Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies...need I say more?!! What a fantastic treat for October, or anytime really.  What the heck are whoopie pies, you're asking?  Well, you simply haven't lived if you haven't had one of these scrumpdelicious treats.  I found this recipe in the King Arthur Flour magazine and decided to make them for Sawyer's birthday.  (Sawyer is our neighbor who just turned 11).  I think the adults liked them as much or more than the children did.  If you like pumpkin anything you'll love these.  They have a great mixture of spices that reminds you of home.  I would suggest using fresh pumpkin.  One pie pumpkin was just enough to get the 1 1/2 cups pumpkin required for the recipe.  All you do is cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds (and save them for roasted pepitas) then bake the pumpkin cut side down at 350° for about 45 minutes, or until a fork pierces the outer skin easily.  Remove from the oven and flip over so it will cool more quickly.  Once cool enough to handle, scoop out the pumpkin and measure for your recipe.  Any leftovers can be used for smoothies, empanada filling, or whatever you like.  One note on the recipe, I used a regular sized scoop and they turned out way too big.  They spread quite a bit while baking, so use a small scoop (or just a half portion of your regular scoop), or a pastry bag and portion out so they are about 2-3 inches in diameter.  Since I was making these for children I didn't add the crystallized ginger, but I would add it if making for adults.  This recipe is a keeper!

For toasted pepitas, take pumpkin seeds you scooped out and remove the larger chunks of stringy guts.  Don't wash the seeds, though because the natural flavors from the pumpkin guts make the pepitas tasty.  Spread them out on a sheet pan and bake with the pumpkin.  They should be completely dried when done.  Then, melt some butter in a pan and add your favorite seasonings.  I used some dried cayenne pepper, a little sea salt, some freshly ground cumin and a pinch of black pepper.  Stir in the pumpkin seeds until well coated, then spread them back out onto a sheet pan and bake at 250° for about 45 minutes, stirring a couple of times during baking.  mmm...pepitas!