Once upon a time there was a girl who worked in a cubicle looking for a way to share her love of food with the world. She started a blog, wrote about 10 posts, and then forgot about it. One day she came across an article in a 2009 feature in Self Magazine that featured bloggers’ tips for staying healthy over the holidays and ended up going to Eat, Live, Run – a (at the time) healthy living blog about a girl named Jenna. And her life was changed forever.
In case you didn’t know – that girl was me, and Jenna is the woman who inspired me to share my life and my food on the internet. My life has truly been changed from reading her blog, so you can imagine how incredibly honored I was to receive a copy of her first book, White Jacket Required. It’s been one I’ve been eagerly anticipating for some time now!
In short, the book is a fantastic memoir of Jenna’s journey through culinary school and life in general. A lot of the stories I read were ones that I’d seen on her blog, but with more depth, emotion, and raw honesty. At the end of each chapter is a collection of recipes, one of my favorite features of the book. But my favorite part was feeling like I was getting to know the true Jenna behind the blog. I felt a kinship with her and her love of baking – the way that kneading dough can bring peace in the midst of mayhem, the knowledge that following a recipe will yield the same results every time, and the way that food can bring us back to life.
I’ve made quite a few of Jenna’s recipes over the years and have never been let down – her recipes are always go-to’s in our house! I have literally bookmarked every single one in White Jacket Required to make in the coming months, but the one that stuck out in particular was the one for Pumpkin Whoopee Pies.
See, this is the first pumpkin recipe I have made so far this year, which is actually pretty sad considering the fact that fall has come on full-force in the past week. The good news is that these whoopee pies do NOT disappoint, and the buttercream is so good that I want eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They’re pillowy and laced with delicious spice, stuffed with sweet vanilla buttercream, and perfect for eating too many. I would HIGHLY recommend diving in and making them immediately – the stomachache will be worth it!
Pumpkin Whoopee Pies
By Jenna Weber,
Author of White Jacket Required: A Culinary Coming-of-Age Story
Makes about 18 whoopee pies
These cookies are very rich, almost like a cupcake, so I suggest saving this recipe for a special occasion or a rainy afternoon. The cookies are best the day you bake them; if you keep them for too long they will become a bit gummy and soft. They would also be perfect with cream cheese frosting in the middle, or on their own, sprinkled with a dusting of powdered sugar.
For the buttercream filling
- 1 egg white
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar, divided
- ¾ cup shortening
For the cookies
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1½ cups canned pumpkin
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
Make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the egg white, milk, vanilla extract, and 1 cup of the powdered sugar, then mix on high speed until the mixture is creamy and light. Add shortening and remaining cup of sugar, and whip on high speed until very light, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 325°P. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Make the cookies: In a large bowl, blend together brown sugar and oil with a spoon until well combined. Add pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla and continue to stir until smooth.
Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices, and then add to the wet ingredients, stirring only until combined (be careful not to overmix).
For best results, spoon batter into a piping bag with a large tip and pipe mounds of batter (about 1 tablespoon each) of batter onto the lined sheet tray, about 3 inches apart. (If you don’t have a piping bag, use two large spoons and space the batter in the same way.)
Bake cookies for about 10-12 minutes, until they begin to turn golden. Let cool completely before sandwiching cookies together with the filling.
Cookie sandwiches will keep in a sealed plastic container at room temperature for a few days.
Reprinted with permission from White Jacket Required: A Culinary Coming-of-Age Story © 2012 by Jenna Weber, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
One word: YUM