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Pumpkin pie cookies beat pie itself

This past weekend I drove to Kentucky to plan my son’s rehearsal dinner. His soon to be in-laws live in the town of Mount Sterling right outside Lexington. By the time I passed through Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tenn., I was truly enjoying the passing mountains and changing foliage. It was very easy to get into the spirit of fall and think of Halloween and Thanksgiving. Everywhere we went people had decorated with pumpkins, gourds, fall leaves and scarecrows. Outside one store was a gorgeous display of pumpkins, they were painted instead of carved in black and white and intertwined with black mesh ribbon.

Naturally my thoughts turned to holiday cooking, and I couldn’t help but want to use pumpkins since they were everywhere. The most popular thing people think to use pumpkin for is pumpkin pie, unfortunately, I don’t care for pumpkin pie. So I have to find my pumpkin inspiration somewhere else. And I think I found the perfect outlet for pumpkin creativity in this recipe.

Pumpkin whoopie pies

cookie ingredients

One 15 oz. can pumpkin

2 large eggs

2 cups brown sugar

1 cups vegetable oil

2 tablespoons dark corn syrup

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking g powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups all purpose flour


1 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin

2 tablespoons cool water

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup cream cheese, room temp

2 1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease two flat baking pans or line with them with parchment paper. Make the cookies first. In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, oil and syrup. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl and beat in the salt, spices, baking powder and baking soda.

Add the flour and beat for 1 minute or until the mixture is well combined. Scrape down the side and then beat for another minute to make sure it is combined. Use a a large muffin scoop or a 1/4 cup measuring cup to drop the batter on the baking sheets, at least 2 inches apart. You need 24 cookies. Bake the cookies 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on rack


In a small heatproof bowl, combine the gelatin and water and set aside for the gelatin to soften. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Set the small bowl with the gelatin and water very gently into a larger bowl of hot water stirring to dissolve the gelatin. Set aside. Add half the powdered sugar to the creamed mixture, beat well, add the gelatin and mix to combine. Add the remaining powdered sugar, mix well and stir in the ginger. Spread the flat side of 12 of the cookies with the filling, using generous amounts. Top with remaining cookies. Wrap each cookie in plastic wrap to store.

Christina Hall writes a lifestyle column for The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at christina.hall@natchezdemocrat.com.