Being a new-ish mom (can I still say "new" after 6 months? Let me know your thoughts), I don't get a ton of opportunities to cook or bake for fun right now. It's usually a scramble to get something semi-homemade on the table for dinner every night, so anything beyond that can feel a bit overwhelming. And when it happens, like a huge success! But I missed baking just for the fun of baking, so when Alex told me he'd volunteered to bring dessert to a recent work event I jumped at the chance to flex my creative muscles in the kitchen again. And this recipe is the perfect marriage of low maintenance and big flavor.
You know I love a blondie (see here and here and here). They're rich and buttery and can adapt to tons of different flavor combinations. Plus, it's a pretty simple base recipe that entails mixing, baking in one big pan and slicing. Nothing complicated here. Since it's October Alex thought a pumpkin blondie would be appropriate and since I'm not one to turn down pumpkin-flavored anything, I got to work: a little pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice in the blondie batter tastes and smells just like fall when these blondies bake up. I folded in butterscotch chips for some added sweetness and texture plus that super sweet caramel-like flavor melds nicely into that pumpkin batter. The result is a moist chewy bar that just tastes like fall!
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup canned pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
- 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. real vanilla extract
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- Optional: 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour (or use cooking spray made for baking-- it has flour in it) a 9 in. x 13 in. baking dish.
Place butter in a large glass mixing bowl and microwave on medium low until completely melted. Add brown sugar and pumpkin to the melted butter while still warm and stir well until smooth and fully combined; it should have a very thick almost caramel-like consistency. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
In a separate medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
Once the brown sugar mixture has cooled, beat in the eggs and vanilla until fully incorporate. Add the flour mixture in gradually (I find that adding it in 3 or 4 parts works well), mixing until combined before adding more of the dry ingredients. A very smooth almost dough-like batter will be formed. Gently fold in the butterscotch chips and pecans, if desired.
Spoon the batter to the prepared baking dish and use a rubber spatula to spread it out evenly. Bake until the blondies are golden and just brown around the edges, about 20-25 minutes. You'll want to insert a toothpick to test the center.
Remove from the oven and let the blondies cool slightly. Carefully invert onto a metal rack (they are so buttery that they should just fall out of the pan) and allow to cool completely. Slice into squares and serve.