Nothing beats chocolate. At least that’s what I’m telling myself, now that these little whoopie pies came in second place at the holiday bake-off to – you guessed it – a batch of chocolate chocolate chip espresso cookies. Somehow, no matter how perfectly baked or spiced a dessert might be, it just can’t compete with the rich, creamy, crowd-pleasing flavors of chocolate.
However, competitions aside, these little treats really do hold their own in the winter baking rotation. Made up of two layers of moist gingerbread glued together with a citrusy, cream cheese frosting, these pies are refreshing and packed with a little punch of spice.
And what’s more, they are incredibly cute. Rarely do I get preoccupied with the appearance of dessert (after all, we can all agree that flavor is more important), but just look at these little whoopie pies perched next to one another!
Most importantly, don’t be intimidated by their almost perfect shape – that’s a result of the recipe, not by baking skill. Somehow, irregular dollops of batter dropped hastily onto the pan turn into perfectly round, poufy pies you’ll want to share with everyone around you.
Not in the mood to share? You might want to halve the recipe. Either way, be prepared! This recipe produces quite a few pies.
Gingerbread Whoopie Pies Recipe (adapted from “King Arthur Flour“)
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
For the Icing (adapted from “Saving Dessert“)
- 6 oz cream cheese, softened and cut into chunks
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
- Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices) in a medium sized bowl.
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, combine the butter and sugar and beat until the mixture is smooth, about three minutes.
- Beat in the egg, mixing until just combined.
- Mix in half of the dry ingredients, followed by the molasses and buttermilk, and then the remaining dry ingredients.
- Using a spoon, scoop out a teaspoonful of batter and drop it on the prepared baking sheet. Continue with remaining batter, leaving at least one inch in between each drop to account for spreading during baking.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. Test for doneness by pressing pies lightly – they should spring back when fully baked. Remove from oven and let cool completely before icing.
- Make the icing: Beat butter and confectioners sugar together, adding confectioners sugar 1 cup at a time, until fully incorporated. Add cream cheese, followed by vanilla and lemon zest. Beat on medium until mixture is smooth.
- Assemble cookies: Using a knife, spread a heaping teaspoon of icing onto the flat side of half of the pies. Top off with an un-iced pie, flat side down.