Necessity is mother the of invention. Saturday I needed brown sugar - 2 cups of brown sugar. That does not look like 2 cups to me. With relatives on the way, a house to clean, and cookies to bake, there was no time to take a break and run to the store, only to grumble all the way home about my organic brown sugar packaged in a plastic bag. I have whined about it before - organic food in plastic packaging is a major pet peeve of mine! But I digress, I was well into a batch of Pumpkin Whoopie Pies and in need of brown sugar.
I have sugar and I have molasses, so essentially I have brown sugar. That's right, brown sugar is nothing more than white sugar and molasses. Who knew? Sometimes I am so naive that I do not take time to stop and think.
To make your own brown sugar combine one cup of white sugar with one tablespoon of molasses. We use a lot of brown sugar in this household, so I made a double batch right away and still wish I had made more. A whirl in the food processor, blender, stand mixer, hand mixer, fork and bowl, what have you is all it takes.
Voila! Brown sugar. Damn that was easy. Why have I not done this sooner? And, why have I spent so much time whining about buying brown sugar packaged in plastic when the solution was this easy? If I were flexible enough I would kick my own ass! Now I can buy my organic evaporated cane juice in bulk (using my own container!) and organic molasses in glass and have my brown sugar just the way I like it - plastic-free. Whoopie!
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies - with my own brown sugar
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 15 ounces pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
For Pumpkin Cakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a larger bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, and salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (can also use a hand mixer), beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. Beat in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Drop heaping tablespoons (can also use a small ice cream scoop) of the batter onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart. With moistened fingers or the back of a spoon, smooth the tops of the cakes.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the tops of the cookies when lightly pressed spring back. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Filling: Beat the shortening and butter until soft and creamy. With the mixer on its lowest speed, gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar. Increase the speed to high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Then, with the mixer on low speed, beat in the vanilla extract and slowly drizzle in the corn syrup. Continue to beat until the filling looks like soft mayonnaise.
To Assemble: Take one cake and spread a heaping tablespoon of the filling on the flat side of the cake. Top with another cake. The assembled cookies can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for several days. Bring to room temperature before serving.