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 new cookbook, Dorie’s Cookies (available for pre-order now and out on October 25, 2016)! 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! Let’s make some pumpkin whoopie pies, shall we?
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. Last year, I made Maple Apple Butter Polka Dot Cheesecake Bars to raise awareness about childhood melanoma and Polka Dot Mama, and was able to update everyone with the news that Lily is doing great. 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:
Seriously, how cute are they? I got to use some great OXO products to make sure these guys turned out all the same size and round and perfect with creamy-delicious filling, too. I will show you:
- 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.
- 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!
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Dulce de Leche Filling
These guys are so delicious, I made you a long pin in case you want to save them. You’re welcome.
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. Deliciousness, but I know I’ll be trying the original version with dulce de leche when I make these again.
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 from Dorie’s Cookies
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.
- To make 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.
Things to know:
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. I didn’t want to dirty another pan, so I used the scoop and then portioned out the remaining batter evenly into the cavities. This made short muffins or very tall cookies. Either way, I thought they would not look cute sandwiched together, so I sliced off about 1/4″ from the bottoms of each cookie before sandwiching them together. Those slices made an excellent snack!
If you just use the cookie scoop and don’t add any additional batter, you’ll be rewarded with the perfect amount of batter to just barely touch the sides of the muffin tin cavities.
And there you have it. OXO is donating $100 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer for each blog post up to $100,000. Thank you, OXO! Plus, I’ll be receiving a signed copy of Dorie’s Cookies once it comes out on October 25. I’m very excited about that, too.
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.