Oct 6, 2013

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cinnamon Marshmallow Fluff Buttercream

I, like many other bakers and bloggers out there whip out our can openers this time of year to pop the top on canned pumpkin.  And honestly it’s not even my most favorite ingredients.  Pumpkin this and pumpkin that, whatever it is, it usually has the same ho-hum flavor.  Oh…until now.
First, please…please, please toss that pumpkin pie spice jar that gets pushed to the back of the cupboard until October every year.  Then of course you’ve already bought a new jar since you’ve assumed you didn’t have any anyway.  Please tell me I’m not the only one that does this.  Really, when else throughout the year do we use it!?  The genius of this Whoopie Pie recipe is…ready?…it contains NO pumpkin pie spice!!!  You are only incorporating spices that you use on a weekly basis…and tons of them.  I think that’s the key to any pumpkin recipe – go heavy on the spices.  Pumpkin itself is pretty bland.  It needs sugar (tons) and lots of depth in the spice department to keep things interesting.
And instead of opting for the obligatory cream cheese frosting that is synonymous with Pumpkin-cake-anything, I’m switching things up and using Marshmallow Fluff.  You know the semi-solid-crack-in-a-jar.  So fluffy and sticky and sweet, just dangerously addictive stuff that fluff (oh I sound slightly Dr. Seuss, no?)
This frosting is riiiii-dic.  It comes together in a snap and can be flavored in a multitude of ways.  Think of it as your LBD of frostings.  Depending on the flavor of your cake you can add almond extract, maple, peppermint, or good ol’ plain vanilla.  It’s thick, rich, and spreads like a dream.
Whoop-Whoop, it’s Whoopie Time.
ps: I used my whoopie pie pan from Williams-Sonoma for this recipe.  If you find your pies tend to vary too much in size, I highly suggest picking one up for yourself!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cinnamon Marshmallow Fluff Buttercream
makes about 12 whoopie pies
For the pies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon ginger (powder)
1 tablespoon cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the buttercream:
¼ cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow fluff
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
16 ounces powdered sugar
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 350F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper OR if using a whoopie pie pan, lightly grease with vegetable shortening.  Set aside.
In a large bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.  Whisk to combine and set aside. 
In the bowl of a stand-up mixer (or using a hand mixer) whisk the brown sugar and oil together until combined, about one minute. 
Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine.
Add the eggs and vanilla, whisk to combine.   

Add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing until just combined.  Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  
*sorry I accidentally deleted the photo of this part!  Use a small ice cream scoop to drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto your prepared sheet, about one inch apart.  *if using the whoopie pie pan, fill each pie compartment with a heaping tablespoon of dough and use the back of a spoon to smooth the tops.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until pies start to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Let the pies cool for about 5 minutes on the pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.   
To prepare the buttercream, beat the butter, marshmallow fluff, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand-up mixer until thoroughly combined.

Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl in three additions. 

*it’s very important to sift your powdered sugar to make sure clumps like these won’t end up in your buttercream.  Simply break them up with your fingers and push them through the sieve. 
*here’s a handy little trick: place a kitchen towel over the top of your mixer when beating dry ingredients such as powdered sugar or flour.  The towel helps keep the tiny particles from floating all over your kitchen creating a dusty wonderland. 
Add the cinnamon and one tablespoon of milk.  Beat to combine.  If the buttercream is still quite thick, add the remaining tablespoon of milk.  

To assemble the pies, use an offset spatula to spread about 1-2 tablespoons of buttercream on the bottom of one pie (flat side).  Top with another pie.  I find they are best kept refrigerated. 
Whoopie pie (cake portion) adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
Frosting recipe adapted from Kraft Recipes

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