Like many 10-year-olds, my son’s favourite store-bought cookie is the Oreo. He and I have a pact: we will never be without the black-and-white sandwich cookie in our house. Now, he doesn’t actually eat them that much, so a bag of those things lasts quite a long time in our house (thank goodness!).
A couple years back, in the spirit of Oreos, I made him some whoopie pies. Now, a whoopie pie is like a homemade version of the Oreo: a chocolate cookie sandwich with vanilla icing in between.
Let’s just say his eyes bugged out when he took the first bite, and that’s a good sign.
The cookie is made with pumpkin and all the flavours that play nicely with pumpkin: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. I debated a while about what to use to stick the sandwiches together, because so many things go nicely with pumpkin: apples, vanilla, even chocolate. In the end, I went with a caramel made with maple syrup. It’s pretty perfect in every way.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Caramel Filling
For the cookies:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp each of ground cloves and nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add the pumpkin and vanilla, and beat until incorporated.
- In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, including the spices. Add the dry ingredients, a bit at a time, to the wet, beating well each time.
- Put the cookie dough into a piping bag or a large ziploc bag, and pipe circles (like kisses, not like a spiral) onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 350 for about 10-13 minutes, or until the top is springy. Remove from baking sheets and cool on wire racks.
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add sugar and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved, then adjust heat to medium and boil 2 minutes longer. Add maple syrup and boil, stirring frequently, until sauce is thick, smooth, and coats a spoon, 2 to 4 minutes longer. Remove from heat and cool.
Maple Caramel Filling:
- 6 tbsp butter, room temperature
- 3 tbsp milk
- 3 tbsp caramel sauce
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups icing sugar
Beat butter in a medium mixing bowl until smooth and creamy. Add in milk, caramel sauce, salt and vanilla extract. Gradually blend in sugar at medium/high speed until a thick, spreadable frosting comes together. Add more icing sugar gradually if frosting is too thin.
Put the icing in a piping bag with a large tip. Lay one cookie, top down, on your countertop, and ice it with the piping bag starting at the outer edges and spiralling in. Top with another cookie to make the sandwich complete. You could drizzle extra caramel sauce over the icing as well, or over the top of the whoopie pies.