Can you say "whoop-dee-do"? The humbled home-backed whoopie pie is giving the super-trendy, fancy-frosting cupcake a run for its money.
From The All-American Dessert Book, by Nancy Baggett (Houghton Mifflin, 2005).
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 3/4 teaspoons ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg, or 1 1/4 teaspoons ground
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 cup shortening, room temperature
1 2/3 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup light molasses
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups solid-pack canned pumpkin (freeze leftover pumpkin for another use)
1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (about 1 1/2 packets)
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup water, divided
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, cut in chunks
STIR together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter, shortening, brown sugar and molasses with an electric mixer on medium speed until well-blended, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl if needed. Reduce mixer speed slightly and add sour cream, egg and vanilla, beating until fluffy, about 1 minute.
BEAT in about half the flour mixture, scraping bowl as needed. Beat in the pumpkin just until smooth. Beat in the remaining flour mixture. Refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes.
PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Generously grease several large baking sheets or coat with nonstick spray. Using a 1/4-cup measure or an ice cream scoop, scoop out dough into uniform mounds about 3 1/2 inches apart. Dust your palm with flour and pat down the tops until flattened to about 3 inches in diameter.
Bake 12 to 16 minutes, or until lightly brown and just firm when lightly pressed. Let cool about 2 minutes to firm up, then use a flat spatula to transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
PLACE half the cookies with the bottoms up. Spread with 1/4 cup filling. Top with a second cookie, bottom down, and press gently to spread the filling to the edge. Refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to a month.
FILLING: Sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water in a small measuring cup. Let stand, stirring once or twice, until the gelatin softens.
STIR together the sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup hot water in a heavy, 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Stirring, raise the heat to high and bring to a full boil. Boil 30 seconds. Immediately remove from heat. Stir in the gelatin until it dissolves.
TRANSFER to a large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla. Beat for 20 seconds with an electric mixer on medium speed. Gradually raise speed to high and beat until stiffened, white and barely warm, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and beat in the confectioners sugar. On medium speed, gradually beat in the cream cheese. If the mixture seems runny, refrigerate for a few minutes.