Gooey Pumpkin Blondies with Caramel

Winter quarter began today, and it was a typical stormy day in Bellingham. It was so windy, I actually blew to the side a few times walking to class. I found refuge in Western’s bookstore where I tromped up and down the rows of overpriced textbooks in my hot pink rainboots. I made it to the journalism section, and I noticed that everyone pursuing that aisle happened to be wearing dark colors–I am known for my dark wardrobe. Then I found my way to the Fairhaven section. Fairhaven is an interdisciplinary college within Western that has a reputation of being hippy. So hippy, in fact, that one guy who was in this aisle wasn’t wearing shoes.

I picked out my textbooks and then proceeded to wait in the very long checkout line that wrapped around the store. I think they do this to try to get us vulnerable and hungry students to buy candy. As I was passing the Kit Kat bars and variety of lollipops, I felt someone touching the back of my head. I turned around and there was indeed a guy touching my hair. He claimed to be fixing it. Did I really look that bad?  Regardless, it made for an interesting afternoon.

These brownies are so delicious. They have a gushy caramel center and are perfect with ice cream or whipped cream. The crunch of the walnuts and the hint of chocolate works well in the fluffy pumpkin blondies. My picture doesn’t do them justice, because I was fighting the lack of natural light…but I can assure you that they are worth making.

Makes 16 servings/tastykitchen.com 

For the blondies

  • 3/4 cups of butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 14 ounces caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9 by 13 inch pan.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Stir in eggs, vanilla and pumpkin until combined.  Slowly incorporate the rest of the blondies ingredients.  Spread about 2/3 of the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Sprinkle the nuts and chocolate chips on top of the first layer of batter.  Melt the caramels and cream together either in a bowl in the microwave or on a very low temperature over the stove.  Be sure to stir every 10-20 seconds both on the stove or in the microwave until smooth.  Pour the melted caramel over the chocolate and nuts .  Spread the remaining batter as best as you can over the caramel.  I found this to be difficult so just do your best.  Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick can come out clean.  There might be caramel on the toothpick, but make sure the batter is not on it.

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