Plenish Plus Pumpkin
Feb 28, 2011
I’m a baking snob. I’m picky about the flour I use. Only one brand of butter makes me happy. I refuse to use spices from the grocery store—I mail order from a special spice outfitter. The vanilla I prefer comes via Mexico from another special vendor.
So when the folks at Pioneer handed me a bottle of Plenish oil after I consumed a meal prepared with Plenish (read last blog post
), I was thrilled to take it in the spirit of research. This weekend, I put the new high oleic oil to the test by using it in one of my most often requested bakery items—praline pumpkin whoopie pies.
The Amish are famous for whoopie pies and recently the treat has been reinvented by the culinary likes of Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray. If you’ve not experienced one, it is basically two soft cookies stuck together with a sweet frosting. Think Oreo Cakesters—only fresh and homemade.
I make carrot cake, red velvet cake and chocolate whoopie pies, but pumpkin are the most requested. I had come to prefer ADM’s special Enova oil in the creation, but that oil is no longer produced and I had switched to a pure sunflower oil.
One sniff of Plenish let me know it is much gentler in flavor than regular soybean oil. The fat used in baking also impacts the rise and crumb. The first batch out of the oven confirmed something good was going on in this recipe. The cake-like cookies had a lighter texture and weren’t sticky like a batch I tried recently with canola oil. The flavors of the pumpkin and spice seemed more pronounced too.
Just to be sure I wasn’t imagining the improvement, I boxed up samples for my regular testers—a couple of teenagers, a local farmer and friends that routinely request this recipe. “Notice anything different?” I finally asked as they were in the final finger licking stages.
I got comments ranging from sweeter to lighter to just plain yummy. One tester mentioned they just thought perhaps they were better because I’d backed off on my baking lately and the testers were “more needy.” Whatever….
I’m looking forward to this oil and others like it hitting the market. I’m just trying to figure out how to get another couple of bottles until that time.
Praline Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon ground cloves
2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 large can (29 ounces) pumpkin puree (not pie filling mix), chilled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon praline flavoring (optional) or 1 Tablespoon Maple syrup
Cream Cheese Filling
3 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
¼ teaspoon praline flavoring
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. In another bowl combine brown sugar, oil, eggs, pumpkin, vanilla and praline extract. Pour over flower mixture and combine. Use a small cookie scoop (1 Tablespoon) to put batter onto cookie sheet. Bake for 14 to 15 minutes. Let cool.
Make filling. Whip together butter and cream cheese. Add extracts and confectioner’s sugar and blend until smooth.
When cookies have cooled, spread filling on the flat side of one cookie and top with another like a sandwich. Whoopie!