Friday, November 11, 2011

Pumpkin Isn't Just for Pies













Looking for a way to use up those extra cans of pureed pumpkin from Halloween or Thanksgiving? These moist pumpkin chocolate-chip squares from Everyday Food Magazine (one of the very early issues!), somewhere between a bar cookie and cake, fits the bill. Easy to make, and a crowd-pleaser.

Preheat your oven at 350.  Then line a 9 x 13 baking pan with tin foil, leaving an overhang on the sides so you can lift out the squares when they're baked. If you position your tin foil just right, you can line the pan perfectly with just one sheet.

Whisk together 2 cups of flour, some salt, and pumpkin pie spice, or any combination of spices you like to add to your fall-themed desserts, things like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, ground cloves.  Set aside.

Next, mix up the usual suspects in the electric mixer: butter and sugar, an egg, some vanilla. Then add a cup of pureed pumpkin. The mix may appear curdled, but don't worry. The batter smooths out when you add in the flour mixture.  Finally, fold in chocolate chips, a bag of semisweet or bittersweet, or a mixture of both, which is what I did. Or you could even try white chocolate chips...

Now bake for about 35-40 minutes. You want the top to be set and a cake tester to come out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cake cool in the pan completely before cutting.  (You may even want to chill it to make the cutting easier, as this is a moist cake.) Cut into 24 squares.

On first bite, the squares have a warm and sweet flavor, like a rich blondie. After the first few seconds, though, you get that spicy autumn kick from the pumpkin pie spice, which eventually settles back into sweetness as you bite into the chocolate chips.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice (If you can't find pumpkin-pie spice, substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon each allspice and cloves (all ground).
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-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.
  2. 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.
  3. Spread batter evenly in 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 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
  4. Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares.

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