Apple Cinnamon Spice Whoopie Pies

These apple spice whoopie pies combine apple cider, applesauce, and cinnamon with creamy spiced buttercream to make an irresistible cookie cake sandwich. Reducing the apple cider and using lots of cinnamon spice are both key to the incredible flavor.

apple spice whoopie pie

It’s time to… spice up your life!

Yes, I just quoted a Spice Girls song. That’s how pumped I am about these apple cinnamon spice whoopie pies! What started as an attempt to make them taste apple cider-y turned into a cinnamon spice dream. We’ll definitely use apple cider in the recipe to add flavor, but these taste more like cinnamon spice than anything else.

And that’s a good thing. Snickerdoodles as whoopie pies!

apple spice whoopie pies

Talk to Me About These Whoopie Pies

I will gladly do so!

Whoopie pies are little mounds of cake sandwiched together with a sweet filling. These apple spice whoopie pies are the fall version of traditional chocolate whoopie pies. Instead of a chocolate flavor and cream filling, we’ll use spiced cake with spiced buttercream filling. I actually have red velvet whoopie pies and chocolate caramel whoopie pies published on my blog, pumpkin whoopie pies in Sally’s Cookie Addiction, and traditional whoopie pies in the paperback version of Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Fun fact: Did you know that in western PA, where my MIL is from, whoopie pies are called gobs? I can’t decide which name I like better. They’re both fun!

apple spice whoopie pies

Reduce the Apple Cider… Trust Me

Today’s whoopie pies are flavored with apple cider, applesauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and brown sugar. All our favorite things, right? Don’t use regular apple cider, though. Instead, reduce the apple cider down on the stove. We’ll start with 2 cups of apple cider, then let it reduce down to 1/2 cup. In about 25-30 minutes, you’ll have 1/2 cup of super concentrated apple cider liquid. Without reducing, we won’t get as much flavor and you’d definitely notice a difference. While you wait, get the other ingredients ready.

To save time, you can reduce the apple cider down the day before!

reduced apple cider

apple cinnamon spice whoopie pie batter

I first saw this recipe on King Arthur Flour. I put my own spin on it by adding brown sugar, vanilla, and apple cider reduction, then played around with the leaveners as well as the dry to wet ingredients ratio until I was satisfied with the texture, flavor, and overall spread.


How to Make Apple Spice Whoopie Pies

  1. Reduce apple cider.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients.
  3. Cream butter & sugars together.
  4. Combine all ingredients.
  5. Portion the batter. Each cookie should be about 1.5 Tablespoons of batter, so I recommend using a medium cookie scoop. If desired, you can make smaller whoopie pies to yield more sandwiches. See recipe note. I love sprinkling the mounds with cinnamon sugar right before baking– lovely added flavor!
  6. Bake. The cookies take about 12-14 minutes. As the cookies cool, prepare the filling.
  7. Make the filling. I discuss that next!
  8. Assemble. Pair the cookies based on their size. Even if you use a cookie scoop, some cookies are bound to be smaller or larger than others. Sandwich cookies between the spiced buttercream.

Like banana bread and pumpkin bread, I find they’re even better on day 2 because all the flavors have settled together. The buttercream also slightly softens the apple spice cake/cookie, so it’s truly like eating an individual apple spice cake!


mounds of apple spice whoopie pie dough on baking sheet

apple spice whoopie pie cookies on baking sheet

Spiced Buttercream Filling

You need the following:

  • Butter
  • Confectioners’ Sugar
  • Cinnamon, Nutmeg, & Ginger
  • Apple Cider (no need to reduce)
  • Salt

Traditional whoopie pie filling includes shortening, but I wanted a buttercream filling here. Beat the ingredients together until creamy and combined. You can spread the filling onto the flat side of the cookie with a knife or you can use a piping tip. I used Wilton 1A.

