I smelled it.
The minute I woke up this morning to a dreary half-lit bedroom.
The minute I attempted to open my tired eyes.
I smelled it.
I don't know about you, but there's one thing that sets off every nerve in my body to scream: WINTER, WINTER, WINTER, CHRISTMAS, PRESENTS, THANKSGIVING, TURKEY, EGG NOG, WINTER, COOKIES, WINTER, WINTER.
And that's the smell of it.
Winter has a particular smell. It is crisp, clean, cool, and every time it rolls around all I feel like doing is getting a huge, fluffy blanket, rolling inside of it and eating fruitloops while watching saturday morning cartoons in my PJ's before running outside and swinging on our swingset for five hours.
And if we still had a swingset around, and fruitloops, I'd probably be doing that instead of writing this post. Sans the saturday morning cartoons. That would probably be replaced with 3 hours of Good Eats (which, by the way, anyone else notice that Alton looks kind of like a zombie now-a-days? I hope he's feeling alright).
Now, for the past few hours i've been awake (tightly snugged inside a warm jacket), I am having rushes of nostalgia and craving gingerbread men.
Does anyone else get these?
Am I the only one?
I know it won't last long. This is the south, afterall. The sun will warm us over nice and soon, I'm sure. But for today and tomorrow, things will be much cooler around here, and I have a feeling that my urge to bake every single warm, fuzzy, homey dessert I can think of will surface violently and I will find myself passed out at 3A.M. in my kitchen covered in flour and pumpkin pie spice.
They should really have a name for a condition like this.
Like P.I.S, Pumpkin Insanity Syndrome.
Or P.G.M.O.O.T.K.B.I.B.F.T.C.S (Please Get Me Out Of This Kitchen Before I Bake Five Thousand Cookies Syndrome).
I don't know. I'm out of it and I need an afternoon nap and some hot chai tea. This is what winter does to me. It makes me babble. And ramble. And talk insanity.
But if there is one thing you can get out of this whole post, it's this: Pumpkin Blondies.
They are pumpkiny.
They are octobery.
They are butterscotchy.
They are cakey.
And they are best eaten out of the refrigerator after a day of being made.
If you can wait that long. If you're me, and have no patience, you probably can't. But try anyways.
Definitely make these sometimes. I should've baked mine longer so they came out a little... eh, fudgy, for blondies, but they are stilll very good. Don't hesitate to leave them in the oven for a little longer if you're not sure if they are done or not. AND PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE add the butterscotch morsels. You have to. You do. Don't argue. Just do it. It's worth the store trip. I swear.
Now please excuse me while I go look through five hundred christmas cookies recipes.
(Adapted from Annie Eats who adapted it from Martha Stewart)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 large egg
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup chopped, toasted nuts (optional)
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with foil.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Stir together and set aside.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, sugar and applesauce on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the pumpkin puree.
With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.
Fold in the white chocolate and butterscotch chips (and nuts/oats, if using) with a rubber spatula.
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.
To serve, lift the cake from the pan using the foil and transfer to a cutting board. Peel off the foil and using a sharp knife, cut into 24 squares.