I didn't know that I had been chosen to participate in the Peet's Coffee/Food Buzz Tastemakers program until the box arrived at my door. Inside, a 16oz tumbler and 2-12oz bags of their latest ground, medium blends: Cafe Solano and Cafe Domingo.
With the price of coffee skyrocketing over the past year, it was a grand treat for a cash strapped coffee drinker as myself. Their one request: Pair the two coffees with something that spoke of fall flavors.
It was easy when I had my first cup of the Domingo blend-a combination of three Latin American beans. The toasty, nutty notes would be perfect with chocolate. The Solano, however, was a bit richer and needed something creamy to cut through its full bodied flavor.
After a couple of weeks of switching off on these coffees, it finally hit me: Whoopie Pie. This IS Maine, after all. So, after a bit of poking around for filling ideas, I settled on a Martha Stewart/King Arthur Flour mash-up recipe to create a Pumpkin Whoopie Pie.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup milk
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup canned solid pack pumpkin
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
2) To make the cakes: In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla till smooth. Add the egg, again beating till smooth.
3) Add the cocoa, stirring to combine.
4) Add the flour to the batter alternately with the milk, beating till smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and beat again briefly to soften and combine any chunky scrapings.
5) Drop the dough by the 1/4-cupful onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving plenty of room between the cakes; they'll spread. A muffin scoop works well here.
6) Bake the cakes for 15 to 16 minutes, till they're set and firm to the touch. Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pans. While still lukewarm, use a spatula to separate them from the pan or parchment; then allow to cool completely.
7) Prepare filling: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese, butter, and confectioners' sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg; whip until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
8) Spread the flat side of half the cakes with the filling. Top with the remaining cakes, flat side towards the filling. Wrap individually, in plastic wrap, till ready to serve.
9) Yield: 8 large whoopie pies (about 4" dia., about 5 ounces each)