Made from a delicious duo of gently spiced gingerbread and tangy cream cheese filling, these gingerbread whoopie pies are a classic holiday recipe that you’ll want to bake all year round. Easy to make and packed with festive flavor they will quickly become a family favorite.
When my home is filled with the heavenly aroma of gingerbread, it instantly ignites that warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Whether it reminds you of decorating gingerbread cookies with your little ones, or crafting a Christmas centerpiece like my gingerbread layer cake, that sweetly spiced smell invites nothing but happy memories of the past holiday season.
So why do we punish ourselves by only baking it at Christmas? I think we should petition to bake gingerbread all year round and my gingerbread whoopie pies will be the recipe that proves to you why. While they make the perfect seasonal sweet treat, these gently spiced mounds are also ideal for brightening up lunch boxes or pairing with your coffee for the ultimate afternoon pick me up.
Inspired by my carrot cake cookie sandwiches, I prefer whoopie pies that are a little more cookie and a little less cake. Expect soft, moist centers with chewy edges packed with ginger, cinnamon and molasses. The rich gingerbread whoopie cookies contrast perfectly with a luxuriously tangy cream cheese filling. Although I adore this combination, you can take the filling up a notch with lemon zest or espresso powder if you really want to pack a punch and enhance the warm spices.
The dough is surprisingly speedy to whip up, you just need a little patience for it to chill. Then it’s time to scoop, bake, fill, then sandwich together. This recipe allows for 10 whoopie pies but I’ll warn you now, sharing might be a struggle, they’re that delicious!
WHY WE LOVE THESE GINGERBREAD WHOOPIE PIES
- A fun twist on a classic – Although we cherish gingerbread at Christmas, it’s fun to switch things up. If you’re craving something a little different that you can devour all year round, you’ll love this recipe.
- Whoopie newbies welcome – Don’t worry if you’re new to the world of whoopie pies, there’s nothing complex about this recipe. Approach them like you would any other cookies, the only difference is you’re sandwiching them together with irresistible buttercream.
- Simple ingredients – No sorcery required to craft those magic little mounds. These gingerbread whoopie pies can be whipped up using your usual pantry staples. Throw in some flavor with ginger, cinnamon and molasses and you’re good to go.
- A family favorite – You may need to double or triple up this recipe as I’ve a sneaky suspicion 10 whoopie pies might not be enough for your friends and family once they’ve sampled these sensational sweet treats.
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
- baking soda
- ground cinnamon
- ground ginger
- ground cloves
- ground nutmeg
- granulated white sugar
- large egg
- vanilla extract
Whoopie Pie Filling:
- cream cheese
- powdered sugar
SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS
- Filling flavors – Grate in a little orange or lemon zest to your cream cheese filling. This provides a zingy contrast to the warming spice of gingerbread. Alternatively, if you’re all for festive flavors you could add crystallized ginger, pumpkin spice or cinnamon to your filling. Finally, for gingerbread latte lovers, sprinkle in a little espresso powder.
- Sprinkle all the way – Although I think they’re perfect as is, for a festive finishing touch you could roll the edges of your filling in Christmas sprinkles.
- Skip the filling – Who doesn’t love ice cream sandwiches? Replace your filling with your favorite ice cream for a dessert your guests will never forget, or turn them into holiday s'mores with marshmallow creme filling. Or, just enjoy these as soft gingerbread cookies.
- Gingerbread spice – I’ve kept it simple with ground cinnamon, ginger, and molasses but you can also add nutmeg, allspice, cardamom or cloves depending on your tastes.
- Cream cheese substitute – If you’re not a fan of cream cheese, you can make a traditional whoopie pie filling by replacing the cream cheese with marshmallow fluff. Or add a splash of egg nog to the cream cheese frosting.
RECOMMENDED TOOLS TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Cookie scoop
- Wire cooling rack
- Piping bag
HOW TO MAKE GINGERBREAD WHOOPIE PIES
1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and sugar. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, molasses and vanilla. Add in butter, and continue to beat until smooth.
3. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients using a spatula or wooden spoon. Mix until it forms a dough. PRO TIP: You could also use an electric mixer on medium speed to combine the dough.
4. Cover the dough and chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours.
5. For the filling, beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Add in powdered sugar and mix until smooth. PRO TIP: If you have one, I’d recommend using the paddle attachment for your mixer as this will help make extra fluffy frosting.
6. After two hours remove your dough from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
7. Form dough into 1inch balls using your hands or a medium cookie scoop. Add the dough balls to a parchment-lined cookie sheet around 1inch apart. Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes.
