Whether you’re on Team Maine or Team Pennsylvania — the two states who notoriously butt heads on who created these sweet sandwiches — it can be agreed upon that the Whoopie Pie is a delectable treat. And ‘tis the season for pumpkin spice everything, right? Although I can’t get on board with every pumpkin-spiced treat out there (PSL…shhh…), I can guarantee I will love anything that combines pumpkin and bourbon. And that, simply put, was the inspiration and reason for this recipe.
These whoopie pies have a lot of pumpkin, a hefty amount of spice, and enough bourbon to warm your soul. OK, maybe not enough to warm your soul, but still, there’s a good amount in these.
My goal with these Pumpkin Whoopie Pies was to make sure they lived up to their name. I often find with “pumpkin recipes” that they don’t call for much pumpkin at all, leaving a half empty can on the counter glaring back saying, “use me, don’t waste me”, and a recipe that doesn’t have much pumpkin essence at all. And, OK, I’ll admit, pumpkin itself doesn’t have a ton of flavor, but if you’re going to call it pumpkin this or pumpkin that, it better have a good amount of pumpkin in it. Am I right? So this recipe uses a whole 15-ounce can of pumpkin purée, that’s right, no extra to ponder over.
When baked, spices oftentimes seem to get lost. So to ensure a flavorful and spicy cookie, I bumped up the spices (ingenious, I know). But seriously, it may seem like a lot of spice to be adding to the flour mixture, and it is, but these tender, moist cookies come out of the oven smelling like heaven and packing a major flavor punch.
Such bold cookies need something to balance out the flavors and the Bourbon-Cream Cheese filling does just that. Cool, tangy, and perfectly sweetened, this cream cheese mixture is superb layered between two tender pumpkin cookies. Oh, and it’s generously flavored with bourbon. Yea, they’re incredible and I’m not just saying that. These whoopie pies, perfect for fall, are out of this world.
- Pumpkin Cookies:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cloves
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin purée
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar (5 ¼ ounces)
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Bourbon-Cream Cheese Filling:
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- Pinch of table salt
- Whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Whisk together pumpkin purée, melted butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon bourbon in a large bowl.
- Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and stir, using a rubber spatula, until just combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to over night.
- Heat oven to 350° with rack in middle position. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. By tablespoon, roll dough into balls and space evenly on prepared sheets, about 16 per sheet. Gently flatten dough balls with slightly dampened fingers to about ½-inch thick. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, until set and tops spring back when gently pressed, 11–13 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheets 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Beat together cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add confectioners’ sugar and bourbon and mix until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Spread scant 1 tablespoon cream cheese filling onto bottom side of half of the cookies; sandwich with remaining cookies, bottom side down, pressing gently. Refrigerate whoopie pies at least 30 minutes, then dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.
- Can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days in advance.