By CLAIRE TEAGUE
Fall is finally here, so naturally it’s time to break out the pumpkin flavored treats! I love Martha Stewart’s recipe for pumpkin whoopie pies (also known as gobs) with cream cheese frosting. The recipe I like to use is adapted slightly from Stewart’s for a college budget – I chose to use canned pumpkin pie mix, which has all the spices Stewart included instead of worrying about buying nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
I also modified the quantity of oil, cutting it down to a half cup and substituting the rest of the oil with greek yogurt. The end result makes the cookies extra soft and reduces the fat. It’s a win-win! I’ve provided her cream cheese frosting recipe, which is delicious, and please note that for those interested, the ⅓ fat cream cheese is not noticeable and tastes just as good as regular cream cheese.
The other option for filling is a greek yogurt frosting that I make on occasion when I have an abundance the stuff left in my fridge. While unsurprisingly it’s not as good as the cream cheese frosting, it is a healthier option and for those of you substituting the oil with greek yogurt, it’s helpful to use up the rest of the yogurt and avoid spending money on cream cheese.
These cookies are fairly easy to make but do require an oven for baking. The batter and frosting can be combined by whipping with a fork rather than an electric mixer and if you don’t feel like making it yourself, although the results are highly delicious, you can always purchase pre-made cream cheese frosting.
Essentially, the process for making whoopie pies is the same as making any other cookie. Measure and combine all of the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine and mix the sugar with the oil and greek yogurt if you’re opting for the low fat version. Add the pumpkin puree, eggs and vanilla. Once all of the wet ingredients have been thoroughly blended, add the flour mixture or all of the dry ingredients and blend until thoroughly incorporated.
The result should be like a thick batter in consistency. Use a spoon and scoop a hearty spoonful onto a prepared baking sheet and bake for twelve to fifteen minutes, or until they’re soft and if a toothpick is inserted into the middle it comes out clean. Scoop a dollop of the frosting of your choice onto the flat side of a cookie and gently squish another cookie on top for an delicious pumpkin sandwich. The results are delicious and go great with a cup of black coffee.
For the pumpkin cookies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup greek yogurt
3 cups, or one and a half cans, pumpkin pie mix
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
8 hours of cream cheese (⅓ fat cream cheese tastes just as good!)
Greek yogurt frosting option:
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract, or more to taste
1 cup confectioners sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and make sure you’ve set out the butter and cream cheese to soften, if you’ve chosen to do the cream cheese frosting. Spray the baking sheets with a non-stick spray or cover with a sheet of parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and whisk with a fork until they’re mixed and set it aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and the oil using a fork or an electric mixer ideally if you have one. Add the greek yogurt and whisk till combined. Add the pumpkin pie mix and mix thoroughly. Add in the eggs and the vanilla and beat until everything is fully incorporated.
3. Add the flour mixture slowly to the wet ingredients and whisk it in until everything is blended nicely and there are no clumps.
4. Using a spoon, drop a full spoonful of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and keep them about an inch apart. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, more if needed, but until a toothpick (or a fork) is poked into the cookie and comes out clean.
5. Make the frosting! If you’re choosing to do the cream cheese frosting, follow these instructions: Put the softened butter whip it until it’s smooth. Add the softened cream cheese and mix until the two are perfectly combined. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and whisk until it’s smooth and free of clumps. For the greek yogurt frosting measure out the greek yogurt and pour it into a bowl. Add the vanilla to taste. Add confectioners sugar and mix until thoroughly blended. If the consistency is too thin or runny you can add more confectioners sugar to thicken it.
6. Once the cookies have cooled you can make them into whoopie pies, also known as “gobs.” Place a large spoonful of frosting onto the flat side of one cookie and top it off with another cookie, creating a sandwich. Finish all the cookies and refrigerate them for 30 minutes prior to serving.
Graphics by Sam Hungerford