Saturday, November 14, 2009

the hardest part is the beginning

One Pumpkin Whoopie Pie

I've been lazing around the house all day now, since I woke up. I've wanted to start this blog post, but instead I've been doing things to put it off. Things I've done today while procrastinating blog posting include:

1. Looking through four different cookbooks in search of fun things to do with the last of the carrots in our crisper
2. Making a list of everyone I want to give holiday gifts to, and planning what those gifts will be
3. Checking Twitter on five different occasions
4. Looking up dessert restaurants that are open late in Brooklyn for a friend's birthday
5. Making chicken stock from this week's roast chicken bones
6. Doing the dishes in the sink

While each of these fantastic procrastination devices has been somewhat productive (with the possible exception of the obsessive Twitter checking), what I really wanted to do was write. But as lots of people who write know, beginning is usually the most difficult part. My thought process during today's procrastination went something like this:

"I'd really like to write a blog post today. But what could I write about? I need to cook something to write about it. I mean, it's a food blog, after all. I can't just sit down and write things and then publish them to the internet. Yes, I should cook something. But what should I cook? We're nearly out of butter, and everything I would want to cook includes butter. I should go to the store to get some butter. But I don't really want to go to the conventional grocery store to get it. I don't know where that butter's been or what kind of a cow it came from. I could go to the farmers' market and get some cream to make my own butter. But then I have to go out in the rain, and it's going to take forever to walk to the farmers' market and back. I could make carrots, I guess. Carrots would be a good thing to make. Plus, people will be looking for things to make for Thanksgiving, and it would be nice to give them an idea for a side dish. But we have so many roasted vegetables in the fridge. I can't just make more carrots. They might go bad, and that would be such a waste. Maybe I could make a carrot soup. That would keep in the freezer. But I don't have any stock. I'd better start making stock with that chicken carcass I have from the other night. Now I'm hungry. I think I'll heat up some leftover roast chicken and vegetables with rice for lunch. I should probably do the dishes, too. This stock is going to take a long time, and it's getting dark now. There's no way I'm going to be able to make stock for a soup, make a soup, and photograph it for the blog today. I guess I should just start writing. I could post those awesome pumpkin whoopie pies from the Baked cookbook that Mary made a few weeks ago. But that's a sweet, and Adriana's probably going to be posting a lot of sweets since she just started her baking and pastry unit in school. But I guess it would be fine to post the whoopie pies because they're really terrific, and some people might want to make them for Thanksgiving. Yeah, I guess I could post about them. But what the heck am I going to write? I should just sit down and get started, and then if I don't like what I'm writing, I can always stop. There's no rule that says you have to finish a blog post the same day you start it. Okay, I'm just going to get started. Now what the heck should I write?"

Yes, folks, that's pretty much what it was like to be in my head today. Quite the jumble of thoughts, eh? To be honest, I don't have much else to say. These pumpkin whoopie pies are incredible. Mary made them, and they looked and smelled so terrific that I decided to eat a whole one, even though I'm going sugar- and white flour-free these days. They tasted to me like little hand-sized pumpkin pies. In fact, they tasted way better than pumpkin pie, in my opinion. Since she made them, I've been telling Mary that she's got to make these as a treat for Thanksgiving. I think you might want to do that, as well.

On an unrelated note, I currently have a Thanksgiving article up at Refrigerator Soup. Have you heard of the site yet? It's similar in some ways to Foodgawker and Tastespotting, except it's a bit more blogger-focused. Each day, the website features a few photos that are posted in a featured section above the fold of the page. This is a terrific chance for food bloggers to showcase their work and draw attention to unique dishes. Refrigerator Soup is also unique because they have a blogroll of all their contributors down the entire right side of the page. This means that as long as you contribute photos to their site regularly, the name of your blog will be on the front page for other food lovers to find. They're a relatively young site, as well, so it's a fantastic place to learn about smaller-scale bloggers who aren't featured as often on larger round-up sites. My favorite thing about them so far, though, is that the people behind the site are just as nice as can be. They genuinely care about bloggers and about providing compelling content. I highly recommend visiting them and submitting your photos if you have a food blog you would like to share.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
Makes about 24 pies

For the pumpkin whoopie cookies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbs. cinnamon
1 Tbs. ginger
1 Tbs. cloves
2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the cream cheese filling:
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves together and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the brown sugar and oil together until combined. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined. Chill completely (at least one hour). This will make the pies easier to scoop and will give them their signature domed top.

Use a tablespoon to drop heaped spoonfuls of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the pan while you make the filling.

Cream cheese filling:
Sift the confectioners' sugar into a medium bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is completely smooth, with no visible lumps. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.

Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Be careful not to overbeat the filling, or it will lose structure. (The filling can be made 1 day ahead. Cover the bowl tightly and put it in the refrigerator. Let the filling soften at room temperature before using.)

Assemble the whoopie pies:
Turn half of the cookies upside down (flat side facing up).

Use a tablespoon to drop a large dollop of filling onto the flat side of the cookie. Place another cookies, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges of the cookies. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up before serving.

The whoopie pies will keep for up to 3 days, on a parchment-lined baking sheet covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator.


Pumpkin Whoopie Pies


  1. Your thought process was perfect. I've been there before with some of those exact same thoughts. Well said.

  2. you have a gorgeous site here and i can only imagine how incredible the smell of these pumpkin whoopie pies were, not to mention the taste!

  3. KMS: Thank you so much. That means a lot coming from you. Your photos and the spirit of your blog are inspirational.



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