love ’em territory, and they’ve stayed there ever since.
The cookies themselves have the soft, light texture and flavor of spice cake. In fact, they’d be exactly like spice cake if they didn’t have the surprise of fresh cranberries, which, in addition to adding color and pop, have just the right the amount of pucker to make the sweet a grown-up dessert.
As for the filling, sticky, sweet fluff is a must. It’s just about part of the definition of whoopie pies. For these, it’s paired with store-bought or homemade dulce de leche. It’s the perfect combo, but when you’re ready for a swap, sandwich the cookies with a spiced cream cheese filling.
A word on size and pans: I’m Goldilocks when it comes to whoopie pies — I like them not too big and not too small. For me, baking them in muffin tins is just right. You can scoop the dough out onto lined baking sheets and bake the cookies free-form if you’d like — they’ll be fine, though not perfectly round. If for you a whoopie pie isn’t a whoopie pie unless it’s the size of a Whopper, see Playing Around and go for it.Dorie Greenspan
If you use the OXO Medium Cookie Scoop, you really will get 32 portions of batter, so know that you will need 3 muffin tins or 2 muffin tins and a half muffin tin to bake all the whoopie pies.
If you don’t have that many muffin tins, by all means, scoop and bake on parchment or Silpat.
Without the confines of the muffin tin, you can make large whoopie pies, or any size you want, really.
Q & A
I have found that using the same scoop for the filling as I do for the cookies yields the perfect ratio of whoopie pie tender cookie goodness to sticky creamy filling. So if you scoop your cookies with a 2 Tablespoon scoop (for example), you’d use 2 Tablespoons of filling per cookie.
Dorie says these are best eaten the day they’re made. If you put them in a tightly sealed container and refrigerate them, they’ll be good for about 3 days. Allow them to come back to room temperature before serving.
Yes, you can. I’d wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then freeze them in a zip top freezer bag. Keep your pumpkin whoopie pies frozen for up to 6 weeks for best flavor. Thaw cookies overnight in the fridge and then bring to room temperature before serving.
If you have a question/questions about this or any other post, whether recipe or technique, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m happy to help.
You can leave a comment on the post, and I will respond within 24 hours. If you need an answer more urgently, please email me, and I will respond within about 4 hours (unless I’m sleeping) and often much more quickly than that.
Either way, I will answer as completely as I can. That’s why I’m here!
A Note About Measurments
NOTE: Most of my recipes are written by weight and not volume, even the liquids.
Dorie lists both the weights and the volumes in this recipe
Even though volume measurements are provided, I encourage you to buy a kitchen scale for ease of measuring, accuracy, and consistency.
This is the scale I use, love, and recommend.
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For the whoopie pies
- 13 ⁄4 cups, (238 grams) all-purpose flour
- 3 ⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ⁄2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 ⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 stick, (8 tablespoons; 4 ounces; 113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
- 3 ⁄4 cup, (150 grams) sugar
- 1 ⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 large egg, , at room temperature
- 11 ⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ⁄2 cup, (113 grams) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 ⁄2 cup, (120 ml) buttermilk, preferably at room temperature
- 3 ⁄4 cup, (about 75 grams) fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped (if frozen, don’t thaw)
For the filling
- 1 stick, (8 tablespoons; 4 ounces; 113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
- 1 cup (96 grams) marshmallow crème (or Marshmallow Fluff)
- 1 ⁄4 cup, (30 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 ⁄4 cup, (75 grams) dulce de leche, homemade or store-bought
- Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat it to 375 degrees F. Butter or spray two standard muffin tins (do this even if the tins are nonstick).
- To make the cookies: Whisk the flour, cinnamon, cardamom, baking powder and baking soda together.
- Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and salt together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat for another 2 minutes or so, until creamy. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the pumpkin puree and beat until it’s fully incorporated; don’t be discouraged when the mixture curdles — it will soon smooth out.
- Turn off the mixer, scrape down the bowl and add half of the dry ingredients. Pulse to begin the mixing and then mix on low, scraping the bowl as needed, until the flour mixture is blended in. Beat in the buttermilk. Turn off the mixer, add the remaining dry ingredients, pulse and then mix on low until you have a lovely smooth batter. Switch to a flexible spatula and fold in the cranberries. Don’t be too thorough — it’s better to have an uneven mix than to break the berries and turn the batter red.
- Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop out level portions of dough, or use a tablespoon to get rounded spoonfuls, and fill the muffin tins. The scoops of dough will sit upright in the center of the tins, but when baked they’ll melt evenly into the cups.
- Bake the whoopie pies for 11 to 12 minutes, rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back after 6 minutes, or until they are puffed, golden brown and springy to the touch.
- Transfer the pan to a rack and let the cookies rest for 5 minutes, then turn them out on the racks and allow them to cool completely.
For the Filling
- Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, marshmallow crème, sugar and salt together on medium-high speed, scraping the bowl and beater(s) as needed, for about 3 minutes, until very smooth.
- Lower the mixer speed, add the dulce de leche and beat until thoroughly blended.
- Using a spoon or a small cookie scoop, place the filling on the flat sides of half of the cookies.
- Sandwich with the other cookies, flat sides down.
- The cookies can be eaten now, but the filling benefits from a 30-minute stay in the refrigerator. Just don’t eat them from the fridge — you’ll deprive yourself of the cookies’ wonderful texture.
Whopper-Size Whoopie Pies. If you use a large cookie scoop (one with a capacity of 3 tablespoons) to portion out the dough, you can make 6 really big pies (12 cookies; 6 pies). These bake best when you use an insulated baking sheet or stack two sheets one on top of the other. Line the (top) sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and bake the cookies for 15 to 17 minutes.
The unfilled cookies can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 1 day. Once filled, they can be kept covered in the refrigerator for a day or two, but they’re really best the day they’re made.
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Nutrition InformationYield 16 Serving Size 1 sandwich cookie
Amount Per Serving Calories 152Total Fat 2gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 15mgSodium 508mgCarbohydrates 29gFiber 2gSugar 2gProtein 4g
The stated nutritional information is provided as a courtesy. It is calculated through third party software and is intended as a guideline only.
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Enjoy the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, friends. You will love the light spicing and the one-two flavor punch of cardamom and cranberry.
These little guys really are fantastic. I had to give them away to keep from inhaling all of them. And even then, I only gave them grudgingly.
Thank you for spending some time with me today. Take care, and have a lovely day.