Spicy ginger cookies are filled with sweet vanilla buttercream to create homemade Gingerbread Whoopie Pies! This easy Christmas dessert is so festive and fun!
Easy Gingerbread Whoopie Pies
Whoopie pies probably aren’t the first things that come to mind when you think ‘Christmas cookies.’ But, I’m here to convince you that they should be, because these Gingerbread Whoopie Pies are simply perfect for your holiday dessert plans!
These warm, chewy gingerbread cookies are infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, molasses, brown sugar, and, of course, ginger. Then, all of that goodness is enhanced with a healthy dose of vanilla buttercream filling! Who could turn down such a treat?
The number one reason I love these soft, cake-y cookies is because they have quintessential Christmas flavor, but I also love that I get to eat two cookies for the price of one dessert! No taking-a-second-cookie guilt today, my friends.
I hope you enjoy this Christmas cookie recipe as much as my family has!
What Are Whoopie Pies?
Delicious! But more specifically, whoopie pies are made up of two cake-like cookies with some sort of frosting or sweet filling sandwiched between them. You can make them with all sorts of flavors (red velvet, pumpkin, chocolate, etc.) and for all sorts of occasions. Today, though, I thought gingerbread would be perfect for upcoming holiday celebrations!
Time to go over the gingerbread whoopie pie essentials. Round up the following ingredients for the cookies and the filling:
For the Gingerbread Cookies
- Flour: I used all-purpose flour for these gingerbread cookies.
- Salt: To enhance the sweetness/flavor from the spices.
- Baking Soda: To help the cookies rise up nice and tall.
- Spices: Here’s where the classic gingerbread tastes comes from! Round up some ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg.
- Vegetable Shortening: Shortening helps to ensure that your cookies won’t spread out too far while baking.
- Butter: Soften this before starting.
- Brown Sugar: I like to use light brown sugar because it has beautiful caramel undertones.
- Egg: To bind the cookie dough/batter together.
- Molasses: They can’t be gingerbread cookies without molasses!
- Buttermilk: For extra rich flavor.
For the Vanilla Buttercream Filling
- Butter: You can use salted or unsalted, either works.
- Powdered Sugar: To thicken up the filling and add sweetness.
- Milk: You can use 1%, 2%, whole, etc.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: To make it a truly vanilla buttercream filling. 🙂
How to Make Gingerbread Whoopie Pies
I just want to take a second to mention how amazing your kitchen will smell once these cookies are baking. There’s no better way to get in the mood for Christmas than by filling your kitchen with that freshly-baked gingerbread cookie fragrance! Some festive music might help too, though…
Anyway, here’s how these gingerbread whoopie pies come to be:
Make the Cookies
Preheat the Oven to 375: Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix the Dry Ingredients: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices.
Cream the Butter and Sugar: Then, in a large mixing bowl, combine the shortening, butter and brown sugar. Beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Add the egg and beat the mixture until it is incorporated.
Combine the Dry and Wet Ingredients: Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix to combine. Mix in the molasses, the remaining dry ingredients, and the buttermilk.
Prepare the Baking Sheet: Using a spoon, drop 1 tablespoon of dough, leaving 2 inches between each cookie, on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake: Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cookie comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a rack to cool completely.
Make the Filling
Cream the Butter: Beat the butter with your mixer on high until it’s light and fluffy, (about 1 minute).
Add Powdered Sugar: Do this 1/2 cup at a time, and continue to mix on low until combined.
Pour in the Milk and Vanilla: Beat on high until you reach the desired consistency. Spread the frosting onto the cooled whoopie pie and place another cookie on top, sandwiching them together.
Tips for Success
I know this isn’t the simplest cookie recipe out there, but it’s easier than I thought making whoopie pies would be! Here are a couple more tips to make the process even smoother:
- If You Want Bigger Cookies: For bigger cookies, and thus whoopie pies, scoop out 1/4-cup of dough instead of 1 tablespoon.
- For Thinner Frosting: If you’d like the vanilla buttercream to be thinner, feel free to add more milk to the filling.
- Let Whoopie Pies Cool Completely Before Frosting: If you try to fill the cookies too quickly after baking, they may crumble or fall apart, so I would suggest letting them set completely.
- Refrigerate the Whoopie Pies: This is optional, but the filling tends to stay in the cookies better if you let the pies chill for a bit. If you’re fine with a little mess, though, feel free to dig in immediately!
Though I’m a big fan of these gingerbread whoopie pies as they are, there are many possible variations that you could try! Here are a few suggestions:
- Add Cinnamon to the Buttercream: If you’re a big fan of that homey cinnamon sweetness, feel free to make this a cinnamon buttercream filling!
- Make Them Mini: Mini whoopie pies are so fun! Just make the scoops of cookie dough a bit smaller, and voila!
- Use a Cream Cheese Filling: Cream cheese frosting would also pair really well with these gingerbread cookies.
- Switch Up the Spices: You can use more cinnamon in the cookies, less nutmeg, etc. You could even try experimenting with other spices like apple pie spice.
How to Store and Reheat Extras
Store your homemade whoopie pies in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you want to warm them up again, pop them in the oven/toaster oven on a baking sheet for a few minutes.
Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Buttercream Filling
For the Cookies
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 stick butter , softened
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup molasses
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
For the Filling
- 1 stick butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the shortening, butter and brown sugar; beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy.
- Add the egg; beat until incorporated.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix to combine.
- Mix in the molasses, the remaining dry ingredients, and the buttermilk.
- Using a spoon, drop 1 tablespoon of dough, leaving 2 inches between, on the prepared baking sheets. For bigger cookies, scoop out 1/4-cup of dough.
- Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cookie comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and place the pan on a rack to cool completely.
In the meantime, make the filling.
- Beat butter with mixer on high until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and continue to mix on low until combined.
- Pour in the milk and vanilla, and beat on high until you reach desired consistency. Add more milk if necessary.
- Spread frosting onto the cooled whoopie pie and place another cookie on top, and sandwich together.
More Christmas Desserts to Try
In the mood for some more Christmas dessert ideas? Check out these ones: