Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pumpkin Blondies with Salted Caramel Sauce

Some of you may have noticed that my recipes are a haphazard combination of measures.  Sometimes by weight in grams or ounces, equally often cups and milliliters and other volume measures.  My problem is that I have moved all over the world collecting cookbooks (and recipes from friends!) so I have gotten quite comfortable mixing and matching.  I own two sets of measuring cups, US and UK, where a cup varies from eight ounces in the former to nine ounces in the latter.   I don’t actually own a separate set of measuring spoons, but I know that an Australian recipe calling for a tablespoon of something needs four teaspoons instead of the US three.  Thank goodness all teaspoons are 5ml!

I have a wonderful set of vintage scales, a gift from my mother, procured by a dear friend in Aberdeen, which has both imperial and metric weights.  This is my very favorite thing in my kitchen and I use it all the time, to the point where, when using my US cookbooks, I often measure things out, then tip them in the scale and write the weight in pencil so I can just weigh the item the next time I use the recipe.  How we ever started using cups, I do not know, because weighing is so much easier.

This is a long story to tell you that I have found a new favorite website that can convert many cooking ingredients from unit to unit.  If you too find yourself with a foreign recipe, online or in a cookbook, this website will be a godsend.   So, from here on out, I will try to put at least two units.  But when I say cups, I will mean an 8 oz. volume US cup and a tablespoon will be three teaspoons or 15ml, unless otherwise stated. 

2 cups or 250g plain flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (245g) room temperature butter
1 1/4 cups or 250g brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (Check out the link if you'd like to make your own.)
1 cup store-bought caramel syrup with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt added or this lovely recipe. I made this myself and ended up with a much darker caramel sauce. I'll post my rendition soon. 
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Combine all dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.

Cream together the butter and brown sugar until very light and fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla extract.

Add the pumpkin puree. 

Add the reserved flour mixture slowly, and stop when the batter is just combined.  This is going to be really thick.

Line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper. To get a good fit, lay the pan on top of a piece of parchment and draw a line out from each corner to the edge of the paper. 

Cut the line with scissors and then trim around the paper. 

Fit the parchment into the pan and spread half the batter around evenly.

  Bake in for 10 minutes. Pour over the caramel sauce.

Carefully spoon the remaining batter over the caramel. Spread to cover, as best you can.  A gentle touch is key.

Return the blondies to the oven and bake for another 30 minutes.  A toothpick should come out clean.  Let the blondies cool before cutting. 

Why I love parchment paper linings! It comes out clean.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar or drizzle on more caramel sauce before serving

I brought this succulent plate as a housewarming gift to a special friend who just moved into a new house this weekend. Much love to the Vikings in their new home!


To give everybody credit: My recipe was adapted from this recipe from which was in turn adapted from this recipe from which was in turn adapted from a recipe for basic pumpkin blondies from Annies Eats, who adapted hers from Martha Stewart. And so it goes.

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