Thursday, September 30, 2010

Recipes: Pumpkin & White Chocolate Blondies for Natasha

Not only is Natasha a great tennis partner, a good friend and a hard working tennis pro, but she also organizes tennis activities at the RVC.  Every Thursday, she runs a Fitness Class on the court that leaves me so weak that I have a hard time walking up the stairs to get out of the club!
This Friday, she has organized a huge Tennis Social, followed by lots of delicious food.  Natasha is such a planner, that she has contingency plans for her contingency plans!  This is no surprise, because everything she does, she does well.  Participants are none the wiser to any mishaps, because she has gone to great lengths to plan so that things run smoothly.
She asked me to make a healthy salad for the group (24 players + 5 - 7 staff).  I agreed, but since my love is baking, I wanted to bake something seasonal.
What could be more seasonal that pumpkin in New England?  Well, maybe apples.  But, pumpkins are as good as any.
I didn't want to do a pie -- too "Thanksgiving", so I thought about some kind of cookie.  Then, it hit me, how about Pumpkin brownies?  Well, I didn't want fudgy chocolate, instead, I went with a blondie.   The butterscotch flavors should go great with pumpkin!  I found some recipes that used white sugar and chocolate chips.  I wanted more of a caramel flavor, so I changed some things around and came up with a winner of a recipe.
These are sweet and moist, with more of a caramel flavor than a pumpkin one!  And the spices are not overwhelming, so it doesn't taste like pumpkin pie!  I like it!

Pumpkin Blondies for Natasha

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin puree
2 cups white chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides. Grease with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree. If the mixture looks curdled, do not fret.
4. Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and pecans.
5. 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.

Here they are all packed and ready to go for Friday night!

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