Chasing Delicious | Pumpkin Whoopie Pies Three Ways
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Pumpkin Whoopi Pies Three Ways at Chasing Delicious

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies Three Ways

I find myself, with alarming regularity, peering through dusty blinds and old windows, cracks in old fences and gaps between gates, under doors and around imposing structures. I ignore no trespassing signs, do not enter warnings and rules that keep little sights hidden away. I indulge every little curious inquiry that pops into my head and almost always say yes to an adventuer. One day my dad and I discovered we shared this desire to explore, this craving to see the unseen and know the once unknown. This is that story.

As far back as I can remember there was an abandoned house on my street. 14907 Cedar Point Drive sat untouched by time, ignored by the suburbanites tending to their yards and homes. Almost daily, us kids dared each other to see how close we could get to the house. At five we baredly made it up the driveway. At seven we reached the the path to the front door. By the time I was nine we were peering through the front windows and when I turned ten we were sneaking in the backyard.

“Stay away from that house,” parents and neighbors would warn us, never heeding our inquiries and curiosity.

Then one day, as all the neighbors gathered in the cul de sac for a Halloween barbecue, something changed. Instead of ignoring our incessant, childly questions on this night, dads and moms looked at each with apprehension.  Faces grew long as they contemplated how to approach the issue. I could hear fear in mothers’ voices as they debated openly what they should tell us.

“Sit down,” my father demanded of all the kids as he began to tell the story of the family that disappeared, the Junes’. On that chilly Halloween night I learned it wasn’t just an individual but a large family that once lived there, a father, mother, four kids – one my age – and a grandmother. The father, one of the nicest neighbors that existed, my father claimed, ran a bakery and always smelled of bread. The eldest daughter was preparing to attend Rice and the boy my age was almost as curious as I was, my dad added as he ruffled my hair. The story went on and in true fashion, my father shared only the nicest of the details about this now long-gone family.

“These were good people…” My father took a breath and paused, seemingly collecting his words. “But late one night, not unlike tonight, about five years ago I was woken to pounding at the door. Nilsen, the father, was at the door. He was panicking about something; I could barely understand a word he said. I remember him beginning to cry as he explained that he had to leave and that tomorrow he and his family would no longer be living on Cedar Point. I honestly thought it was some sort of joke – he always played jokes on neighbors. But then he handed me a slip of paper and walked off. And I never saw my friend again.”

I can still remember my father’s words and the eery answer I had been looking for all this time. The little girl who lived across the street finally burst out with the question we all wanted to know. “What was on the piece of paper, Mr. van K?”

“An address. He told me I would be able to find him there but I wrote a few times and never heard back. “ Parents gossiped and kids began to create horror stories about what caused this family to leave.

The next day, after breakfast, my dad pulled me away from my mother and brother. He didn’t say much as we made the short walk down the street. We began walking to the abandoned house where we snuck into the backyard through the loose gate. There we both stood staring at the back door for a few minutes, contemplating our next move. My father looked at me, “Its time we find out what really happened to the Junes’.”

My dad threw his body, shoulder first, into the door. A loud thud rang through the yard. We both looked around, unsure if we’d get caught. Then again and again, until finally the deadbolted door flew open. Staring back at us was a house no one had stepped foot in for five years. We were staring at a home just as it was the night that large family left it forever.

As we moved farther into the house things began to look less like the Junes’ might have left them. Drawers were emptied and strewn about the house, furniture cushions and pillows upended, bookshelfs knocked over and then I saw it. A gun just lying on the floor in the kitchen.  Merely eleven years old, I barely grasped what had happened here but I knew something wasn’t right.

“Stay right here, Russell.” I never got to look at the rest of the house. My father checked each room quickly before joining me in the living room again. And just like that, moments after my father and I broke into an abandoned home, we were leaving, more questions ringing through our head than before.

To this day I nor my father have any idea what exactly happened to the Junes but I will never forget the time I discovered my father and I shared the same insatiable curiosity.

Happy almost Halloween!

Whoopie Pies: Whoopie pies are very esay to make, so it’s no wonder I decided to make the process a bit more difficult by making three different fillings (including the labor-intensive italian meringue). You of course can pick just one of the fillings or a combination of a couple. If you’ve got the energy and time though I definitely suggest trying all three. Each of the three fillings are quite different and transform one pumpkin whoopie pie recipe into three distinct, delicious recipes!

