Pumpkin whoopie pies offer hand-held goodness

Tis the season to buy a pumpkin, gut it and carve it to hell. But did you know pumpkins are laden with antioxidants and beta carotene? That's right, the rotund orange squash has more to offer than crispy seeds and general jack-o-lantern jackassery. In this month of chocolate and candy, why not work some pumpkin into your desserts by thinking outside the pie?

We decided to mix it up by turning a classic whoopie pie into a seasonal treat: instead of the standard chocolate cake/buttercream combination, we dug up a recipe for pumpkin whoopies (cream cheese frosting! Score!) that Rachael Ray promised would be quick and easy to make.

Yeah, it sorta looks like a crime scene
Yeah, it sorta looks like a crime scene

First step: make sure you're using regular old plain pumpkin, no spices added (you're going to do that yourself). Begin by mixing the melted butter (one softened stick) and brown sugar (one cup) until smooth. Then slop in the eggs (2 large), pumpkin (one cup, aka half the can), pumpkin pie spice (tablespoon), and vanilla (teaspoon). Toss in the baking powder and soda and the salt (teaspoons). Then fold in the flour (one and two-thirds cups) to form your batter.

While this recipe makes six XXXL whoopie pies, we made smaller versions and got twelve whoops. You can use your discretion as to how much pumpkiny goodness you want to shove in your mouth at one time. If you're going big, parcel out the dough into 12 heaps and put them in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. For a smaller size, divide the batter into 24 piles.

While the whoops bake, it's cream cheese frosting time. Cream softened cream cheese (half a brick) with butter (half a stick) and mix with a cup of powdered sugar, a half-teaspoon of vanilla and two pinches of salt.

Once the cakey halves have cooled, slather them with frosting and unite the tops and bottoms. Enjoy the perfect hand-held pumpkin treat, no utensils required.

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