For our Thanksgiving menus this year, we decided to call in some ringers—fantastic chefs from different corners of the country, with very different takes on American cuisine. We’re proud to share with you updated traditionalist recipes from Michael Anthony of New York City’s Gramercy Tavern, Latin-Jewish flavors from Michelle Bernstein of Miami’s Michy’s, and the tricked-out hackers’ Thanksgiving from Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz of San Francisco’s Mission Street Food. Plus, special guest appearances from Nathan Myhrvold and the Modernist Cuisine team, in case your holidays won’t be complete without some carbonated cranberries. Special thanks to Fishs Eddy for the awesome props and Saipua for the stunning flowers. Enjoy! – Ed.
We can’t imagine a funner alternative to pumpkin pies than these tiny, tender whoopie pies from Gramercy Tavern’s pastry chef, Nancy Olson. Easy to make, and easy on the eyes too, these adorable cake sandwiches are a real crowd pleaser.
Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Nancy Olson, Gramercy Tavern
Makes about 36 mini whoopie pies
For the cakes
2 ounces butter, softened at room temperature
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup grapeseed or canola oil
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon Angostura bitters
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 ½ cups canned pumpkin puree
For the filling
3 ounces butter, very soft
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest (about half an orange’s worth)
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. For the cakes, cream together the butter and vanilla bean seeds with the dark brown sugar. (Save the vanilla bean pod for another use.) Slowly drizzle the oil into the creamed mixture and continue to mix until smooth. Mix in the egg, vanilla extract and bitters until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients and add in three batches to the creamed mixture, alternating with the pumpkin puree. When the mixture is smooth, pipe or scoop out 1½-inch rounds onto parchment paper, and bake for 8 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cakes comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, make the filling by creaming together the butter with the powdered sugar, orange zest and ginger. Add the cream cheese and mix until it comes together smoothly.
- When the baked cookies are totally cool, sandwich them in twos around a generous amount of filling. The filling recipe makes plenty, so use as much filling as you like.