Pumpkin Puree: This recipe calls for spiced pumpkin puree. I suggest homemade as you get more control in flavor and quality. Here is a post all about making pumpkin puree at home.

Of the three fillings, this buttercream is the easiest. It is also delicious and pairs wonderfully with the tart bite of a dried cranberry.

While Italian meringue is the most difficult of the meringues to execute, it is the only meringue that doesn’t require additional cooking and thus is perfect for this application. Italian meringue will also have a long shelf life when refrigerated so making a larger batch at once for multiple applications is always an option.

As italian meringue doesn’t require additional cooking, I chose to use it in the whipped pecan butter spread. It is also handy as there will be extra meringue when making the above recipe. Adding the meringue to the pecan butter will shorten it’s shelf life though.


AUTHOR - Russell van Kraayenburg

Born and raised in Texas, Russell van Kraayenburg may sit you down for a stern lecture if you confuse barbecue with grilling. Creator of Chasing Delicious, and author of Haute Dogs, his work has been featured in Southern Living magazine and on such sites as Lifehacker, Fast Co. Design, Business Insider, The Kitchn, Live Originally, The Daily What, Quipsologies, Neatorama,Explore, and Fine Cooking.


  • Villy @ For the love of Feeding

    The first photo in particular is stunning! I’ll take a dozen of each, thanks!

  • Jenn Baker (@jbakernyc)

    Pumpkin should be at the top of EVERYONE’s dessert list. Everyone’s. Love these!

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    I’d like one of each, please! Especially loving your first photo!

  • Irene

    That is an eerie story indeed… But I’m glad the post ended well with te whoopie pies :) the meringue one looks especially divine to me!

  • Shumaila

    So weird.. Let’s hope one of the Junes’ reads this and gets in touch.

    Those whoopi pies look great and love the styling of the first shot!

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks

    The first photo is stellar, stunning, amazing!! I want that scale, too! What an awesome find!

    And 3 ways – with all the great fillings. The maple and pecan fillings, wow you outdid yourself.


  • for the love of the south

    The story and whoopie pie combination makes me want to devour one of these while telling a creepy tale by a bonfire!

  • Stephanie

    Argh, how can the story end like that! My mind is teeming with questions!!

    On the other hand, nice whoopie pies. =)

  • Aimee @ Simple Bites

    How to choose? I’ll have all three, please.

  • cindy

    I love a spooky story! I used to sneak into an old turn of the century hospital, on my aunts property in rural nevada, with my cousins. Major goosebumps.

    I love that you torched that meringue!

  • Jonathan

    Great story Russell! I was on the verge of my seat while reading it in class. Yes I wasn’t paying attention in class. You’re to blame. All three sound delicious. I’m obsessed with your scale ;) and I’m dying over the reflective surface. Great post.

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    These are absolutely beautiful!

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food

    My father taught me a lot about exploring… for the most part, I follow the rules, but some rules are just made to be broken :-)

    Ok… these whoopie pies are so festive and they look delicious! I’ve grown to really appreciate whoopie pies over the years… they weren’t always on my radar, but once I had a good one, I got hooked.

  • Fork and Whisk

    Oh man whoopie pies. Those look awesome. Great pictures.

  • Lisa | With Style and Grace

    I’d be happy to take these off your hands.

  • Joanna @ Chic & Gorgeous Treats

    oOO.. whoOooOoopie pies! They are sure making me whoopsies right now, LOL. You know I will lick all the maple frosting first. Dangerous! I know I will be chowing down a couple of these babies. Happy Early Halloween!! hugs, Jo

    p/s: forgive my lame crazy me today.

  • Marcello Arena

    I’m in love, i wanna this whoopie ♥

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    I just keep going back to look at that first photo, what a fun image and really well done!

  • Sommer@ASpicyPerspective

    OoooOOOooo! Good story–I thought you were going to tell me you father found bones in the closet or something like that.

    And the whoopie pies look remarkable!

  • Carolyn

    Creepy, creepy story! :) And so much for a blogging slump.

  • Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies

    Three ways?! Oh yes. That means I’ll have to have one of each, right?

  • Jenn and Seth

    these look sooo sooo good – and all three fillings sound incredible!

  • Ruthie

    I love the story. AND the pies!