Spiced buttercream filling

apple spice whoopie pies

These Apple Cinnamon Spice Whoopie Pies Are…

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apple cinnamon spice whoopie pies

Apple Cinnamon Spice Whoopie Pies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 18 sandwiches
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These apple spice whoopie pies combine apple cider, applesauce, and cinnamon with creamy spiced buttercream to make an irresistible cookie cake sandwich. Reducing the apple cider and using lots of cinnamon spice are both key to the incredible flavor.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups (480ml) apple cider
  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g; 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • 3/4 cup (180g) unsweetened applesauce, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • optional: cinnamon sugar for topping (see note)

Spiced Buttercream Filling

  • 3/4 cup (170g; 1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups (480g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) apple cider (or milk)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Reduce the apple cider: Stirring occasionally, boil the apple cider in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until you’re left with 1/2 cup. Start checking at 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 25 minutes, etc until you have 1/2 cup (120ml). Mine takes about 25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before using in step 4. You can even reduce the apple cider the day ahead of time. Cover and refrigerate overnight, then bring to room temperature before using.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt together in a large bowl. In another large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together on medium-high speed until creamed, about 1 minute. Add the oil, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla extract and beat on high speed until combined, about 1-2 minutes. The mixture will look curdled as a result of the varying textures trying to combine. This is OK and it will come together when you add the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, pour in the 1/2 cup of reduced apple cider, then mix on low until completely combined. Batter will be thick and creamy.
  5. Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop mounds of batter, about 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons each, onto prepared baking sheets about 3 inches apart. If desired, sprinkle each with cinnamon sugar. See recipe note.
  6. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes or until the edges are very lightly browned and the tops spring back when lightly touched. Mine usually take 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Make the filling as they cool.
  7. Make the filling: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, apple cider, and vanilla extract, then beat on medium speed until combined. Taste. Add a pinch of salt if desired (I always do). Add another Tablespoon of apple cider if needed to thin out or more spices if desired for extra flavor.
  8. Pair the cookies up based on their size. Spread or pipe (I used Wilton 1A piping tip) the frosting onto the flat side of one cookie and sandwich with the other. Repeat with remaining cookies. Serve.
  9. Cover leftover whoopie pies and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. They are EXCELLENT on day 2 because the flavor intensifies overnight.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Frosting can be made 2 days in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. The frosting will be quite thick after refrigerating, so beat it with a mixer and add another Tablespoon of apple cider or even milk if needed to thin out. You can prepare the whoopie pie cookie batter, cover it tightly, and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Let it come to room temperature, then bake as directed. You can freeze the baked and filled whoopie pies for up to 3 months. Wrap them individually with plastic wrap and place in a large freezer container. Thaw wrapped whoopie pies overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
  2. Apple Cider: Use apple cider, not apple juice. The apple cider is reduced down for the cookie batter in step 1. I just use regular apple cider (not reduced) for the filling, though you could reduce down extra for the filling if desired.
  3. Cinnamon Sugar Topping: I sprinkled cinnamon sugar on each mound of cookie dough before baking. This gave the whoopie pies an extra delicious punch of flavor. Mix 2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar with 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Sprinkle a little onto each mound of cookie dough before baking.
  4. Smaller Whoopie Pies: Measure 1 scant Tablespoon of batter for each cookie to yield about 28 smaller pies. Bake time is about 1 minute less.
  5. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Keywords: apple pie, apple cider, cookies

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32 Comments

  1. These look so good, Sally!!! I LOVE snickerdoodles, and having them spiced up like this (and with spiced buttercream!!!!! =O) is definitely something I’m not waiting long to try!

  2. Can you use the New England staple boiled cider in place of the reduced cider? If so, would you use the same amount or does boiled cider have to be further reduced or thinned out?

    1. Hi Christine! Is it a thick syrup? My apologies, I’ve never baked with it before. If it’s a thick syrup, you do not need to reduce it on the stove. However, using a full 1/2 cup in the batter may be too much. You may have to use half that, half milk. Of course, I haven’t tested this so I can’t be sure. Let me know if you try anything.

