Friday, October 28, 2011

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Pumpkin Buttercream

So obviously I've mentioned my love of Halloween.  Clearly I also love candy, as a God-fearing, born and raised American child must.  I know we talked a little bit about my love of candy corn specifically last time, but I'd like to expand on some of these important topics.

First off, my near-irrational love of Halloween.  Where does it come from?  It probably stems from a few things.  Yes, I love the general spookiness and I love a good scare...that's obvious from the numerous times I've mentioned zombie movies.  And I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that I've been dragging Jim along through a scary movie marathon until Halloween night.  This can't be normal, I know.  But I can't help it, I love it.

The pumpkins, the costumes, the candy...something about Halloween just appeals to the kid in me that lies just beneath the surface of my day-to-day boring grown up lady facade.  Some part of me delights in getting elbow-deep in pumpkin guts and being artistic, playing dress up, getting all super into the spooky mood, and going out and getting free candy from strangers.  At night!  Come on, it couldn't be cooler, right?

I'd like to talk to you more about candy, please.  The candy you get at Halloween is the sweetest, best-tasting candy you'll ever eat.  Why?  Because you earned it!  I can go out and buy a bag of Snickers or whatever, but it will never taste as good as straight-out-of-the-pillowcase (inspected by Mom of course) trick or treat candy.

When I'd get home from trick or treating with my brothers, we would all go in the living room, spread out on the carpet and carefully lay out our candy, grouping it in neat lines according to type and size.  Then the bargaining would begin.  My mom insisted all Mr. Goodbars be set aside for my Grandpa, who I think is the only person who likes those.  Mom would usually snag a few Reeses, Dad preferred Snickers.

My brothers and I would trade candies sometimes, but most of the time we all liked the big names.  And nobody ever wants to trade for that super lame foam-looking peanut or bottle caps or whatever other lame candies some houses should have been ashamed to be giving out.  One year some folks must have run out of candy, because they started giving out cans of Coke.  I loved that as well.

And then there was always the coveted house that gave out the full sized candy bars... that's the stuff of neighborhood legends, really.  I still remember one year, trick or treating in my neighborhood, one of my neighbors left out a bowl of full sized Hersheys bars with mint chocolate cookie bits (it must have been discontinued).  That was my favorite treat ever.  And yes, I was the kid that would obey the rules and only take one.

Honestly I can't wait until I have children so I can relive the Halloween fun with them again.  That's a valid reason for wanting a child, right?  Candy?  I'm kidding of course.  But it will be a perk, for sure.

Being in the spirit and all, I made these Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Pumpkin Buttercream.

I used my NEW Kitchenaid mixers to make them....behold.

Here's a little before and after.

My old mixer, which I'm pretty sure was ACTUALLY from the 50's. 
Look, I know it's old and beat up, and the ugliest color of green imaginable, but I got some SERIOUS use out of this thing.  Then the beaters started rusting and it was over.  I had a hard time letting go of this little baby, flaws aside.  This is what I used to make all the baked goods that made Jim fall in love with will always have a special place in my heart.
Shiny.  New.  Red.

And here we have one of the new additions.  I love this color of red.  It still smells like a new, fresh-out-of-the-plastic appliance, which I'm sure you'll agree is a GREAT smell.

And here, just a little side-by-side shot of both mixers.  Man, I was so unintentionally retro up until now!  I hope that doesn't make me a hipster.  I am NOT a hipster.

And here is my baby.  I've pined after this thing for years.  Courtesy of my new sister in law and her husband (who refers to himself as "bro squared", I'm sis squared obviously), I can't remember how I ever lived life without it, already.  I think when my sister in law Jen found out I didn't have one, she was honestly appalled.  I can't say I blame her.  I have no excuse for myself.  All I can say is, I have seen the light and I'll never look back.  HUGE thank you.  I don't know if you noticed, but the little mixer and the stand mixer (yes you need both) match!  I love red.

Enough of this!  Pies!

Let me really quick just say that this is a very versatile chocolate cookie recipe.  You can use just the cookies if you like a delicious plain brownie-like cookie, or you can embellish them with thumbprints filled with jam, Hershey's kisses pressed into the tops, frosting, chocolate chips....the lists goes on.  I made them into whoopie pies as you can see.

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Pumpkin Buttercream
(adapted from allrecipes and simply modern mom, makes about 10 pies)


1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup cocoa
3/8 tsp baking soda (I know, I'm sorry)
1/4 tsp salt


2 Tbsp butter, softened
1/2 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp pumpkin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

For the cookies, cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in egg, followed by vanilla.  Mix together dry ingredients in a seperate bowl, whisking until combined.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until thoroughly combined.

Using a 1'' scoop, scoop out balls of dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, flattening the balls with your hand until they are uniform in size and shape.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.  Cool on sheets, then remove to racks to cool completely.

Eat any remaining batter immediately, it is so so good.

For the cream, mix all ingredients together using an electic mixer until smooth.  Add more powdered sugar or milk as needed to achieve desired consistency.  Use about 1 Tbsp to make each moon pie.  Frost bottom of one cookie, and top with another cookie keeping the "cute" sides out.  Best if eaten the day they are made.

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