Celebrate National Pumpkin Month with a recipe for a pumpkin version of whoopie pies

EVELYN CAIRNSCULINARY CAPERS

Whether you call them whoopie pies or gobs, they are a delicious treat traditionally consisting of two small chocolate cookies with a fluffy marshmallow filling in between.   

 According to Amish legend,    the cookies got the name from   Amish children, who shouted, “Whoopie,” when they found them in their lunch boxes.  

A Pennsylvania researcher believes gobs were given the moniker  by  coal miners, who named them after  the lumps of coal refuse in gob piles. The cookies fit  in the miners’ lunch buckets and were easy to eat, the researcher said.

Whoopie festivals are held in Maine, New York and Pennsylvania, with the next Oct. 17 at the  Hershey Farm and Inn in Strasburg, Penn. Tasting of 100 pies, a whoopie-pie-eating contest and     the coronation of a whoopie-pie   queen will be held. For more information, call 1-800-827-8635.

Because October is National Pumpkin Month, I’m celebrating with  a delicious, easy recipe for a pumpkin version of whoopie pies  I made using a recipe from  the Farmer’s Almanac, and my favorite  recipe for a pumpkin bread with cranberries and pecans. The bread is really simple: two bowls, a whisk and no mixer required. Dry ingredients go in one bowl, wet in another; stir in the cranberries and nuts, bake and enjoy!  

PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten

1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment  paper. In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix together butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add eggs, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With a spatula, fold in flour. With a small ice-cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop mounds of batter, evenly spaced,  onto the baking sheets. Bake until springy to the touch, but a bit firm, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.  

CREAM CHEESE FILLING FOR WHOOPIE PIES

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract  

2 tablespoons maple syrup 

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

In  bowl of a standing mixer, or with a hand-held electric beater, cream together cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla, maple syrup, powdered sugar and salt. Mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Spread flat sides of  half of cookies with cream cheese filling and top each with flat sides of remaining cookies.

CRANBERRY PECAN PUMPKIN BREAD

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

2 cups canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 cup canola oil

3 eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted 

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Grease two 8×4-inch loaf pans and line with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and pumpkin pie spice. In another large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar, granulated sugar. oil, eggs and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing just until moistened and combined. Fold in cranberries and pecans, reserving a small amount of pecans for topping, if desired. Pour half of batter into each prepared pan and bake 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire rack to finish cooling.

HAPPY BAKING!

(Contact me at Evycairns@aol.com.) 

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