I think I’m the only person in the world without a zucchini problem right now.
It’s like this: I live in an apartment building, on the third floor. There is not a dirt plot to be found within blocks. Ain’t nothing growing in my little piece of the city. The internet may be full of food bloggers bemoaning gardens overflowing with giant zucchini the size of dachshunds, but I have no such abundance here.
When I want zucchini, I have to go to the store and buy it. WITH MONEY. Which is ridiculous, considering the fact that apparently there is a world zucchini surplus and some beleaguered home gardener, somewhere, should be paying me to take some zucchini off their hands.
I’m pretty sure this is how Communism was intended to work. From each according to their zucchini, to each according to their whoopie pie needs.
Alas, Communism failed and I’m stuck buying zucchini like a sucker. I don’t actually love it as a vegetable, but I try to be a good adult and sneak it into my meals occasionally. When I just can’t stomach the thought of eating it plain (wordplay!) I turn it into baked goods instead, like these Zucchini Whoopie Pies.
These zucchini cookies and soft and cakey, with a dash of ground ginger and cinnamon, and little bits of chewy crystallized ginger studded throughout. You can omit the crystallized ginger (or sub another dried fruit, like cranberries) but be sure to leave in the spices for flavor. The cookies sandwich a cinnamon cream cheese filling, light and fluffy and wonderfully tangy.
I almost wish I had a zucchini problem, just so I have an excuse to make these cookies regularly. Almost.
Zucchini Whoopie Pies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
yield: about 15 sandwich cookies
For the cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
6 ounces (12 tbsp) butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup grated zucchini
1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger (optional—but tasty!)
For the cream cheese frosting:
2 ounces butter, at room temperature
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tbsp marshmallow cream (about 3/4 ounce)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
8 ounces (about 2 cups) powdered sugar, well sifted
1 tbsp cream (optional)
To make the cookies:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, and cinnamon. Set aside for now.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined, then add the vanilla extract.
With the mixer running on low, add the dry ingredients and mix until they are nearly mixed in, but stop before all of the flour disappears. Add the zucchini and chopped crystallized ginger and stir them in by hand, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl so there are no pockets of butter or flour that are not mixed in.
Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to make round balls of dough and place them on the cookie sheets about 2-3 inches apart. Bake the cookies at 375 for 15-17 minutes, until they’ve spread, are puffy, and are golden brown around the edges. The zucchini keeps them moist, so the real danger is in underbaking and having soggy cookies, not in overbaking.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before assembling cookies.
To make the frosting:
Combine the butter, cream cheese, and marshmallow cream in the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, and sifted powdered sugar and mix on low speed until the sugar is incorporated.
Once the sugar’s mixed in, turn the speed to medium-high and beat for a minute or two, until light and fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add a spoonful of cream or milk at a time until you get the desired consistency.
To assemble the cookies, pipe or scoop some cream cheese frosting onto a cookie, and press another cookie on top to form a cookie sandwich.