Nestled snugly between “everything BBQ-flavored time” and “everything peppermint-flavored time” we have my personal favorite: “everything pumpkin-spice-flavored time”! This week I have a wonderful dessert overflowing with the nectar of the pumpkin spice gods.
Remember whoopie pies? If a cake, a cookie, frosting and a sandwich somehow managed to have a baby, it’d be a whoopie pie. Two round, pillowy cakelike cookies with a creamy cloudlike filling sandwiched between them. So soft and dreamy, they’re bound to please the most discerning sweet tooth.
Traditionally, whoopie pies are chocolate cakes with vanilla filling, but not today! We’re making pumpkin spice whoopie pies with several fillings to choose from. We have marshmallow pumpkin spice, maple vanilla, salted caramel and, for making pumpkin spice latte whoopies, coffee latte filling. How to choose? You might have to make this more than once! I sure did.
This pumpkin spice cookie recipe has been around forever and is very easy to prepare. I’ve chosen to use a boxed cake mix as an ingredient because I find it not only easier, but when you compare the cost of assembling all the cake ingredients, it’s less expensive. Look for cake mix on sale when possible.
PUMPKIN SPICE WHOOPIE PIES
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 15 decadent whoopie pies
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 (15.25 ounce) package spice cake mix
1/2 cup milk
Filling (see recipes below)
Preheat oven to 375 F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or greased foil. In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat pumpkin and butter until smooth. Add cake mix, eggs and milk, then mix until well-combined. Chill batter for 15 minutes to firm up a little.
Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls, 3 inches apart, on cookie sheets. Aim for 30 cookies total. Smoothe the tops of the cookie batter with moist fingertips. Bake for 15 minutes. I did one sheet at a time, but you can do two at once. Just rotate pans halfway through.
Place cookies on a wire rack to cool completely before assembling into whoopie pies — seriously; let them cool or it’s a big mess. If storing before assembling, place in single layers in a storage container with wax paper between layers to prevent sticking. These soft cookies will stick together like glue!
To assemble, prepare filling of choice (recipes below) and chill filling for one hour. Pipe or spoon about 2 tablespoons of filling on the flat side of one cookie and top with a second cookie. Repeat for remaining pairs. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator.
For each filling recipe below, begin by creaming together 1/2 cup softened butter with an 8-ounce brick of softened cream cheese until smooth. Then add the remaining ingredients.
Marshmallow Pumpkin Spice —Add 2 cups powdered sugar, about half of a 7 ounce container of marshmallow cream (incentive to make a double batch?), 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and a pinch of salt.
Maple Vanilla — Add 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 3 tablespoons maple syrup.
Salted Caramel — Add 1/2 teaspoon each almond and vanilla extracts, 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (found near the ice cream at the store) and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Gradually add 3 cups powdered sugar.
Coffee Latte — Dissolve 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee or instant espresso granules into 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add to mixture, then gradually add 3 cups powdered sugar.
Diva Tip: Only serve these treats to people you really like, because they are amazing, and people will follow you home. Truth.
Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at firstname.lastname@example.org
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