29 October 2013

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies - The Halloween Trilogy

Being British, I have never baked with pumpkin before. We bake with berries and apples from the tree, rather than the mighty seasonal fruit that surfaces annually to showcase some serious vegetable carving skills.

It may come as a surprise to some that I have however actually baked with butternut squash and the result was the most divine, almost brownie-like chocolate cupcakes. Since then I see baking with vegetables in a new light. It is not pompous or health-obsessive (no offensive to anyone who is either of those things) but damn right clever. If you're ever interested in owning a solid recipe collection of vegetable bakes, please do go borrow, buy or steal (yes I'm kidding) Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache: The ultimate feel-good book of natural cakes that taste naughty by Harry Eastwood. Months after I returned this book to it's owner I still wish I had a copy. *cough* christmasorbirthdayhintfamilylistenup *cough*

We all know how I feel about using oil in baking, but the truth when it's baked two things don't happen:
  1. You don't taste oil. Or grease. Or your arteries clogging. 
  2. You completely forget that you literally poured oil with sugar in order to produce such beauties.
Cooking with tinned pumpkin is very easy as it's all pureed and ready to rumble, so to speak. Spoon, dollop, mix. No cooking your vegetables or endless grating as with the Courgette Walnut and Cinnamon Cake. In the words of Hear Say*... Pure. And. Simple.

I don't often mention smell, but as it was a new food in my repertoire, I instinctively gave it a whiff. Not too overpowering, pumpkin does smell vaguely familiar. By mixing the pumpkin in with the light brown sugar you get a caramelised colour not dissimilar to treacle (see below).

The cherished autumnal spices of ginger and cinnamon are added with the flour and the resulting batter is rich and cosy. 

Do you see what I mean? Pumpkin Whoopie Pies are the leg-up to the Christmas gingerbread.

I was actually excited when the batter appeared to be a little more 'sloppy' than Hummingbird Bakery's normal whoopie pies. I went with my instinct and just spooned the mixture on to the tray and prayed they would spread and smooth out to perfect domes. They did!

Over the pond they love cooking with pumpkin and I saw 'fall' recipes popping up back in August and the boundless energy of the pumpkin preachers has peaked ready for Halloween on Thursday. In honour of the grand holiday, that quite frankly means nothing more than fancy dress parties and sweeties, I will be treating you to three pumpkin recipes leading up to Halloween. 

To keep posted just enter your email address in the box on the right and parts 2 and 3 will be delivered straight to your inbox. Just like a real countdown... Oooo fancy that...
*Not strictly compulsory, but I know you want to remind yourself of that beautiful sound and reminisce about the days of Popstars.

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