Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies

It seems like every season I develop an obsession with a particular ingredient.  This spring it was asparagus.  The summer had me obsessed with tomatoes, and this fall was the apple.  I'm going to go out on a limb and proclaim this year's holiday obsession to be gingerbread.  Or maybe I shouldn't limit it to gingerbread, and just go with ginger instead.  Regardless, I've been enjoying gingerbread oatmeal in the morning,  cake, gingersnaps as a snack, and now these whoopie pies.

At the end of last year, The New York Times proclaimed whoopie pies to be the new cupcake.  Now, I'm not sure if they can replace cupcakes, but they are a lot of fun.  They have everything going for them that cupcakes do, plus they are portable and neater to eat.

I've actually had the idea to make a gingerbread whoopie pie since this fall, and I figured that I would be able to find a recipe.  King Arthur Flour, one of my favorite sources for baking, has one, but it wasn't quite what I was looking for.  I had no issues adapting it to my taste though.  The classic filling for whoopie pies is marshmallow, but I think cream cheese frosting makes more sense with the spiciness of gingerbread.  However, when I tasted the icing with a cookie scrap, it lacked something.  I added some lemon zest and extract, and the combination of the bright citrus with the spicy gingerbread was spot on.  I was actually a little apprehensive about the combo because I was afraid that ginger + lemon =cough medicine, but it was really really delicious.  So much so that I had to get these out of my house asap.  I took a few to my in-laws, gave some to my sister-in-law, then donated the rest to my friend Michelle and her family.  Only once I got home, I was profoundly sad that I hadn't saved an extra for myself.  Oh well, I guess I will just have to make another batch...

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Lemon Cream Cheese Filling
adapted from King Arthur Flour
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
Lemon Cream Cheese Filling
adapted from Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, cold
  • 8 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract plus more as desired
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 3/4 -4  cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Mix in the egg, beating until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.

With the mixer on low speed, mix in half the dry ingredients.  Add the molasses, then the remaining dry ingredients.  Finally, add the buttermilk, mixing until just incorporated.

Use a medium cookie scoop or a pastry bag fitted with a round tip to form the cookie shapes on the prepared baking sheet.  Space the cookies a few inches apart, and bake 9-12 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets halfway through, until the cookies are cooked through and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger.

Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Repeat with remaining dough.

Meanwhile, make the filling.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy.  Add the vanilla, lemon extract, and lemon zest, and mix to combine.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the sugar.  Once it is incorporated, increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy.

Match the cookies together by size, and pipe or spread filling over half the cookies.  Form sandwiches with the remaining halves, and serve or store in an airtight container.


Mika said...

Those look absolutely heavenly Josie!

Lael Hazan @educatedpalate said...

Whoopie for whoopie pies! Great twist on holiday classic!

Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes said...

Yum yum! I love whoopie pies, love gingerbread, too. Though for some stupid reason I committed to making 5 dozen red velvet whoopies for a cookie swap...not the smartest choice - oops!

Laura said...

I cannot wait to try these! I love the idea of Gingerbread whoopies.

oneordinaryday said...

The lemon frosting is a perfect match for the gingerbread whoopie pies. Bet they're delicious!

Vicki Wilde said...

Oh yum! I don't like gingerbread cookies because they are so hard, this totally fixes that problem! The lemon frosting sounds like it would pair perfectly!

Lindsey said...

I love gingerbread and lemon! And I'm so glad to see a whoopie pie other than pumpkin. They look awesome!

Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking said...

These look wonderful and absolutely delicious! Thanks so much for sharing. I'll have to try them soon. I hope you're having a lovely day and a nice start to the holiday season!

erica said...

oh these look absolutely amazing. I am definitely going to give this a try. Whoopie Pies are so much fun to make. I am your newest follower.


Lacey said...

This looks like a great recipe and your photo is wonderful. You should share it at

Jennie said...

Genius!!!!! I am going to have to add to my to-make list!

Camala - CC Recipe said...

I love the lemon cream cheese filling paired with Gingerbread, what a fantastic idea!

Kristine said...

I've never made whoopie pies before, but these look so good I just might have to give them a try! The combination of gingerbread and lemon cream cheese filling sounds amazing!

V said...

YUM! The flavors were awesome... I'm not sure these will last in our house much longer. I paired with a chocolate gelato and it was so good! Thanks for the recipe this is definitely a keeper!

Anonymous said...

i just made this and the dough is really runny? is that how its supposed to be or did i do something wrong

Josie said...

Anonymous, It has admittedly been a while since I've made them, but I don't remember the batter being especially runny. I used a cookie scoop to portion it out, so probably a little thinner than a cookie, a little thicker than cake batter. Hope that helps!

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