Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pumpkin Time: Browned Butter Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Walnut Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Filling

Recently I have been dreaming...literally it has been my status for a few weeks now, when Charles finally asked what I was dreaming about.  My answer...I have been dreaming about life.  By life, I mean I have been dreaming about what's next and taking a leap of faith.  

I have been dreaming about new apartments with new kitchens to cook in. (I have lived in my current house for FOUR whole years now.  To put this into perspective, I have never lived in any other place, other than the two houses I grew up in, for longer.)  Do you ever just want to move so you can clean out the old stuff and sort-of start over again?  

I've been thinking about and wishing I could be more organized at that I have finally gotten my personal life more organized.  You would think with three physical calendars and two notebooks, I would be organized...what am I missing?  Have any tips you care to share?

I have been dreaming about dinner parties, and book clubs.  Will I ever actually start one?  Anyone want to join a book club? 

I have been dreaming about new recipes, which often makes it difficult to decide what to make.  Then I tend to fall back on others and see what they would like.  For instance, this recipe, like many others was inspired by James, who thought up these (funky monkey cupcakes), oh and these too (gingerbread cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting).  Plus, pumpkin whoopie pies are my all time favorite fall dessert, and these have a bit of a twist with their filling.  They are a slightly more grown up whoopie pie with the maple walnut brown sugar cream cheese filling, that has the right about of sweet, tang from the cream cheese and crunch from the walnuts.  These whoopie pies welcome in the fall with a bit of spice and the right amount of pumpkin.  Enjoy!

Dry ingredients ready for sifting...check out all of those yummy spices.

Browned butter, brown sugar and molasses...these will not be lacking in flavor.

All mixed up and time for the...

...pumpkin and dry ingredients.

Fresh out of the oven.

Time for the filling.

Browned Butter Pumpkin Whoopie Pies: (recipe adapted from King Arthur)
1/2 cup browned butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 heaping teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (one 15-ounce can) pumpkin
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Maple Walnut Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Filling: (recipe adapted from the Joy the Baker)
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 - 8oz block 1/3 fat cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon maple syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 pinch salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped

1. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter on medium-low heat until it starts to bubble, then foam and start to brown.  Will start to give off a nutty smell.  Pour into a Pyrex or other heat proof container and place in refrigerator until mostly hard.  Then let come back to room temperature.

2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, apple and sugar.  Then whisk in the eggs, pumpkin and molasses.

4. In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.

5. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, just until combined.

6. Use a cookie scoop to deposit the thick batter onto the prepared baking sheets.  One heaping scoop from a 1" cookie scoop make about 2 inch whoopie pies.  Two scoops makes about 3" whoopie pies.

7. Bake until the cookies feel firm; a slight indentation will remain when you gently press them in the middle, about 14 to 16 minutes.

8. Remove from the oven, cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes, then move to a rack to cool completely.

9. To make the filling: Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.  Then mix in the brown sugar, powdered sugar, salt and maple syrup.  Once the filling has come together.

10. To assemble: Sandwich two cookies around 2 tablespoons of filling.  Store in a plastic container. Enjoy!

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