Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Whoopie Pies

Yesterday, I discovered the wonders of a Silpat baking mat.  Jamie bought me one last Christmas, and for some reason, I had yet to use it.  I don't know why I was so resistant - I think it's because I couldn't understand how the sticky texture of the Silpat was actually a completely non-stick surface for baking.  But after baking cookies on it yesterday and seeing how they slid off so effortlessly without any non-stick spray, I will now be changing my ways and using it every time I bake cookies.

I've had a yearning to start baking with pumpkin, even though Colorado weather is still stubbornly refusing to feel very much like fall.  My mom's pumpkin chocolate chip cookies have always been one of my favorites (a recipe I'll be sharing eventually).  I started wondering if I could combine that recipe with my Betty Crocker snickerdoodle recipe - should I try to convert the snickerdoodle recipe into a pumpkin cookie, or try to make the pumpkin cookies more snickerdoodley?  I think I just made that word up, but snickerdoodley is exactly what these cookies were.

I decided to adjust the pumpkin recipe, and it was really pretty simple.  Add cream of tartar to the dry ingredients, leave out the chocolate chips, and roll the cookie dough into balls to be rolled in cinnamon and sugar before baking.  Pumpkin Snickerdoodles!

These cookies are very soft and cakey, and although I love them on their own, I thought they would be a great cookie to turn into a whoopie pie.  So I whipped up some fluffy cream filling and sandwiched the cookies together to make pumpkin snickerdoodle whoopie pies - they were sweet, creamy, fun and very pretty cookies that are a wonderful holiday treat for parties, game nights, or cozy evenings of watching movies and drinking hot apple cider.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Whoopie Pies
(makes about 3 dozen cookies / 18 whoopie pies)

pumpkin snickerdoodles:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus 3 tablespoons, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
cream filling:
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1.  Make the cookies:
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and 1 cup sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minute.  Add the pumpkin and beat until well combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cream of tartar.  Turn the mixer to low speed and add the dry ingredients by spoonfuls to the batter.  Mix just until combined.

Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for two hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar with 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon.  Form the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Place the balls 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper.  Bake for 12 minutes.

Slide the Silpat or parchment paper off the cookie sheet and cool cookies completely.

2.  Make the cream filling.
Using the whisk attachment on your mixer, beat the egg white for 2 minutes until foamy.  Add the milk and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.  Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and the butter and beat for several minutes to combine.  Add the remaining cup of powdered sugar and beat for 8-10 minutes until cream filling is very light and fluffy.

Spoon dollops of the filling onto the underside of half the cooled cookies and top with another cookie.  Refrigerate any leftovers.