This morning, I cleaned the kitchen from stem to stern in preparation of a day of, um, kitchening. I had a few things on my list that needed to be baked, cooked, and just plain ol' made. Last week I made homemade "Chex Mix" using store brand cereals (our local store's version of Crispix is called Crispy Hexagons, which is an epic NERD WIN!), and I managed to convert fervent Chex Mix hater Angela to the homemade, store brand version I concocted. I wanted to make some more because the Disnazzios and the OMGs managed to kill that batch in less than a day. I also wanted to make goulash, which was cooked up yesterday, using Bobby Deen's too-salty recipe (don't season the beef and leave out the extra tablespoon of seasoning salt if you know what's good for you). And finally, I wanted to make Em some pumpkin whoopie pies not only because I am an awesome lady, but because I had been promising for weeks. Em got all whipped up in a tizzy about the fantasticness of pumpkin whoopie pies after having one made by some darling Mennonites from the farmer's markets. Thanks dudes. Thanks a lot.
I found the recipe on Required Eating, which is from the book Baked (on my Christmas list!), and began to put together the fairly simple recipe. I cut back a little on the cloves and ginger, because a tablespoon of each seemed excessive. Too much of all that, and my house would smell like a Catholic mass during Lent and then I'd start having flashbacks. Moving on, the recipe was pretty easy and pulled together nicely. I decided to absolve myself of the sin of having slightly clumpy bits of brown sugar in the mix; I felt like they'd just melt in little pockets of the pies and taste delicious.
Now, here's where things went downhill. My mother taught me to bake at a fairly young age, and very VERY rarely did she use parchment paper for cookies. I think the only time I remember her using parchment paper was when she lined loaf pans for my great-grandma Marsh's fruitcake. I never use it, but I have it in the drawer because Em needs it for peppermint bark every year. I decided to follow the directions and use parchment paper. As I scooped the pumpkin batter onto the paper, I was dubious about it still, but trudged on. The oven was ready, the first tray of batter was set, so I opened the oven door. Then, without thinking and as I always do, I leaned down, grabbed the cookie sheet and proceeded to put it into the oven.
Or so I thought.
Because I'm so unskilled when it comes to the fine art of parchment paper use, I never took into consideration that the cookie sheet would need to be kept level. In a flash, the paper slid right off the cookie sheet and then promptly flipped on itself, depositing 12 pumpkin piles onto my oven's door, into the crevice between oven and door, and down into the drawer below. The oven was hot, so naturally these piles started immediately cooking. I cursed the parchment paper in the holy name of Ina Garten (even though this wasn't her recipe) - EFF YOUR GOOD VANILLA, EFF YOUR HOITY TOITY PARCHMENT PAPER, EFF JEFFREY - I am so not fancy. I proceeded to use two large spatulas to lift off whatever pumpkin batter I could, used wet paper towels to clean up every inch of the oven that was touched by the mess, and then piled it all onto the cookie sheets originally covered with the oh-so-special parchment paper. Folks, it seriously looked like a gang of infants marched into my kitchen and took a dump in my oven.
Ever the baking warrior, I decided to continue with my project despite my strong urge to heave the batter out the window and into the fake pond outside. I ritualistically tore the parchment paper into little bits and sprayed the cookie sheets with Pam. I dumped what batter I had left into neat little piles and baked off 18 little piles in my now impeccably clean oven. After they cooled, I whipped up the cream cheese filling (adding a few teaspoons of milk to smooth it out, by the way). Using a tablespoon, I put a dollop of filling on each bottom and gently pushed on the matching top.
I used WAX paper (which is old fashioned, fabulous and something my mom actually used regularly) to wrap the extra pies up for later. The whoopsie pie, which is what these will be called in perpetuity, that I saved for myself was absolutely scrumptious. The pumpkin part was perfectly spiced, light, cakey and tasted like fall. The filling was creamy, rich and a perfect complement to the spicy pie. I will make these again. Without parchment paper. Amen.