Pumpkin Spice Blondies

Pumpkin Spice Blondies

Pumpkin Spice Blondies

Do you ever play the “what if” game?  It goes like this…..”What if I use a different kind of flour here?”    What if I use all butter instead of shortening in this cake?”

Today’s recipe came about when I asked ” what if I used a cookie mix to make some squares”?    Yes, I know there are a gazillion recipes out there that use cake mixes to make cookies, but what I had on hand was a boxed pumpkin spice cookie mix, but I didn’t really want to make cookies.  This is how I changed the directions to make blondies with all the flavors you would expect in a pumpkin square, and then some!!

Soooo Good!

Soooo Good!

These came out chewy, and chunky because of the extra add-ins.  I found that by using miniature marshmallows, they melt while baking leaving an extra gooey spot in the bar.   I also used caramel bits and dried cranberries in these and all the flavors combined will remind you of fall.  To make the glaze on top I used about a cup of powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mixed with about 4 teaspoons of water.  This was spread on after the bars had cooled completely.     Today’s game of “what if”  was successful…. my experiments don’t always turn out as well.  So I invite you to try them for yourself.  Any brand of pumpkin cookie mix will work, using the amount of butter and egg specified on the package.

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PUMPKIN BLONDIES

Yield:  Makes 16 barsIMG_8053

Ingredients:

  • 1 package ( 16.5-oz.) pumpkin spice cookie mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup ( 1-stick) butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup each caramel bits, mini marshmallows, and dried cranberries
Disregard the can of pumpkin…I didn't use it.

Disregard the can of pumpkin…I didn’t use it.

Directions:

1.   Preheat oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease an 8x8x2-inch pan.

2.  In a medium bowl, stir together the cookie mix, egg and butter until a dough forms.

3.  Stir in the caramel bits, mini marshmallows, and dried cranberries until well incorporated.

4.  Scrape dough into prepared pan and press in evenly.

5.  Bake for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely before topping with glaze.

Cool the baked squares before adding glaze.

Cool the baked squares before adding glaze.

6.  Glaze:  1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice,  3-4 teaspoons water.  Whisk together to form a loose glaze that you can spread on top of the blondies.

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SOURCE:    a Carolyn’s Original

 

 

 

 

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Brown Butter White Chocolate Pretzel Blondies

Brown Butter Blondies with White Chocolate M & M’s and Pretzels

I do believe I’m becoming a convert to blondies.  I used to think they were sort of second-rate to “real” brownies.  But since early Spring when I first started writing this blog,  I’ve found three recipes for blondies, all of which appealed to me enough to want to make them.

I’ve been saving this recipe since late winter/early spring when it was featured for Easter using pastel colored M & M’s.  My thought at the time was that it could easily be adapted to any time of year just by changing the M & M’s.  So this past week, when I saw white chocolate M & M’s on display for Halloween I grabbed them and thought “now is the time to try that recipe”.

These squares are so easy and quick to make– mixed by hand, no need to get out your mixer–and so pretty to serve with the colorful M & M’s.  They taste a little salty from the pretzels, have crunch from the  pretzels and candy, and the browned butter provides a nutty background flavor to all of it.   My only concern about these bars is related to the salt content.  Unsalted butter is not specified but I would recommend it, since the pretzels add salt and the recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  If you use salted butter, cut back the added salt to 1/4 teaspoon, since browning the butter adds to its saltiness.

BROWN BUTTER WHITE CHOCOLATE PRETZEL BLONDIES

SERVINGS:   24 squares

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, browned and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup pretzels, crushed
  • 1 cup white chocolate M & M’s ( or white chocolate chips)

Browned Butter

1.  Begin by browning your butter.  Use a light colored pan rather than one with a dark interior, so you can see the color change in the butter.  Allow the butter to melt over low heat,  once melted raise heat to medium and let butter cook, watching it all the while for a color change to golden brown.  This can take from 2-3 minutes, but it will happen quickly.  Remove from the heat at that point, otherwise it will burn.  Allow to cool.

2.  Crush the pretzels:  Place in a zip-lock bag and crush with a rolling pin or meat mallet.  They will be a variety of sizes. Break some of the larger pieces with your hands.  Large pretzel pieces will make it difficult to cut the squares, but you don’t want them to be all crumbs either.

3.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 13″ x 9″ pan with foil, and spray the foil with non-stick spray.

4.  In a medium bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients.

5.  In a large bowl, mix butter with brown sugar, stirring until all the sugar is saturated with the butter.  Add eggs and vanilla, stir to combine well.

6.  Fold in dry ingredients using a spatula.  Don’t overmix.

7.  Add in pretzels and white chocolate M & M’s and stir to distribute.

8.  Transfer to prepared pan and bake for 22-25 minutes.  The top will be shiny and somewhat crackled.  A toothpick should test clean.  Remove from oven and cool on rack.

Ready for the Oven.

Out of the Oven.

     

SOURCE:   Cook’s Illustrated New Best Recipes