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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares: Chow Bella Pumpkin Showdown

From time to time, Chow Bella's contributors challenge one another to a showdown: Make the best dish you can, using one common ingredient. This time (naturally), it was pumpkin. For the next few weeks, we'll be sharing the results, and at the end, we'll let you know who won.

Today: Lauren Saria stops talking to chefs long enough to get her Martha on.

See also: How to Puree a Pumpkin

As much as I love food and want to be a great home cook, I lack the patience needed to actually become one. Or maybe I don't actually want it that badly, but I'll leave that for you to decide. The point is that while I strongly encouraged a Chow Bella Showdown for this Halloween season, my ability to execute something interesting or creative, well, it was lacking.

So what's a wannabe culinary queen to do? Turn to none other than one of her domestic idols: Martha Stewart. Say what you want about her, but the woman has built an empire that I admire. I did my research for this battle by perusing my ever-growing collection of hand-me-down Martha Stewart magazines (a benevolent magazine fairy leaves them on my desk sometimes) before settling on one that met three important criteria: 1) Didn't require cooking an actual pumpkin; 2) Used mainly ingredients I already had at home; and 3) Didn't look too hard.

And so, I give you the recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip squares.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside. 2. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. 3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan. 4. Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares.

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Original recipe from Martha Stewart Living Special Issues, 2006. Also available online.

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