Pumpkin Blondies

It may be cliché but one of my favorite things about fall is finding pumpkin everywhere. Pumpkin scones, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread pudding, pumpkin beer…I could go on and on. I love pumpkin and think it is a shame that its use disappears after Halloween. I cannot possibly consume enough pumpkin goods during the course of just one month!

This past October after finding that I had spent a entirely too much money buying all things pumpkin, I broke down and realized I should try my hand at making some pumpkin baked goods myself. While I don’t normally bake and until recently have avoided it like the plague, I decided I had nothing to lose by trying (other than the cost of ingredients). I scoured the internets for something both easy and delicious, an entry level recipe if you will, and came across a recipe for Pumpkin-Chocolate-Chip Squares from Martha Stewart. A little more searching on the internet revealed a few tweaks here and there and I finally got down to baking.

Pumpkin Blondies adapted from Martha Stewart Living

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups all purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup brown sugar (dark or light)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
12 ounces (1 package) dark chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottom and sides of 9×13 inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides.

 In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined.

Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low and mix in dry ingredients until just combined.

Fold in chocolate chips. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35-40 minutes.

Cool completely in pan. Life cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares.

These pumpkin blondies came out great. Using brown sugar (rather than only white sugar) gave the blondies a bit more depth and the darker blondies felt a little more autumnal. After making these bars, I realized that the problem with baking is figuring out how to get rid of everything without consuming it all myself or throwing it away. After putting it out at a dinner party and eating my fill for three days, I finally brought the rest (about half) into work for my co-workers. Everyone loved the blondies and I won the day.

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