Pumpkin blondies

I have been off the web for months now, can’t believe it’s gone by so quickly! Let me explain: I went on holiday for 2 weeks in the South of France (had amazing food there, especially in a lovely Bed&Breakfast in Nice where we were served 100% homemade breakfast every morning: from yoghurt, to jam, bread, croissants, everything! An amazing place I will probably write about at some point because I couldn’t recommend it enough). Then I moved houses right when we returned from holiday, before having the most manic of times at work at the end of October… To be honest I barely had time to bake / cook at all, let alone write about it! It’s crazy to think it’s November now and I haven’t written a thing since August.

But we are  finally all settled down in the new house. It’s gorgeous and I’m getting to know our new oven little by little. Isn’t it weird that it always takes weeks to get used to a new oven? This one is a gas one, like before, but fan assisted which my old one wasn’t; I am still working around it and trying to adapt cooking times from recipes… I had a few catastrophes with a cranberry frangipane tart that I burnt; and a bread a butter pudding that the boyfriend just managed to save (by scraping the black bits off the top!).

The Pumpkin blondies are ready

The Pumpkin blondies are ready

Last weekend, I decided to try my luck again and somehow celebrate the halloween season with some pumpkin blondies. I used a recipe from Table for Two and adapted it to the ingredients I could find. It was the first time ever I used (and even came across) pumpkin puree. Obviously, before putting it in anything I was going to bake, I tasted the pumpkin puree on its own and out of the can. Errrrrr can’t say I thoroughly enjoyed it, it tasted of something somewhere between baby food and overcooked mash. I know you are not supposed to eat it out of the can; and once baked I did enjoy it, but I thought you should know my feelings about it 🙂

Ingredients

  • 320 grams of plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon powder
  • 225g of unsalted butter, melted
  • 220g of dark brown sugar
  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 can of pumpkin puree (Table for Two says not to use pumpkin pie filling, but in the UK I could only find a single sort of pumpkin puree anyway – Libby’s – so decided to worry about the subtlety)
  • 100 grams of fudge chunks
  • 100 grams of white chocolate, roughly cut into chunks
  • 100 grams of unsalted toasted peanuts, chopped roughly

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Preparation

Preheat oven to gaz 4 (around 175c) and line a baking tray with baking paper.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon powder and salt. You can sift it if you’re a sifter (I’m not!).

In a separate bowl, combine the butter (cooled down to room temperature) and both types of sugar and whisk until smooth. Add the egg, vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. Stir until well combined.

Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated and your mix is thick and smooth.

Finally, fold in the fudge and white chocolate chunks and the chopped peanuts.

Pour the preparation into your lined baking tray and bake for 55-60 minutes (the original recipe said 40-45 minutes, but I had to put it back for an extra 15 minutes). It is actually a bit difficult to check the cooking of this brownie with a skewer as the fudge chunks and chocolate chips make it look wet. Trust your guts and remember it is better to take it out too early and put it back in for a while; rather than risk overcooking it!

When you take it out of the oven, leave to cool fully in the baking tray (as it will be soft before that and you’d risk breaking it if you handling it too much).

Pumpkinblondies3

 

Once cooled down completely, cut it into (generously big) square; pour yourself a cuppa coffee and eat as many as you can before the rest of your household’s inhabitants storm into the kitchen.

 

 

Pumpkinblondies4

Sarah’s white chocolate mousse cake

I love summer. I know, that’s all I’ve said for the past weeks, but I really do. It’s rocked my world for about a month now, and I don’t want it to end. Ever.

I love summer for a whole lot of good reasons – many of which are related to food one way or another. But I have found an issue with it: it is so hot in our house that I cannot bring myself to bake or cook anything that requires standing by the oven for too long. So last weekend, when my friend Sarah offered to bake a cake as dessert of our BBW, you better believe I did not refuse! And how clever of me: she made the most amazing white chocolate mousse cake.

It is a layered cake composed of 2 layers of (incredibly light and bouncy) sponge, with a layer of white chocolate mousse in the middle, and a delicious frosting of white chocolate mousse topped with fresh raspberries and strawberries. I might just have to steal her recipe and try make it myself as soon as the weather allows…

Sarah's white chocolate mousse cake

Sarah’s white chocolate mousse cake

White chocolate mousse cake, topped with fresh summer fruit

White chocolate mousse cake, topped with fresh summer fruit

 

Edit: If you want to make this cake, turns out the recipe comes from the book ‘Gorgeous cakes’ by Annie Bell. 

Annie Bell  "Gorgeous cakes"

Annie Bell
“Gorgeous cakes”