(updated: though i wish i had thought of this post title, i did not. credit goes to james for being far cleverer than i)
There is an IHOP commercial out that speaks to me. It features 2 enormous motorcycle men steeling themselves to go in and order a “rooty tooty fresh and fruity” or whatever the marketing geniuses at IHOP concocted to describe 2 flat, limpid pancakes smothered in that godawful strawberry goo that they claim originated from fresh fruit, but I would like a paternity test, please. Not that I have anything against IHOP or anything.
But let’s get back to the motorcycle men, because I feel their pain. I hate it when food items have kitschy names. I sometimes don’t order things I really want BECAUSE they are named something ridiculous. Jamba Juice, these words are directed at you. I just want the blueberry yogurt smoothie. I don’t want to have to look the cashier in the eye and say I want an “original bright-eyed and blueberry, please.” I don’t know if you know this about me, Jamba Juice, but I am rarely bright-eyed. Same goes for ordering a “love it” size at Coldstone. God help me, I just want to say medium. Why are you not letting me just say medium???
So now you can understand my conflicted emotions about whoopie pies. I absolutely love these pumpkin whoopie pies, but I hate having to tell people what they are. Hey, what did you make? Well it’s 2 cakey pumpkin-flavored cookies sandwiching a whipped cream cheesy filling. I would rather say that than say “Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.” And then get that FACE like, what in the durn heck is a whoopie pie??? And then I have to explain it all anyway in addition to having to utter the word “whoopie,” which makes me feel like someone’s sweet Christian mother trying to talk playfully about sex. As in, And Then Your Father And I Went To His Bedroom To Talk About The Bible And His Parents Thought We Were Making Whoopie! Ah, god! Mom! Stop!!
Side note: my mother would never say anything like that, ever. God bless her for that, really.
All this talk is detracting from the fact that these whoopie pies are SO SO INCREDIBLY GOOD. So go make. Some Whoopie. Pies. Sound of my soul dying.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
Makes 12 whoopie pies
FOR THE PUMPKIN WHOOPIE COOKIES
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cloves
2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
FOR THE CREAM-CHEESE FILLING
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.
Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.
Make the filling: Sift confectioner’ sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, beat just until smooth. (Filling can be made up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate; let stand at room temperature to soften before using.)
Assemble the whoopie pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag and snip the end. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate cookies at least 30 minutes before serving and up to 3 days.