Cucumber whoopie pies

My ode to the cucumber sandwich…in baked, dessert form. I got the idea for these around Christmas, when a  co-worker brought in small cucumber bread loaves for everyone in the office as holiday gifts. Similar in concept to zucchini bread, cucumber bread turned out to be sweet and spicy,  taking the natural flavor of cucumber to a whole new level. Once baked, the cucumber is dehydrated and combined with sugar, it becomes something else, something more intense in flavor, but unmistakably cucumber. These were a little odd, but surprising nonetheless, and yummy. Who knew cucumber, cinnamon and cream cheese would ever be found in the same recipe?

Some back-story on my interest in cucumber sandwiches: I went to college in a very preppy town. My school was across the street from the Naval Academy, and every year we played Navy in Croquet, a huge event that drew crowds of townies and alumni to come and picnic on the front lawn of the campus, drink, and sometimes wear ridiculous period clothing a la The Great Gatsby. The free snack of the day: huge platters of cucumber sandwiches and glasses of champagne were laid out on tables in the alumni tent.  And this is where I became a cucumber sandwich addict. My sweet take on the cucumber sandwich has a cream cheese frosting in the middle to echo the original combo of pairing butter or cream cheese with thin slices of cucumber between crust-less, pillow-y triangles of white bread.

Cucumber Whoopie pies with cream cheese frosting

servings: roughly 12 pies (24 individual cookies)

Ingredients

For the cookies:

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup grated cucumber
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 1/3 cup softened cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°F
In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and  sugars. Drain the grated cucumber to remove excess liquid before adding to the creamed butter and sugar. Add egg, milk and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the flour mixture.
Use a large spoon or ice cream scoop to spoon out cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave space between them as they will spread out considerably as they cook. Bake for about 10 minutes. Let cool before assembling the sandwiches.

To make the frosting, simply combine softened cream cheese with honey and cinnamon.

To assemble, spread a layer of the cheese mixture between two cooled cucumber cookies to make a whoopie pie. If not consuming immediately, keep refrigerated.

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