Gah I have autumn fever!
And I'm living in a place where it's still 95º outside...
Every single blog and website and article is writing about leaves falling, pumpkins coming, warm drinks at Starbucks, boots and long socks, cute jackets and cardigans, Halloween costumes and candy, crisp air, bright skies...
As a result, I have been spending my time daydreaming about it all and filling my notebooks with autumn doodles. Yesterday, after a super hot day, I wanted a cup of warm milk with honey, simply to feel like it's the snug-drink season.
These pumpkin whoopie pies with maple cream epitomise autumn. The first whoopie pies I ever had (and my favourite to this day) were the pumpkin ones from Trader Joe's which would come every autumn. Here, fresh pumpkin is actually available most of the year, but I just haven't really gotten into cooking it.
So let's pretend that it's pumpkin season. There are jack-o-lanterns on all the doorsteps and every cafe and barista is engulfed by the smell of warm baking. I've just come back from a beautiful walk in my boots and my cozy long socks and my fleece.Vermont is ecstatic, whipping up maple syrup and the farmer's market made me buy a load of pumpkin. So we have no choice but to whip up a batch of whoopie pies.
It's sunny but chilly and I'm sitting down with a book and a cup of hot chocolate.
Life doesn't get much better than this, does it?
My dad had been dying to make whoopie pies for ages and he happily agreed to pumpkin-maple. He gets the same super-excitement as I do when he bakes; he started maniacally laughing with evil and glee and we bickered over getting to frost them. He also sat and had a whole photoshoot with them... no prizes for guessing where I got that from.
He worked on the pureeing the pumpkin while I prepared the spices and the batter. He was really happy with the fluffiness of the cakes, but I really don't know what I did apart from, well, mix...
By the way, he made monstrous whoopies... I mean huge. He dolloped big ice cream scoops on to the tray and after frosting and adding the other half, they look like softballs.
They're very visually appealing and very tummy sabotaging.
By the way, does anyone have a teleporter? Can you kind of, zap me back to Chicago autumn?
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
From Whoopie Pies, by Sarah Billingsley & Amy Treadwell
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon allspice (cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger)
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter, like Amul)
1 cup brown sugar (If granulated, first powder it in a blender, otherwise you'll get bubbles)
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups solid pack pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF (176ºC). Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger (If yours is freshly chopped, add it into the wet ingredients instead), allspice, nutmeg and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper. (I used a bowl)
In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the brown sugar and butter on low speed until just combined. Add the pumpkin, then the egg, beating well. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.
Add the flour mixture and beat on low until just incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Using a small ice-cream scoop or 2-tablespoon scoop, drop about 2 tablespoons of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 15 minutes each, or until the cakes begin to crack and are firm to the touch. Let the cakes cool on the sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
Makes about 30 cakes 4-inch cakes
(we got 16...)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon maple flavouring (optional) (We didn't use it)
In the work bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on low speed until creamy. add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, with the mixer on low until incorporated. Add the milk, maple syrup and maple flavouring (if using), and beat on medium for 3 to 4 minutes to incorporate, scraping down the sides of the bowl periodically.
Note: Purists may want to leave out the maple flavouring, so we kept it optional. It does give the finished filling a much more intense maple flavour.