When temperatures start dropping and leaves start turning a bright red, orange and yellow, it not only feels like autumn, it looks like it too. But here, the temperatures are still above 80 and it always looks like summer.
Didn't the trees get the memo? Leaves are supposed to change colors! The landscape is supposed to look like this picture...
Above is a picture I took in North Carolina at this time of year two years ago. Instead, out of my backyard, this is what I see today...
Don't get me wrong, I think palm trees are beautiful and I enjoy very much having them in our landscaping. But, they certainly don't announce any change of season. So, what's a girl to do? Well, I decided that since I don't have the feel of autumn around me (with temperatures in the 80's!), and I don't get to see autumn make its arrival with leaves changing colors, I would taste it instead.
To some people, autumn may taste like a pumpkin pie, or an apple pie, or a sweet potato pie. To me, it's not so much a pie but more like a pumpkin brownie. But, I wouldn't want to offend Martha by calling it a brownie: officially, it's her pumpkin chocolate chip square. Just to set the record straight.
And I made a batch today. Yes I did, I tasted autumn!
I've been making these for a couple of years now and I have to admit that, even though I didn't used to be a big pumpkin fan, these have won me over. They're delicious and bring out the "it's finally autumn!" feeling in me. I hope you'll enjoy them too, so here's the recipe:
Martha Stewart's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
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 12-oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving the foil extending over the short sides of the pan. (She doesn't say to do this, but at this point, I spray some Pam on the bottom and sides of the pan. It's a habit I can't shake!) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, pie spice, baking soda and salt. Then set aside.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in the egg and the vanilla until combined. Beat in the pumpkin puree (the mixture may appear curdled, don't be alarmed if it does.) Reduce the speed to low, and get your bowl of dry ingredients. Add them to the wet ingredients until just combined, so be careful not to overdo it. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips using a spatula.
Spread the batter evenly in the pan and bake for 35 minutes or so, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool completely in the pan, for about 2 hours.
Lift the cake from the pan using the foil handles, peel off the foil and cut into 24 squares. Enjoy autumn! :)