A healthier pumpkin dessert

By Jeanne Jones

Dear Jeanne,
My whole family enjoys these treats.
I like the idea of hiding a vegetable in a dessert, but I’d like it to be a little healthier. What do you think? — Marleigh, Delaware, Ohio

PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
FILLING:
6 tablespoons butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices, and set aside. Mix together the butter and sugar in a large bowl.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin and vanilla, and beat until smooth.
Stir in the flour mixture until combined.

Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. For the filling, mix the butter and cream cheese in a small mixer bowl on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar, until light and fluffy. Spread the filling over the flat side of the cookie, and sandwich with a second cookie.
Makes 24 pies.

LOW-FAT PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup oatmeal, ground in a blender
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 can (15 ounces) or 2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
FILLING:
2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
2 ounces fat-free cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, or line with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Combine the flours, ground oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat together the granulated sugar and eggs for about a minute, until light and fluffy. Mix in the brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat until thoroughly combined. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared sheet. Spread out into even rounds, but do not mound too high, as they will rise. Bake for about 11 minutes. Let cool slightly before removing from sheet. Cool completely on racks.
4. For the filling, combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth and creamy. Spread the filling on the flat side of the cookie, and sandwich with a second cookie.
Makes 24 pies.