For those not familiar with this Coalcracker/PA Dutch treat, a whoopie pie is made with two soft cake-like cookies with a fluffy filling sandwiched in between. The most common flavor is chocolate with a vanilla filling, but whoopie pies can be made in several variations including this popular seasonal favorite; pumpkin with cream cheese filling. This version is made into mini “two-bite” whoopies, but you can make them larger if you desire; adjust your cooking time accordingly.
The claim to the invention of whoopie pies is contested from Pennsylvania through New England with Maine claiming whoopies as “theirs”.
Research seems to bear out that whoopie pies were, in fact, a contribution to America thanks to German immigrants who became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch.
It is believed Amish, Mennonite, and Pennsylvania Dutch cooks made them as a way to use left-over cake batter. According to folklore, the whoopie pies were wrapped and placed in the lunch boxes of children who exclaimed, “Whoopee!” when discovering them in their lunch pail. Whoopie pies have been a staple in Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine for generations.
Gobs of whoopies
In Western Pennsylvania, specifically Johnstown (a small city about an hour drive east of Pittsburgh in bituminous coal country), they have their own special moniker — “gobs”. Gobs” is a trademarked name owned by the Dutch Maid Bakery of Johnstown.
Whether you think of them as whoopie pies or gobs, these mini pumpkin treats will be a hit with adults and kids alike!
Mini Pumpkin Whoopie PiesCourse: Desserts, SnacksCuisine: PA Dutch, Coal RegionDifficulty: Intermediate
Fluffy cream cheese filling sandwiched between two moist pumpkin cookie/cakes make a fun version of this traditional Pennsylvania Dutch snack.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup 100% pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cream Cheese Filling
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease or line four baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt in medium bowl.
- Beat butter and sugar in large bowl on medium speed with electric mixer for 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin and vanilla extract; beat until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until combined.
- Drop by heaping measuring teaspoons onto prepared baking sheets. (You should get about 70 to 72 cookies if making them as minis. You need to make an even number no matter how small or large you make them because each whoopie pie needs a “top” and “bottom”.)
- Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
- Cream cheese filling
- Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
- Spread a heaping teaspoon of filling onto flat side of one cookie; top with flat side of second cookie to make a sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Store in covered container in refrigerator.