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When you pick up a pumpkin for Halloween, pick up another to cook. Make sure to choose a variety that is intended for cooking, rather than for decoration. Field pumpkins — commonly used to carve jack-o’-lanterns — have watery, stringy flesh and are not recommended for eating. Sugar pumpkins and cheese pumpkins are two widely available varieties that are good for cooking and baking, thanks to their dense, sweet flesh. Ask the vendors at the Market which ones are best for cooking. Here is a fun recipe to get you in the Halloween mood.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream-Cheese Filling

Ingredients for the Filling:

  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Ingredients for the Cookies:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract    

Directions:

  1. Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.
  3. Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.
  4. Make the filling: Sift confectioners sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners sugar and vanilla, beat just until smooth. (Filling can be made up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate; let stand at room temperature to soften before using.)
  5. Assemble the whoopie pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag and snip the end. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate cookies at least 30 minutes before serving and up to 3 days.

With a tasty pumpkin whoopie pie in hand, get ready to enjoy these incredible recipes that take you beyond the proverbial pumpkin pie. I can’t wait to try the Gnocchi!  

Pork and Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin Waffles with Maple Walnut Apples

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Smoky Braised Mexican Pumpkin

Mexican Pumpkin Punch

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Mushrooms

Harvest Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Caramels

Cook pumpkin like you would any winter squash – peel it, slice it and remove the seeds. Then roast, boil or steam the pieces until tender. You can dice the cooked flesh into bite-sized pieces or puree them in a food processor. Once you have the cooked pumpkin or pumpkin puree, there is no limit to the delicious dishes you can make for your fall table.