8. Remove cookies from the oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely then spread cream cheese frosting on the bottom of half the cookies (flat side) with a knife or piping bag. PRO TIP: For filling your gingerbread whoopie pies don't go all the way to the edge otherwise, the filling will seep out when you sandwich them together.
9. Top with another gingerbread whoopie pie cake and enjoy!
- Keep the cookies uniform – It will be easier to sandwich your cookies together if they are all the same size. I recommend using a cookie scoop to keep the cookies uniform.
- Refrigerate before serving – Although it’s tempting to dive in as soon as they’re assembled, I’d recommend chilling them first. This will help your filling thicken and avoid a sticky mess when you bite in and the filling seeps out.
- Don’t overbake – I recommend 9-11 minutes but keep an eye on your bake time for perfectly puffed whoopie pies. They will continue to cook once removed from the oven so it’s best to underbake rather than overbake.
- Do not skip chilling – As the dough contains molasses your whoopie pies will turn out flat like gingersnaps if you skip the chill time. Chill time helps the dough thicken up resulting in moist and soft whoopie pies. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, or even overnight as this step also helps the spice flavors develop.
- Frosting tips – Make sure your butter and cream cheese is room temperature as this will allow for an extra creamy filling. Sifting your powdered sugar also ensures a luxuriously smooth finish. Depending on how much filling you prefer, you may have a little leftover. Or you could double the frosting recipe for double stuffed whoopie pies.
- Dusting of powdered sugar – For added festive flair, don’t forget a final dusting of powdered sugar over your whoopie pies. Some people skip this last step as they fear it’s messy, but for me, it adds the perfect finishing touch, like a sweet dusting of snow over our festive treats.
- These gingerbread whoopie pies are best stored in the fridge to keep the filling firm. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- You can also freeze them for up to 3 months by tightly wrapping them in plastic wrap and then in a sealed freezer bag in the freezer.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are whoopie pies?
Ever wondered how whoopie pies got their name? It is believed they originated in New England as a Pennsylvania Amish tradition. Made using leftover cake batter, it’s said children would literally squeal “whoopie” when they found these special little treats in their lunch bags.
The traditional whoopie pies consist of two mound-shaped chocolate cookies made using a hybrid of cake batter and cookie dough. These are sandwiched together with sweet marshmallow cream. For this Gingerbread Whoopie Pie recipe I’ve kept the traditional classic whoopie pie mound shaped and cake-like cookies but switched the chocolate for gingerbread, and marshmallow filling for cream cheese buttercream for a special treat.
Can you make these gingerbread whoopie pies ahead of time?
Yes both the filling and cookies can be made ahead of time! In fact, I encourage you to do so as it allows a deeper flavor to develop in the dough as well as guarantees that signature mound shape once baked. For the filling, you can make it 3 days in advance, then cover and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use. For the whoopie pie cookie batter, store it in an airtight container and it will also keep for up to 3 days. You can then begin scooping your cookies and bake immediately – no need to bring to room temperature as chilled dough works best.
Why did my whoopie pies turn out flat?
If you find your whoopie pie cookies go flat or spread thin when baking there are two potential reasons. Firstly, you didn’t chill the dough long enough. I recommend a minimum of 2 hours but overnight is ideal. The second cause may be if your leavening agents (baking soda and baking powder) have expired or been open a while. They lose effectiveness if they have been open too long.
What is the best molasses brand for baking?
- Grandma's Molasses- Probably the most common and easily sourced from most grocery stores. It's full of flavor and the best for baking.
- Brer Rabbit Molasses- A darker molasses that is not as sweet but still full of flavor.
- Wholesome Sweetners- A wonderful molasses that is very economically priced. Perfect for baking on a budget!
MORE SEASONAL SWEET TREATS YOU MAY ENJOY
- Frosted Gingerbread Cookie Bars
- Gingerbread Layer Cake
- Cookies and Cream Cookie Recipe
- Chai Spiced Biscotti
- 2 cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup molasses
- ½ cup butter melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 package 8oz cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup butter softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, spices and sugar. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, molasses and vanilla. Add in butter.
Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients well . Chill for 2 hours.
Beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Add in powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
After two hours preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Form dough into a 1in ball with hands or a cookie scoop, place 1in apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 9-11 minutes.
Remove cookies from the oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely then spread cream cheese frosting on the bottom of cookies with a knife or piping bag. Place another cookie on top with a button on top of the frosting.
Store in the refrigerator so frosting doesn't melt, allow it to sit out to get to room temperature before eating.
You may have more or less frosting left over depending on how much you prefer in the cookies. Simply double the frosting recipe for double stuffed whoopie pies.
Do not skip chilling, the cookies will turn out flat like gingersnaps because of the molasses.