When I was 17 or so, I caught whooping cough. There was an outbreak in several of my city’s primary schools, and I caught it from some kids I was babysitting at the time. On the surface, whooping cough isn’t all that bad. You cough a lot, you get a couple weeks off school- as highly contagious diseases go, it’s pretty great. The thing you probably don’t know about whooping cough (unless you’ve had it yourself) is that even after you’re not contagious anymore, even after you feel healthy again and go back to normal life, you keep coughing. For several months.
For me, this slightly annoying fact was complicated by my friend Maya, who thought it was just hilaaaarious that I’d been so inflicted. She took to softly, subtly, with the most innocent of faces, saying “whoop, whoop” whenever I coughed. For the rest of the school year. So not only was I that weird coughing girl (always a great label to have in high school, let me tell you), but I had a constant whooping echo, too. Thank goodness we didn’t have every class together.
I was reminded of Maya’s torturous teasing last month. She moved into a new apartment and emailed me to tell about the breaking in of her new kitchen. Appropriately enough, she’d made a batch of pumpkin whoopie pies. These festive fall treats were all over the food blogs last year with a contagiousness of their own. I remember thinking then that they looked delicious, but it took twelve months and a friendly tip to convince me to make them.
This week, after I’d peeled, cubed, steamed and puréed another pumpkin, I finally had an opportunity to. I opted to use Martha Stewart’s recipe, but added my own little tweak. I didn’t have quite as much pumpkin as the recipe called for (yes, I’ve been using it a lot- more pumpkin recipes are on their way), so I added in some cocoa powder for a bit of extra flavour. Chocolate and pumpkin? Whoop, whoop!
- Chocolate-Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
- adapted from Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream-Cheese Filling by Martha Stewart
- makes 6 pies (easily doubled, but these things are huge!)
- Whoopie Pies
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 Tbs. cocoa powder
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup pumpkin purée (from peeled, cubed, steamed and puréed pumpkin, or from a can)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Filling
113g cream cheese, at room temperature
57g butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1. Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cocoa powder. Set aside.
2. In another bowl, beat the egg and brown sugar together with an electric beater until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes (or use a stand mixer). Add the oil, pumpkin purée and vanilla and beat for another minute. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat until just combined.
3. Using a 1/4 cup ice-cream scoop or measuring cup, place large spoonfuls of the dough on the baking sheets, leaving about 3 inches between each one. Work quickly, as the batter will spread a bit. Bake for 15 minutes, until the tops are just springy to the touch. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely before filling.
4. While the whoopie pies cool, make the filling. Cream together the cream cheese and butter, adding the vanilla after they’re well combined. Sift in the icing sugar and cinnamon and beat to combine. Keep the filling in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
5. To fill the cookies, simply spread a few tablespoonfuls of filling on the flat side of one, and gently pair it with another, similar in size and shape. Whoopie pies should be kept in an airtight container in the fridge.