Pumpkin Whoopie Pies- Quest for the Best

I often try a few recipes at a time.  It's like hosting my own personal recipe contest.

It's just for my own purposes.  And I know it's not normal.  But I always wonder if there could be a better recipe out there, and I think side by side taste testing is the best way to pick a favorite recipe. Sometimes the results are clear cut, and sometimes they are all good and comes down to personal taste. Sometimes I don't love any of them and I try a new set of recipes.  I'm not saying my final opinion is anything more than an opinion.  It's just how I roll and and how a recipe becomes my gold standard.  Until I decide to challenge it, that is!

But I don't just decide on my taste buds alone.  I drag my neighbors and available friends into taste testing and offering their votes.  Often when I blog, I just share the final result, my favorite.  But I thought it would be fun to let you guys in on my results and conclusions.  

So this time I was on a quest to find the best pumpkin whoopie pie recipe...
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The cookies were all very different, but all very good.  
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Each recipe had fans and was voted the best some.  But here are the summarized results:
RECIPE ONE- This one was more cookie-like than cake-like.  It was similar to a pumpkin flavored sugar cookie or pumpkin sandies cookie.  The pumpkin flavor was more subtle.  The marshmallow filling was good and firm.  The taste of both together was a bit of a sugar rush for me.  Very sweet!  Made 28 cookies, 14 whoopie pies.  (1 Tbsp. scoop)
RECIPE TWO- With the largest ratio of spices, it was the most flavor rich cookie.  The filling was cream cheese based and a perfect combo.  Most kids didn't like this one as much because of the strong flavor.  One friend said it almost tasted gingerbread-ish/Christmas-y.  But you could definitely taste the pumpkin as well.  They were cake-like and very moist!  So soft!  Made 61 cookies, 30 whoopie pies
RECIPE THREE- {WINNER} This one got the most votes for #1 and I think was the most classic pumpkin flavor.  It was full of spice, but the pumpkin won out as the strongest flavor.  It was moist and cake-like.  The cream cheese filling was great and very similar to the filling in #2.  Made 44 cookies, 22 whoopie pies.

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After I picked my favorite, I made, um.... several batches and tweaked it just a hair.  

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Here is the recipe I used (adapted from the fabulous recipe here)

Sift together these ingredients in a bowl, and set aside.  
3 cups all purpose Flour 
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all in an electric mixer:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 - 15 oz. can of pumpkin
2 large eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add the dry ingredients 1/3 at a time.  Don't over-mix.  
Line cookie sheets with parchment, or a sil-pat nonstick liner.  Use a 1 Tbsp scoop to drop cookies.  Take a slightly wet finger and pat down peaks, and make cookies a bit flatter and more round.  

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Let them cool before you fill them.  

Cream Cheese Filling- you will have a bit left of this, but I like to fill them pretty generously.  I filled a piping bag and swirled them on like a cupcake!  
16 oz cream cheese (2 packages)
1 cup butter
1 2lb. bag of powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Refrigerate if you aren't eating them right away.  I actually loved them chilled and firm.  But you can let them come to room temp too.  The filling will squish out more when you eat them warm.  

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I'm just as obsessed with getting the packaging right as I am with getting the recipe right.  I can't tell you how many hours I surfed the web/shopped in pursuit of baked goods packaging.  But sometimes the perfect packaging isn't a traditional cake box.  

For the whoopie pies, I ended up using floral/corsage boxes.  I bought them at my local floral supply store and they were reasonably priced.  I protected the food with a cupcake wrapper and lined the box with filler to stabilize them a little.
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It was the perfect little nest for these darling cookie sandwiches.  
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Then I added some fall flavor with a burlap wrap, some pretty preserved leaves and satin ribbon.  
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Beautiful packaging can turn a simple gift into a thoughtful gesture.  Just my humble opinion.
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It also makes delivering sweet gifts a breeze.  
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I loved using the bigger floral boxes for a more substantial gift.  The long, narrow shape is a bit unexpected and fit 16 whoopie pies perfectly.  
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I'm sure that these could be put in a cake box, but I do enjoy the clear packaging, so that people can get excited about their treat before they even open the box!  
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I hope this wasn't TMI as I walked you through my entire thought process while making these treats. But alas, I think this "quest for the best" was successful.  

p.s. Happy Thanksgiving!  My sweet blog readers are among the blessings I'm thankful for!

6 comments:

  1. great idea for those boxes, I love having different ways to give out my treats.

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  2. Ashleigh you're so talented! I love this. As a semi-retired florist why have I never used my corsage box for treats and goodies? These look amazing!

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  3. Absolutely not TMI! I truly appreciate your posts that walk through your creative processes. Thank you for sharing and happy Thanksgiving!

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  4. What a dedicated, busy baker! I love the pretty packaging too!

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