Saturday, October 16, 2010

Eat: Pumpkin-Chocolate-Chip Squares

After Little E was born I took a super-sized maternity leave --almost 18 months.  During that time I did freelance work for a textbook publisher, vacuumed every other day, scrubbed the bathroom twice a week, baked frequently (and always from scratch), planned and executed nutritious weekly menus, created hand-sewn Halloween costumes, read novel after novel and explored every park in a 20-mile radius with Big E at my side and Little E tucked into the Baby Bjorn. 

I felt as if my life were actually capacious enough to contain not just what I absolutely needed to do, but what I wanted to do, as well.  My kids were happy. my toilet was clean and I was earning a paycheck to boot.

I first made these Pumpkin-Chocolate-Chip Squares from Martha Stewart during that time and consider them emblematic of my days as calm, competent, multi-tasking mommy.  Big E and I would whip up a batch while Little E napped and then I'd season the rest of the pumpkin puree with ground ginger and have gourmet baby food on standby.  Everything was under control in a way that it has not been since I returned to work.


Makes 24
  • 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


  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.

Calm and competence may elude me, but at least I have the Pumpkin-Chocolate-Chip Squares.

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