I know, I know, how can one have muffin tops and healthy in the same sentence?
Hence, the disclaimer that these are semi-healthy due to the lower sugar content and inclusion of pumpkin. They are also cookie-shaped in that they are circular, but they are also delightfully puffy which is why I named them muffin tops (or the best part of a muffin!) As an aside, my dearest friend Blind Baking has the best lemon blueberry muffin recipe via America’s Test Kitchen.
But back to these muffin tops…I saw pumpkin cookies featured on Anna’s lovely blog and it reminded me of the pumpkin cookies I made as wedding favors. I decided to tweak the recipe a bit. The muffin tops (rather than cookies because these are so puffy and lovely!) are great on their own, especially if you add in chocolate or butterscotch chips. But I was also obsessed with making caramel frosting and found that they are a perfect filling if you’d like to make whoopie pies. If you don’t add in the butter and powdered sugar, you also have a wonderful caramel sauce for drizzling on cakes, ice cream, an open mouth…
This is one of my new go to recipes and a tasty treat. Enjoy and wipe the caramel off your mouth!
Pumpkin whoopie pies with caramel frosting
Whoopie pie Ingredients:
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
– 1 cup granulated sugar
– 1 egg
– 1/2 cup canola oil
– 1- 1 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (I used half of a freshly roasted small pumpkin)
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 1/2 cups butterscotch or chocolate chips (optional, but recommended if not making frosting)
Servings: Makes 14-20 cookies depending on the size of your cookie
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Stir flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl, and set aside. Beat the eggs and sugar until smooth, about 1 minute. Mix in the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla until blended. Mix in the flour mixture to incorporate it. Mix in the chips, if any. Mixture will be very wet.
- Drop by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake until lightly brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Cool for 5 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- The muffin tops can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- If you decide to make whoopie pies, follow the directions for the caramel frosting below and scoop at least one table spoon of frosting in between the flat sides of two cookies. The pies are very soft so I individually wrap them in plastic wrap (which also makes it convenient for gifting!)
Version with chocolate chips (butterscotch chips also go very well with this!)
Caramel frosting ingredients
– 1/3 cup granulated sugar
– 2 tablespoons water
-1/4 cup heavy cream
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 4 tablespoons, at room temperature
– 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
– 1 cup powdered sugar
Servings: 2/3 cup frosting
- Stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue cooking, without stirring (though you may need to break up the sugar if the mixture is too wet and clumps), until mixture turns golden in color, about 6 to 7 minutes.
- Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until completely smooth. Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes. This caramel sauce can be used for other baked goods at this time or as caramel sauce.
- Combine butter and salt in the bowl and hand mix or use paddle attachment until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add powdered sugar and mix until completely incorporated.
- Add caramel to frosting and mix until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2-4 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until stiff, about 45 minutes, before using.