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400 Eats: Holiday eats and drinks that will leave you stuffed, buzzed and sleepy
Whoopie pie
‘Gimme that Pumpkin Spice’ Holiday Whoopie Pies - photo by Alexander Popp

This article appears in the December issue of 400 Life magazine.


‘Gimme that Pumpkin Spice’ Holiday Whoopie Pies  

If you’ve never eaten, or even heard of a Whoopie Pie, don’t worry it’s not too late, you still have time. 

A classic treat from New England and the Pennsylvania Amish, a Whoopie Pie consists of two fat cookies made of moist cake, held together with a binding of freshly whipped vanilla icing. A round portable dessert, part cookie, part cake, that is all delicious and can be enjoyed year- round. 

For this edition of 400 Eats, I chose to bring you this rare northern treat with the flavors and spices of winter and fall. 


What’s in it Cookies

All-purpose flour - 2 cups 

Baking powder - 1 teaspoon 

Baking soda - 1/2 teaspoon 

Salt - 1/2 teaspoon

Ground Cinnamon - 1 and 1/2 teaspoon

Ground ginger - 1/2 teaspoon 

Ground cloves - 1/4 teaspoon

2 large eggs

Brown sugar - 1 1/4 cups 

Canola oil - 2/3 cup 

Vanilla - 1 teaspoon 

Canned pumpkin - 1 cup


Icing

Powdered sugar - 3 cups 

Unsalted butter - 1 stick 

Half and half - 3 tablespoons 

Vanilla - 1 teaspoon 

Pro-tip, put the batter and icing in the freezer to chill before piping. It makes things a little easier. 


How to make it

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease two baking sheets (If you are like me and only own one baking sheet, you can bake the cookies in rounds).

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves in a large bowl and set the mixture aside.

3. Combine brown sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin in another bowl and mix until smooth.

4. Slowly stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients for about one minute until you get a consistent batter.

5. Grab a gallon-size Ziploc bag and fill it with batter, close, and with a pair of scissors, cut a corner from the bag. Use the bag to pipe dollops of batter roughly 1 to 2 inches across on the cookie sheet. Leave room for them to rise.

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are firm. 

7. While the cookies are baking, take a few minutes to get your icing together. Start by mixing the powdered sugar and butter together. You can do this with an electric mixer or by hand, either way will make a lumpy, crumbly mixture. 

8. Mix in half of your half and half and vanilla, and beat for several minutes until a fluffy cream forms. 

9. Once your cookies are firm, remove them from the oven and place on racks to cool. Repeat the baking until your batter is completely used up or freeze it for later use. 

10. Once cookies are sufficiently cooled, sandwich them in pairs placing a dollop of icing in the middle. 

11. Admire your stack of Whoopie Pies, eat, enjoy and don’t forget to share.


Winter Buttered Rum
Winter Buttered Rum - photo by Alexander Popp

Winter Buttered Rum Nightcap

This drink will put you to sleep. 

And that’s not because its spices are weak or its alcohol content is lacking. The combination of rum and spiced apple blended into a buttery hot drink will have you thinking about bed before you can even think the word nightcap. 

The traditional recipe for hot buttered rum involves spices, butter, rum, sugar and other ingredients to be stirred into boiling water, but I decided to change things up a little and mix the water with apple cider. You can use only cider to make this, but keep in mind, the result will be intoxicatingly sugary. 


What’s in it

Dark brown sugar - 1/3 cup 

Unsalted butter - 1/2 stick

Honey - 1/4 cup 

Ground cinnamon - 1/2 teaspoon

Ground nutmeg - 1/4 teaspoon

Ground cloves - 1/8 teaspoon

Spiced rum - 3/4 cup

Apple cider - 2 cups

Water - 1 cup 

Cinnamon - 4 sticks


How to make it

1. Mix the brown sugar, honey, spices and softened butter together in a mixing bowl until they are blended evenly. The softer your butter is, the easier this will be.  

2. Mix the apple cider and water, heat the mixture to a low simmer. 

3. As the cider is heating up, stir in your dry ingredients until they dissolve. 

4. Add in your rum to taste or preferred alcohol content, and continue stirring until the mixture reaches a low simmer.  

5. Remove from heat and serve into your favorite mug and enjoy, but very carefully. 


This recipe makes roughly four servings, but if you are anything like me, one cup and it’s “lights out, see you tomorrow.”