Ok, so it’s been a while since I blogged. A very long while.
Ridiculously long. But there’s a reason, I promise!
I moved. In with a boy. From St. Paul to Minneapolis. Shocking.
Everyone told me, before I embarked on my cohabitation adventure, that things are really fun until the honeymoon phase wears off.
But I’m betting we didn’t really get a honeymoon phase. The first weekend we moved in, someone stole a set of keys to the building, and they had to change all the locks. Fair enough, right?
But instead of ordering one key per resident, they ordered on key per apartment, leaving all the people in the building who have more than one person living in their apartment juggling schedules like crazy trying to make sure their roommate/significant other/spouse wasn’t locked out of their own home. And it took them 3 weeks to obtain additional keys. So that was an adventure.
Also, it became immediately apparent that our apartment was haunted. But we’ll save that story for another day.
Add exploding sinks, and The Great Internet Debacle of 2014 (4 weeks sans-internet, two internet service providers, and 3 modems later…) to that list, and I’d say Kyle and I were faced with enough challenges to test the strength of our relationship right off the bat.
Needless to say, cooking, much less blogging, was the last thing on my mind. However, there is a silver lining. Now that the dust has settled, we’re able to see what a strong bond we have, start to learn what it means to work together when times get tough.
And while the transition from St. Paul – ardent St. Paul girl here – to Minneapolis was tougher than I expected, I can finally say that this place is starting to feel more like home.
And to me, nothing says home like fall baking. Especially when you throw pumpkin in the mix. And with less than a week to go before Halloween, what better time is there to get cozy with some baked goods and a scary movie made before 2001.
Because those special effects get way too good for my liking in the post-2001 horror world. And my cohabitation buddy does not appreciate it when I have to sleep with all the lights on.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (Recipe adapted from Teenie Cakes)
For the cakes:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour*
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 Tbsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 Tbsp. ground cloves
- 1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (you can sub canned pumpkin for part of the oil if desired)
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
For the frosting:
- 2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 tsp, vanilla extract
Make the Cookies
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare two baking sheets with either nonstick baking mats or cut-to-size parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, or with an electric mixer, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk until well incorporated and then add egg and vanilla. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture in batches and whisk until thoroughly combined.
Using a small cookie scoop (mine were heaping 1 tablespoon-sized scoops), drop scoops of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1-inch apart. Flatten out dough by lightly dipping your fingers into water and creating a disc shape. Bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top or a toothpick inserted into center of cookie comes out clean, about 9-10 minutes.
Make the Cream Cheese Filling
Sift confectioner’s sugar into a medium bowl. In a bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter. Add cream cheese and beat until combined. Add confectioner’s sugar and vanilla, scrapping sides with a rubber spatula, until smooth.
Prepare a pastry bag (or a large Ziplock bag) with 3/4-full of the cream cheese filling. If using the Ziplock bag, just snip off a corner and squeeze the frosting down there.
On completely cooled cookies, generously pipe the underside/flat-side of the cookie with filling. Sandwich with another cookie, flat-side-to-flat-side with filling in-between, pressing into each other slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges of cookie. If desired, you can roll them through sprinkles to add Halloween festive-ness to the frosting layer.
Refrigerate cookies at least 30-minutes to 1-hour before serving. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*Note: The original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups flour. I found the dough was way too runny, and ended up adding an extra 1/2 cup of flour to firm it up so it was scoop-able. I suggest adding 1/2 cup at a time until you get the consistency of a really thick cake batter, or thinner cookie dough.