Roast Pumpkin and Brown Sugar Blondies

If you are unsure what a blondie is, you are definitely not alone. I showed these to my Dad and got “what on earth is that?!” For those of you wondering, blondies are fairly self explanatory. A blondie is a brownie, made with white chocolate instead of milk or dark. Genius, hey? I think so, because I can assure you these delicious slices definitely taste a lotttttt better than they look.

000_0010

There are lots of great flavours you could put in a blondie. I decided to branch a little out of the ordinary, and I’m pretty happy that I did. I think pumpkin in desserts is great when done well – the humble pumpkin pie is an all time American classic. With a hint of cinnamon, salt and olive oil, the pumpkin in these blondies was quite the delicious bite. It was really subtle, but you could definitely taste it. If I were making it only for myself and other pumpkin lovers, I would have gladly put in a bit hell of a lot more.
000_0006
Pumpkin Mash:
  • 3/4 cup diced pumpkin (if you really love pumpkin you could definitely use more)
  • Olive oil, to drizzle on top
  • Cinnamon, to sprinkle
  • Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 190c (180c fan forced). Prepare oven tray with baking paper. Spread pumpkin out on baking paper, drizzle generously with olive oil and mix with hands to coat. Sprinkle with a tiny bit of pepper, salt and a generous amount of cinnamon. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven and let cool slightly for 5 minutes. Place pumpkin pieces in mortar and mash with pestle until it reaches a mash-y consistency, but still a little bit chunky. Set aside.
Pumpkin
Roast Pumpkin and Brown Sugar Blondies: (adapted from Katy’s Lazy Blondies on Nigella Lawson’s forum)
  • 100g white chocolate, chopped
  • 100g butter
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 110g plain flour
  • 100g additional white chocolate chips
  •  roast pumpkin mash

Blondies

Prepare a slice tin (approx. 20cm long) by spraying with olive oil spray or butter and lining with non-stick baking paper. In a microwavable bowl, heat 100g chocolate and butter until melted. For me, this took about a minute and I still had a few lumps, and being a bit silly I heated it for an extra 10 seconds and it curdled a little, but it didn’t make a difference at all to the final product 🙂 Set aside. In a separate large bowl, beat brown sugar and eggs until well combined. Slowly add the chocolate and butter mixture. Stir in the flour gently until fully incorporated. Mix in the additional chocolate chips and the pumpkin mash, and ensure they are evenly distributed. Pour mixture into prepared tin, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. If you like your brownies/blondies gooey, you can probably take them out a little earlier. Just keep testing with a skewer until you are happy 🙂 Set tin aside to cool, then slice into 15 pieces. Store and serve at room temperature, but they are also delicious warmed up!
000_0009
If you have never tried, or have never heard of blondies, I stongly urge that you familiarise yourself 🙂 You won’t regret it!
Advertisements

Spiderweb Macarons with Pumpkin Buttercream

As usual, I am behind with these babies, so Happy belated Halloween to you all! I can’t say I’ve ever really gone all out to celebrate Halloween, as it’s not huge here in Australia, but I’ll take any excuse to bake and make something a little left of centre 🙂 For so long, I have wanted to try making something sweet with pumpkin, so I thought Halloween would be the perfect occasion, coupled with some spooky spiderwebs!

These were originally meant to be Pumpkin Pie Macarons, and I was going to make the filling of the pie for the centre, and place a layer of shortcrust pastry in the middle. Although, surprise, surprise, I struggled with time, and I had trouble finding a recipe with no egg (as I wouldn’t cook the centre), that wouldn’t be too runny. So, I decided on a buttercream. I really like this buttercream, as the pumpkin is really subtle, and you get a hint of cinnamon too.

Macarons:

This recipe is Adriano Zumbo’s, and was published a couple of years ago in the Herald Sun. You will definitely need kitchen scales to make macarons.

  • 135g almond meal
  • 135g icing sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 45g egg whites
  • 50g egg whites
  • 40g water
  • ¼ tsp Wilton’s colouring gel, orange

Preheat oven to 170c (160c fan forced). Spray four oven trays with cooking oil spray baround the edges, and line with baking paper and set aside. Place almond meal and icing sugar in a large bowl, and sift together 3 times. Set aside, along with the 45g egg whites. Put 50g egg whites in a separate bowl. Heat caster sugar and water in a small saucepan, over a low-medium heat, until the sugar completely dissolves (if it slightly burns my tongue, it’s done!). If you do not want to burn your tongue, Zumbo suggests investing in a candy thermometer and heating the syrup until it reaches 118 degrees C (244 degrees F). If the syrup becomes thick and powdery in appearance, you will need to start again. This is because the sugar has been heated too much, too quickly, and instead of dissolving, it has cooked.

Begin beating the 50g egg whites with one hand, and with the other, stream the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl to create an italian meringue. Beat until stiff peaks form, the meringue should be thick and very glossy. If you want to add flavouring/colouring, now’s your moment. So add the colouring now. Just lightly beat them into the meringue. Pour meringue into the almond meal, icing sugar and 45g egg whites mixture and mix roughly to combine. When combined, fold mixture together (one single stroke) until there are no air bubbles left. Make a spread across the top of the mixture, and it should disappear in about 20 seconds. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. (If you don’t have a piping bag set, most supermarkets sell plastic ones, they are Multix brand, in an orange box and contain 5 piping bags with a few different nozzles, plus they’re only about $3. You should be able to find them in the baking aisle). Lock the bag by spinning the top around 4 times. Pipe 3-4cm rounds on the oven trays prepared earlier. Tap the bottom of the trays on the kitchen bench and let them sit for about half an hour, or until mixture is dry to the touch.

Place in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Turn tray around in the oven and bake for another 7 minutes. To test, pull a macaron off the baking paper. If it is stuck, keep cooking and checking regularly. Cool on trays for 5 minutes, then peel off and place on a wire rack. The mixture should make about 12 -15 large macarons, and about 25 smaller macarons. Macarons keep really well (about 5 days in the fridge) and some say that the longer they are refrigerated, the more the flavour is likely to develop. Macarons taste best when they are stored in the fridge, then brought down to room temperature to eat.

Pumpkin Buttercream:

  • 215g butter, chopped and softened
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups icing sugar mixture
  • 1 cup chopped pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Place chopped pumpkin in a small saucepan with 1/4 cup water. Cook over a medium heat until pumpkin is soft enough to mash with a fork. In the meantime, beat the butter until it is pale and creamy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the sugar to taste (I used about 1 1/2 cups, but taste as you go, depends on how sweet you like your buttercream). Add the salt and cinnamon. Gradually add the cooled, mashed pumpkin to the buttercream. My pumpkin was still a little lumpy, and I was going to put it through a sieve, but I thought tiny flecks of orange would look good through the buttercream.

Spiderweb Icing:

  • 4-5 tbs icing sugar mixture
  • 1/2 tsp Wilton’s colouring gel, black
  • Splash of water

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until a thick paste is formed, and icing is completely black. You may need to add a little more colouring.

Assembly:

Pair up likely macaron shells. To pipe the spiderwebs, place the black icing in a piping bag fitted with a very thin, round nozzle. I stupidly forgot to take photos as I was piping the spiderwebs :/ If you would like to know how, this video is a good tutorial. The way the video shows you is a little different to mine, but it will achieve a fairly similar result 🙂 The black icing dries very quickly. FYI – you could also use melted chocolate to make spiderwebs as well. To pipe the buttercream, fill a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. Pipe about 2/3 tsp of buttercream on each macaron shell, and sandwich with another.

Hope you all had a Happy horrifying, hair-raising Halloween! X