Ginger Pumpkin White Chocolate Blondies
Not that I’m in any hurry for the cold weather, and the loss of seasonal tomatoes – but I gotta say, I’m more excited about this fall season than I can remember being in a long time. Normally I look forward to the shorter days and loss of my favorite summer fruits and veggies with a sense of dread and resignation, but this year – I’ve been super excited about all the things I can make with the new fruits and veggies I’ve been receiving in my box each week. Arugula, Rapini, Winter Squashes, etc… Things that I’ve either never had before or never cooked with very often (or even tasted!). It’s very exciting to have new challenges to play with.
Just before my mother came to visit, I received my second sugar pumpkin of the year from FFTY. (The first one was made in to a pumpkin soup while I had the flu). However, knowing that Samhain was just around the corner, I decided to hang on to it and use it to make something for circle. Fortunately, winter squash can hang around for weeks and weeks and weeks, so hanging on to it was no big deal – except for that I had found a recipe that I really wanted to try. I mean, really really wanted to try. I was perusing winter squash (not specifically pumpkin recipes, but hey) when I first started seeing some winter squash showing up in my box – and I came across this recipe on another site. Since then, I’ve been dying to make them. Samhain seemed like the perfect opportunity, as anything pumpkin would be in keeping with the season so I jumped at the chance.
And, hoo-boy, were they worth the wait. They were perfect blondies – a little gooey, with a fudgey texture. The pumpkin flavor was prominent, with subtle hints of spice and little nibblets of crystalized ginger. Exactly the perfect flavors for the holiday. Unfortunately, they were so gooey that they were sticky – so they weren’t quite as finger friendly as I might have hoped. Aside from that though, they were perfect – and a biiiiig hit. I managed to sneak one lone little survivor home for Mr. Man to have, but the rest were completely devoured.
When I was younger (and not as interested in cooking) I had several misconceptions about Pumpkins, in specific – and winter squash in general. The biggest of course, was that the only thing you ate pumpkin in was PIE, and the only way to make Pumpkin pie was to buy pumpkin in a can. I remember when a neighbor of mine was talking about making pumpkin pie, and how she roasted the pumpkin and I was like… “Wait, wut…? You can do that? You can MAKE YOUR OWN pureed pumpkin?” I know. I know. I’ve since learned differently – Now that isn’t to say you can’t use canned pumpkin for this recipe, because you can. However, it is soooooo easy to make your own pumpkin, and can be done up several days ahead of time. (Or longer, if you find a big one and freeze it in batches)
Some other notes and take-aways from this recipe are: The Crystalized ginger is yummy, but next time I might sprinkle it on top rather than mix it in. The ginger pieces that ended up on the bottom of the pan kind of melted and stuck to the pan, which contributed to the almost-not-finger-friendly situation. I would also increase the white chocolate by another cup or so – because I would have liked a little more white chocolate. I might also tweak the brown sugar levels. I loved the brown sugar and molasses flavor, but I also think that switching completely to brown sugar was a contributor in the almost-not-finger-friendly situation as well. Although, thats a tough call. If you don’t mind a little sticky, I say leave it because it is durn tasty. And lastly, I *gasp* did not puree my pumpkin pulp. Since I was using a stand-mixer, I just tossed in the tender pumpkin chunks and creamed them with the butter and sugar, which seems to have worked just fine.
- 2 cups Flour
- 1 and 1/4 cups Brown Sugar
- 1 cup Roasted Pumpkin (or 1 cup Canned Pumpkin); see below for directions on Roasted Pumpkin
- 2 sticks (1 cup) of Butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp Vanilla
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Ground Ginger
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Ground All Spice
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
- 1 cup Good quality White chocolate; cut in to chunks
- 1/4 cup Crystalized Ginger; cut in to 1/2″ pieces
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Line a 9×13 baking pan with Parchment paper
- In a medium bowl, stir together the Flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon, all spice and cloves. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy
- Add the roasted pumpkin (or canned pumpkin) and cream together
- Add the egg and the vanilla and beat until combined
- Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated
- Stir in the White Chocolate Chunks and the Crytalized Ginger
- Spread evenly in to the parchment lined baking pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of pan comes out clean.
- Cool completely before cutting and serving
Roasted Pumpkin Ingredients:
- 1 Whole Sugar Pumpkin (or other cooking pumpkin)
Roasted Pumpkin Method:
- Preheat Oven to 350°
- Place the whole pumpkin on a baking pan
- Roast the pumpkin in the oven until tender* (cooking times will vary depending on the size of your pumpkin)
- Set aside until cool enough to handle
- Remove Skins, Seeds and Stringy-Pulp-like-Matter and discard (or save the seeds for roasting)
- Puree and use Cup-for-Cup in place of Canned Pumpkin
- Keeps in fridge for several days to a week or freeze for longer storage
*I generally just poke it – it’s done when the skin is browned and interior feels squishy and tender