1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
15 oz can pure pumpkin (not pie filling)
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 Tbsp water
1/2 cup chopped pecans
6 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 stick (6 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of salt
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 Tbsp bourbon (optional; substitute 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices in a bowl.
- Whisk together sugar, oil, pumpkin, egg, and vanilla in a separate large bowl until well combined, then stir in flour mixture.
- Using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop (I used the Pampered Chef Medium Scoop), drop onto a lined baking sheet to form 1 mound. Make 15 more mounds, arranging them 2 inches apart until baking sheet is full (you will have batter left over).
- Bake until springy to the touch, 12 to 18 minutes. Transfer cookie-cakes to rack to cool.
- Form and bake remaining batter on the other parchment-lined sheet. You should have a total of 32 cookie-cakes.
- Leave oven on.
- Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Stir together sugar, salt, and 1/2 tablespoon water in a small saucepan. Heat over moderate heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil. Stir in pecans.
- Spread mixture on lined sheet pan and bake until coating is bubbling and golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Cool completely on pan on a rack.
- While cookie-cakes are baking, beat cream cheese, butter, and salt in a bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar and bourbon and mix on low speed until smooth.
- Chill filling until firm enough to hold its shape when spread, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Spread 1 heaping tablespoon of filling each on flat side of half the cooled cookie-cakes (tip: add filling to 16 cookies before topping them so you can add frosting if needed). Top with other half of cookie-cakes. If necessary, chill whoopie pies just long enough to firm up filling again, about 30 minutes.
- Gently press pecans onto filling around middle of each whoopie pie to help them adhere to filling.
make ahead tips
- If you want perfectly round cakes, a 1-ounce ice cream scoop is a worthwhile investment, because you can use it for so many other baking projects, in addition to ice cream.
- Cookie-cakes can be baked 1 day ahead, and kept on racks at room temperature, covered with a kitchen towel.
- Filling can be made 1 day ahead, and chilled, covered.
- Pecans can be candied 3 days ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
16 sandwich cookies