I love all things pumpkin, but I usually don’t start cooking with it until the fall. I think it’s the ascetic in me, trying to save this pleasure for a specific time of the year, so as not to “use it up” or tire of it. I do that a lot. When I was younger, I was utterly confused to see ads for Stovetop Stuffing in March…wasn’t stuffing just a Thanksgiving food?
I fight with myself about this idea of saving things, or having them only at a certain time…aren’t cheesy nachos only eaten at ball games? Shouldn’t wine only be drunk at dinner? And Mexican hot chocolate only in the winter? I’m not sure when I made up these little food rules…but the truth is that I have many of them guiding my choices, and not just the ones about food. I can never decide whether I should drop these rules, or whether they’re worth keeping to preserve the anticipation of a certain season or event. In this age of supermarkets where all foods are available all the time, I guess this is my small attempt to keep seasonality going.
Anyway, try these pumpkin bars, at any time of year…they’re dense and moist and full of chocolate, for you fellow chocolate-lovers out there.
Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Squares
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350ËšF. Line bottom and sides of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Spray foil with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes ut with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares.
Note: If you can’t find pumpkin-pie spice, substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon each allspice and cloves.
Makes 24 servings.
Source: Everyday Food magazine.