  • Jeanette

    Love your story Russell – don’t ever let that insatiable curiosity die. As for your pumpkin whoopie pies – looks like you went to town on them! I met a friend that is obsessed with pumpkin whoopie pies but doesn’t bake – wish you could sell them to him – I know he’d buy you out!

  • shelly (cookies and cups)

    You are officially out of your slump. These are my kinda dessert!

  • Lynna

    Oh wow… that is a great story to tell on Halloween.

    The photos look awesome and I love that you made 3 fillings.

  • Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine)

    What an awesomely creepy story! Was the address too far away for your father to go see his friend at? Maybe things had gotten lost in the mail… it is VERY strange that the house was just abandoned like that, with stuff still in it!

  • Valerie

    I have never been so riveted to the flow of a blog post! Wow. Part of me expected you to say that it was all a Halloween story that had been made up to keep you away from the house. Now I’m curious about what happened to the Junes too! :D

    Oh, and of course the pumpkin whoopie pies are fantastic!! (I was so caught up in the reading that I almost forgot to look at the photos.) Love you unique presentation!

  • Lori @ RecipeGirl

    They all look perfect. Your writing (and photographs) pull me in Mr. Delicious.

  • Diane (createdbydiane)

    these looks fabulous! Can I help do the dishes and lick the bowls :)

  • jamie @ green beans & grapefruit

    These look insane!! In the best kick-butt halloween sort of way! I loved that story about you dad too :-)

  • Tricia @ Saving room for dessert

    So jealous of your pies! I have them on my list but won’t get to them before Thanksgiving I’m afraid. I love your site and your photos and can’t wait to see more!

  • Erika

    Now I will spend the rest of my day wondering what happened to “The Junes” and Whipped Pecan Butter Spread.. you are a genius my dear! :)

  • Amy @FragrantVanillaCake

    These whoopie pies sound amazing! Love all of the filling choices, but especially the maple. These are some of the classiest whoppie pies I have seen :)!

  • Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen

    I want to come over and bake with you. Right now.

  • Jennifer @ Delicieux

    What a creepy story. I kept expecting to read you had made it up for Halloween. Riveting. I hope you find out what happened to them.

    Those pumpkin whoopie pies look amazing. I love that first photo. Stunning!

  • Alissa

    HOMG. You, are an amazing man. I only discovered this blog this month and I always salivate while I scroll down to see your posts. I don’t even need to see the pictures yet, the name alone is enough. I HAVE to try these recipes soon. Keep up the good work!

    Lots of love from Canada! :)

  • Fi @ The Book Reading Baker

    Wow these whoopie pies sound delicious! I love the idea of pumpkin whoopie pies, so far I’ve only ever made chocolate ones, which are totally delicious, but it would be good to try something new. I particularly like the sound of the Maple Buttercream Frosting filling, truly scrumptious indeed! Beautiful photography too!

  • Cookie and Kate

    These whoopie pies are brilliant! Bravo. I was so stuffed from dinner but really think I could make room for a couple of these…

  • Alana

    I’m still perplexed by whoopie pies since they’re not a thing here in Australia but reading this post has assisted in unravelling the ~mystery~ for me. That first photo is an absolute stunner!

  • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake

    I love whoopie pies and agree that they’re quite simple to make. Although I must say you gave yourself an amazing task to make 3 fillings! :P They all look and sound absolutely delicious though so I’m sure it was worth it!

  • Lil Rinaldi

    Hello, made this recipe although haven’t assembled them yet but I noticed you didn’t list “vanilla” in with the ingredients but in the instructions you say to add the vanilla. So, I added a tsp just taking a guess. Please correct. Thank you and can’t wait to try them! I will let you know!

  • Michelle

    Just made these with the buttercream filling. Delicious, though I prefer my filling less sweet.
    I did accidentally read the 4 oz. butter in the cookies as 4 Tb. and didn’t realize until they were baked and I was making the buttercream. The cookies looked fine, so I assembled and they still tasted great. So, if you’re looking to save some fat & calories, but down on the butter.

    • Michelle

      Cut, not but down on the butter.

  • sonia monagheddu

    Hi, I’m Sonia, an Italian food blogger, sorry for my bad english, I want tell you that I have included the link of this recipe (which I liked very much) in the section on my blog dedicated to “10 ways to make” (“10 Modi di Fare”) whoopie pies.
    The post is ‘Whoopie pies’ I hope not to bother you, have a nice day.

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