Pumpkin Blondies

Pumpkin it seems, is all the rage this fall.  So much so that I’m surprised Pinterest hasn’t added it as a category.  The funny thing is that I kind of think it’s actually the spice profile people love about pumpkin and not the actual gourd itself.  Of course, I’m basing this off of the fact that Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latter doesn’t actually have any pumpkin in it.  Or maybe it’s my well documented  “not love” for all things squash coloring my belief that anyone could love pumpkin as a food.

But what can I say, I’m a sell-out and felt obligated to include at least one pumpkin-based goodie in my baking line-up this fall.


This pumpkin blondie, while not exactly healthy, is a little less indulgent than, say, a regular blondie.  The pumpkin replaces about half of the butter and eggs without missing a beat.

And while these are just fine as is, I think this recipe begs for additions.  How about some roasted pepitas?  Extra white chocolate chunks…ooh…or maybe some butterscotch chips?  If nothing else, I recommend a dusting of powdered sugar before serving these very autumnal squares.

Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Blondies

this is a Misanthropic Hostess recipe


  • 1 scant TBS cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated if you can)
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 + 1/4 C all purpose flour
  • 1 C golden brown sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 C granulated sugar (depends on how sweet you want these)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 can (usually about 14 ounces) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 8 TBS (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 11 ounces white chocolate chips or chunks

Other things to add-in:

  • Roasted, salted pepitas
  • Spiced pecans
  • White chocolate chunks
  • Dried fruit (cherries would be the bomb)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 9X13 inch baking pan with parchment, butter pan and parchment.
  2. In a medium, heavy bottomed sauce pan melt butter over low heat.
  3. Once butter is melted, remove from heat, add white chocolate, swirl to cover and let sit for 3 minutes.  Whisk butter and chocolate together until smooth and allow to cool.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together first 6 ingredients.  Set aside.
  5. In a larger bowl, whisk together sugars and eggs until combined. Whisk-in vanilla.
  6. Whisk-in pumpkin.  Then whisk-in cooled buter and chocolate mixture.
  7. Switch to a spatula and gently fold-in flour mixture.
  8. Transfer batter to prepared pan and cook for 30-40 minutes (they were done at 34 minutes in my oven) until an inserted skewer comes up clean and sides start to pull away from pan.
  9. Allow to cool completely.  Cut into squares.


You know, like those old Yahoo commercials.

It also works if you try saying it in the same tone as Joey from Friends’ “How you doin’?”

And just like that, it’s time to start testing holiday recipes.

I’m planning a couple of new tricks this year in addition to some old favorites.  Dorie Greenspan’s speculoos buttons may  just make the cut.  This recipe graced the cover of Bon Appetit during the holiday season 2012.  However, it’s taken me nearly a year to get back to it.

But, a recent, coolish Southern California Sunday had me pulling out the recipe and checking my sanding sugar supplies.

The speculoos “buttons” are a variation on the thinner-crisper original speculoos cookies that appear in Dr. Greenspan’s Around My French Table.  While the thicker version feel more gingerbread than speculoos, the spice mixture is right on the mark in “holidayness.”  The original recipe includes a glaze but I’ve left it off here because I thought the color of the cookies was so pretty.

And, I don’t even know what to make of all that crazy business over the speculoos butter at Trader Joes.  So, I’m not even going to go there.

Speculoos Buttons

adapted ever so slightly from Dorie Greenspan’s recipe as appeared in Bon Appetit


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sanding or other decorative sugar


  1. Whisk first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat butter in a medium bowl until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add both sugars and molasses; continue to beat until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Beat in egg and vanilla; mix for 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add dry ingredients and mix to blend well.
  4. Scrape dough from bowl and divide in half. Using your palms, roll each piece of dough into an 8-inch log.
  5. Fill a shallow dish or 1/4 sheet baking pan with sanding sugar (1/2 C should do it for you).  One-at-a-time, place dough log into pan and roll back and forth until the log is covered in sugar.
  6. Wrap logs tightly in plastic or parchment paper and freeze for at least 3 hours.  Dough can be made up to 2 months ahead. Keep frozen.
  7. Arrange racks in top and bottom thirds of oven; preheat to 375°. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  8. Bake 2 sheets of cookies, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back after 6 minutes, until tops are golden brown and centers are almost firm, 11-13 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool. Repeat with third sheet of cookies

…but the kitchen sink

Where the hell have I been?


