Halloween. Not such a big deal in the Land Down Under but it’s always fun to play dressups. I ran up a cute LBD but didn’t have anyone to take photos of me in it.

  • Simplicity Pattern #4675 (Included the little handbag pattern)
  • Black crinkle broderie – Spotlight, $6.95/metre
  • Mint green ¾ tights, $6, K-Mart
  • Green hairpiece, $5, Paddy’s Markets
  • Green metallic eyeshadow, $3, Priceline
  • Plush monkey, $9, Big W (like Elphaba I sewed the wings on myself!)
  • Fat quarter of purple flying witch print, $2.50, The Remnant Warehouse
  • The fact that no-one at the party realised I was the Wicked Witch of the West – Priceless.

Worse, I forgot to wear the witch’s hat I’d bought specially!!

And I made Chocolate Spiced-Pumpkin ‘Whoopie Pies’. However there was so much food at this party that the whoopie pies didn’t even make it out of the esky.

Before I made them, I wondered at the name. Why ‘whoopie’? I get the ‘pie’ bit, cos it’s got a filling. But after covering every available surface in my kitchen with cooling biscuits, I realised. By the time you have finished making the bloody things, you want to yell whoopieeeee!!

Not to worry. There are plenty of half-starved hardworking souls at my workplace and the 30-odd filled ‘pies’ probably won’t even last until lunchtime.

This is what they are made of. (Recipe adapted slightly from here.) They made a massive batch, and the biscuits themselves were pretty large. I think I could comfortably have made a half-recipe, smallerized the biscuits and still had enough to feed a small African country.

For The Biscuity Bits

  • 3 ½ cups plain flour
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder (I used about ⅓ cup Van Houten Cacao and ⅓ cup Nestle baking Cocoa)
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt (I used lake salt. Oh, calamity…)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening (I used olive spread, which is probably why my biscuits were quite soft and sticky)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 190ºC. Line baking trays with baking paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder & salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, shortening and sugars until creamy. (The recipe called for a paddle attachment, but my standard beaters seemed to work just fine.)

Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat for a couple of minutes.

Alternately add in the flour and milk, finishing with the flour. This is another reason why I love my electric mixer.

Spoon out onto the baking trays. The recipe recommended ‘tablespoon-sized mounds’ but after a few goes I found a just-rounded dessertspoon yielded a biscuit about 6-7cm across. They spread quite substantially too so leave plenty of room in between.

Bake for about 12 minutes or until they just spring back when touched. Cool on trays for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before filling.

For the Spiced Pumpkin Filling

  • 350g cream cheese (Philly light worked fine)
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 1 – 1 ½ cups icing sugar
  • ¾ cup pureed pumpkin*
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsp nutmeg

Beat cream cheese, butter & sugar until creamy. Add in the spices and pumpkin; beat until smooth. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before sandwiching the biscuits together.

*The original recipe called for canned pumpkin but of course that’s not so common here in Oz. (Although we did find some at the chocolate warehouse. Go figure.) So I used butternut pumpkin, about ¼ of a medium-sized one, cut into chunks and steamed (in my retro Tupperware steamer, $7 from the op shop! yeah!). Let it cool to room temp before puree-ing, otherwise it may go runny.

Mine did not turn out as bright orange as the original, more a sort of pastel colour. If you wanted bright orange, I have no doubt some food colouring would do the trick. I think mine look pretty though. Oh, yes, and they were delicious! The ‘biscuits’ were soft and cakey and the filling was a really interesting flavour counterpoint. I might make them again…. but possibly in a smaller batch!

Blogged to the tune of – Wicked, The Broadway Musical