    2. Christine (and Sally!): good question, I have a bottle of the Wood’s Apple Cider so I clicked the link above to the King Arthur Recipe and since it has the same amount of flour, that recipe uses 1T. boiled cider and applesauce as the rest of the liquid. It is such powerful stuff that I think the one tablespoon will be enough! I’m looking forward to trying these 🙂

  3. These sound like the perfect fall snack. Love that you quoted Spice Girls, also that fun fact, I think I like that name better, especially so close to Halloween. And the first photo is beautiful, I just want to reach in and grab one.

  4. Wow,
    I can’t what to make this. It look AMAZING.
    Today we are going to the fall festival. Well tonight we are.
    I love going out the fall festival.
    This are perfect to bring with me (because I get hungry)
    Bye

  5. These look delicious! I love apple-spiced-anything, especially in autumn, and whoopie pies are so fun to make 🙂 I think funfetti whoopie pies would be really fun to make. Is there any way I can makr this batter plain vanilla instead of apple-spice? Maybe substituting milk for the apple cider…and what about the applesauce? Thanks Sally 🙂

    1. Hi Erin! You can definitely try. Feel free to leave out the spices, increase the vanilla, use milk for apple cider, and sour cream for the applesauce. I haven’t tested this myself, but this is where I would start.

  6. I usually bake cookies and take them to work where they are left on the counter all day. These sound like something my co-workers might like. Can these be left out for a few hours or do they have to be kept in the refrigerator?

    1. Oh yes, they can be left at room temperature for a few hours. I recommend refrigerating if storing for longer periods of time.

  7. Hi Sally I have a quick question for you. I’d rather use Italian meringue for these thoughts? Also, I’m thinking of adding candied ginger to
    these whoops what do you think ?
    The more recipes you post the more I bake, my hubby’s one lucky guy!
    Sincerely
    M.A.

  8. Hi, Sally. Medium cookie scoop – can you tell me the diameter? I have 6 different sizes of cookie scoops. Also, what diameter for the smaller cookies? I plan to make these for a social gathering in November, and I would want smaller cookies. Look really tasty on paper!

    1. Hi Janet, The scoop I link so says the medium size holds 1.5 tablespoons of dough and yields 2-3/4” diameter cookies. The small size holds 2 teaspoons of dough and yields 2” diameter cookies. I hope this helps!

      1. I saw that on the link, but I would like to know the diameter of the scoop. I will ask on Amazon. Thanks! : )

      2. The medium scoop is 1.5 inches in diameter, I found that in the Answered Questions on Amazon. Hope this helps anyone interested in the diameter of the scoop.

  9. Wow , these look incredible Sally!! And that buttercream sounds luscious and delious. A gain you have posted some really incredible recipes and I am left wondering what to make first. I hope you have a wonderful fall weekend!! I LOVE this time of year with football, cooler weather and your fall recipes!!!

  10. Hi Sally, this weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving. Every dish I’m bring to my family’s dinner is your recipe. You are my most trusted kitchen resource! Your inclusion of weight measurements and all the extra notes like how to freeze and make ahead is so appreciated. Thanks for your hardwork!

  11. Hey Sally. I’m wondering about the Apple cider – are we working with alcohol or the pulpy juice? And is there an acceptable substitute?

    1. Not hard cider– just regular apple cider (non alcoholic). You can use 1/2 cup of milk instead, if desired. Skip the reducing step.

  12. I have a new fall favorite cookie!! These are amazing to say the least. I was a little surprised we didn’t have to refrigerate these because the dough was so soft, but they turned out perfect. I had enough apple cider reduction to use in the buttercream filling and the filling was incredible. If day 2 the cookies taste even better I’m in trouble because they may not last that long. Thank you Sally for this delicious recipe!!¡

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