Let’s make some compost cookies!  I think any kid who has ever had an interest in baking has tried-out the garbage cookie “recipe.”  You know, throw everything that seems like it might taste good into a batch of basic dough.  Note–the picture below is right before I wrapped them to cool-down.  For baking they need a little more room.

Christina Tosi of Milk fame absolutely did this.  And then she grew up and made a living out of it.  I wish I’d thought of that!

I’ve listed the original recipe below.  But come on, this cookie recipe begs for improvisation.  In addition to the listed ingredients, I threw in some chocolate covered pomagranate seeds and chunks of chocolate-covered-peanut-butter-filled pretzels.

Oh, and I guess I should admit.  I just used store-bought graham crackers instead of making the crust.  I’m a slacker.

If you like this, you might also like these

Blueberry and Cream Cookies (a TMH favorite)

Confetti Cookies

Compost Cookies

Christina Tosi from Milk, 2011

You can also find some of the recipes from the book on the milk momofuko milk bar site.


  • 225 g (16 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
  • 200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 150 g (2?3 cup tightly packed) light brown sugar
  • 50 g (2 tbs) glucose
  • 1 egg
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 225 g (1 1?3 cups) flour
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) baking powder
  • 1.5 g (1/4 tsp) baking soda
  • 4 g (1 tsp) kosher salt
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) mini chocolate chips
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) mini butterscotch chips
  • 1/4 recipe (1/2 cup) graham crust (recipe below)
  • 40 g (1?3 cup) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 5 g (2 1/2 tsp) ground coffee
  • 50 g (2 cups) potato chips
  • 50 g (1 cup) mini pretzels


  1. Combine the butter, sugars, and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes.
  2. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. (do not walk away from the machine during this step, or you will risk over mixing the dough.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  3. Still on low speed, add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, graham crust (or graham cracker crumbs if you are lazy like me), oats, and coffee and mix just until incorporated, about 30 seconds. add the potato chips and pretzels and paddle, still on low speed, until just incorporated. be careful not to over mix or break too many of the pretzels or potato chips. you deserve a pat on the back if one of your cookies bakes off with a whole pretzel standing up in the center.
  4. Portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan (I used about 1 1/2 TBS per cookie, Christina Tosi is more of a go big or go home kind of girl and recommends using a 2 3/4 ounce scooper). Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature— they will not bake properly.
  5. Heat the oven to 375°f.
  6. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or silpat-lined sheet pans. bake for 18 minutes. the cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be very faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center. Give them an extra minute or so if that’s not the case.
  7. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or an airtight container for storage. at room temp, cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.

Graham Crust

makes about 2 cups


  • 190 g (1 1/2 cups) graham cracker crumbs
  • 20 g (1/4 cup) milk powder
  • 25 g (2 tbs) sugar
  • 3 g (3/4 tsp) kosher salt
  • 55 g (4 tbs) butter, melted, or as needed
  • 55 g (1/4 cup) heavy cream


  1. Toss the graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt with your hands in a medium bowl to evenly distribute your dry ingredients.
  2. Whisk the butter and heavy cream together. add to the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute. the butter will act as glue, adhering to the dry ingredients and turning the mixture into a bunch of small clusters. The mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly in the palm of your hand. if it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 14 to 25 g (1 to 1½ table- spoons) butter and mix it in.
  3. Eat immediately, or deploy as directed in a recipe. The crust is easiest to mold just after mixing. stored in an airtight container, graham crust will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or for 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

Hey you! Go read this now!



I have been waiting for this book for what feels like years.  And now it’s finally out! Finally!  I’d say more but that would take away from my reading time.  We’ll talk later.


“Honest, funny, and eloquent.” –Library Journal
“Mah’s prose brims with true love. A bighearted, multi-sensory tour of France.” — Kirkus
“A well-written entrée into French dining.” –The Daily Beast