Pumpkin Toffee Whoopie Pies

Tuesday, December 27, 2011
pumpkin whoopie pies


I have a confession to make. These were really supposed to be amazing chewy pumpkin toffee cookies. Apparently chewy and pumpkin cookies are notorious nemeses. Had I consulted the internet before attempting such a perilous undertaking I could have saved myself much heartache, wasted butter, and trays of puffy pumpkin “cookies” taunting me with their flagrant cakiness.

I felt like a failure. A fraud. What happened? Why did my cookies turn into cakes? It’s all the pumpkin’s fault. I learned that the high moisture content of pumpkin puree was the cause of my demise. There are two purported solutions: simmer the puree until the moisture is cooked out, or use pumpkin butter instead of puree.

pumpkin whoopie pie_pumpkin puree

Pumpkin Puree, I shake my fist at you

Well, what’s done is done. I’ll tackle chewy pumpkin cookies when my ego has had time to heal. In the meantime, what to do with these blasted cookie-cakes? Truth be told, while they made god-awful cookies in terms of texture, the flavor was what I was looking for – full of pumpkin spice warmth and tasty toffee bits.

pumpkin whoopie pies_toffee

Toffee, we're still friends

Come to think of it, these cookie fails were quite successful muffin tops. And that’s when it hit me. Whoopie pies! (Or shall I say whoopsie pies.) My first grade art teacher always said, “Make a mistake work for you,” so this one goes out to you, Miss Morrow.

pumpkin cream cheese frosting

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

I whipped up some Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting (which rocked if I do say so myself), and sandwiched a generous dollop between two of my pumpkin cookie-cakes. A finishing touch of some toffee bits along the edges and I had myself something to whoop about.

Pumpkin Toffee Whoop(s)ie Pies

Pumpkin Toffee Whoop(s)ie Pies

Pumpkin Toffee Whoopie Pies

A pumpkin cookie whoopsie turns into a whoopie with some quick thinking and a dose of Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting (which, I am now convinced, can cure all baking woes).

Prep Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Yield: about 8 whoopie pies


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
8 ounces toffee bits


  1. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.
  2. Cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and mix to combine. Add pumpkin and vanilla, and mix together until smooth. (If it your mixture starts to look a bit curdled, it is likely because your eggs or butter were too cold, or because the eggs were added too quickly, causing the fat and water particles in the mixture to separate. If this happens, don\'t worry. Just continue with adding the dry ingredients"¦it should all smooth out.)
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in thirds, mixing together until everything is incorporated.
  4. Stir in the toffee bits, reserving 1/2 cup for garnishing. Cover the bowl of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  5. Make the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting and stick it in the fridge to chill too.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350º. Scoop the dough out using a trigger ice cream or cookie scoop and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. The cookie-cakes will spread, so keep it to 6 per baking sheet.
  7. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the edges are brown and the center puffs up. Transfer to cooking rack immediately or else the toffee bits tend to stick. Let cool completely.
  8. Put together your Whoopie Pies: Spread a big dollop of the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting onto the bottom of one of the cookie-cakes using a butter knife or piping bag. Sandwich together by placing the bottom of a second cookie on top of the frosting. Roll the exposed frosting side of the whoopee pie over a plate of the reserved toffee bits so they stick. Enjoy!

Print Recipe

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes


8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 - 2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice


  1. With an electric mixer, mix together the cream cheese and pumpkin puree until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
  2. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, and mix. Slowly add the powdered sugar until it\'s as sweet as you want. Refrigerate for an hour before using.

Print Recipe

This post was originally published on KQED’s Bay Area Bites on December 12, 2011.

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Posted by Stephanie at 2:03 pm

8 Responses to “Pumpkin Toffee Whoopie Pies”

  1. Margaret Wasserfall says:

    These look absolutely yummy and I am definitely going to try them. Have taken note of your whoopsie with the pumpkin so I am going to use butternut squash instead. Butternut is much drier than pumpkin and it has a lovely golden colour colour to it. Thanks for a great blog. Margaret Wasserfall

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Margaret, well the pumpkin moisture content is only an issue if you’re going for chewy cookies…for the whoopie pies though they were actually perfect. And easy (I just used canned pumpkin puree). Let me know how they turn out! -s-

  2. These look like such fun to make and to eat!

  3. Rebecca says:

    The only way to get a chewy pumpkin cookie is to use a pumpkin powder for flavor, which you’d have to buy unless you have a dehydrator on hand. I lost many days of baking trying to create an easy, chewy pumpkin cookie before realizing it’s best to love pumpkin cookies for who they are. This is a great way to kick them up a notch. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Rebecca,

      Yes, I read the same about using pumpkin powder but that is way to fussy for me. Did you try pumpkin butter during your baking mission? I just picked some up the other day and was going to give it one last shot. But, I do love your sage advice. Always best to love cookies for who they are :)


      • Rebecca says:

        I have not tried pumpkin butter, but I would guess it would yield similar results, the moisture content is just too high for a chewy cookie.

  4. [...] muffin tops. Ugh. Remember that? Well, I guess it wasn’t a total loss because I turned them into Pumpkin Toffee Whoopee Pies, but oh, the sting of [...]

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