The Institute of Culinary Education is one of the largest culinary schools in the world, offering both professional and recreational programs in New York City. Here, Chef Melanie Underwood, chef instructor in their School of Recreational Cooking shares her perfect fall dessert recipe with PEOPLE.
At ICE, we’re falling for fall. The cozy knits, the bounty of apples, the fall-spiced beverages and, of course, the pumpkins—what’s not to love? This pumpkin-centric dessert is a perfect way to celebrate the season. Pumpkin and maple are two of my favorite autumn flavors and they pair wonderfully with this fun, easy dessert that both kids and adults love.
When it comes making whoopie pies, you want to make sure that all your ingredients are at room temperature to make the mixing and baking process easier. To get perfectly round whoopie pies, use an ice cream scoop with a level amount of batter and use a pastry bag with a round tip to pipe the icing if you want a thicker layer of filling.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies Serves: about 30 2-inch pies
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. baking soda ½ tsp. salt 1 ¼ sticks (5 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature ¾ cup granulated sugar 1 tsp. orange zest 2 large eggs 1 cup pumpkin purée
For the filling:
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened ½ stick butter (2 ounces), room temperature 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted 2 tbsp. maple syrup (optional) 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and zest until light and fluffy (on medium speed, about 5-10 minutes).
4. Add the eggs one at time and mix until combined.
5. Turn off mixer, add ⅓ of the dry ingredients and mix on low until mixture comes together. Add ½ of the pumpkin purée and mix until combined. Repeat with remaining flour and pumpkin, ending with the last ⅓ of flour.
6. With an ice cream scoop, scoop mixture (about 2 to 4 tablespoons, depending on the size you like) onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 12-15 minutes (when done, they should spring back when lightly touched).
7. Using an electronic mixer with a paddle attachment, combine all of the filling ingredients together and mix until smooth and creamy.
8. After the “cookies” cool, spread or pipe the filling on the flat surface of one cookie and top with another cookie, pressing together lightly.