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.
- 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
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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