October 30, 2010

Pecan-Crusted Pumpkin Squares

Halloween is upon us, so I thought a pumpkin recipe would be appropriate.  When I read the name of this recipe in the The Weekend Baker cookbook, I thought it was going to be a type of bar, but it is actually a quick bread.  It came together quickly and the wet and dry ingredients can be mixed up to one day in advance. 

I really liked having the pecans on the outside of the pumpkin squares, it was almost like a crust (thus the name "Pecan-Crusted").  :)  The squares were moist and delicious.  They definitely put the feeling of Fall and Halloween in the air. 

Happy Halloween!

Pecan-Crusted Pumpkin Squares

3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 1/2 cups all-purpose and 1/4 cake flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (I used 1/2 dark brown and 1/2 light brown)
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (not seasoned pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup canola or corn oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Position an oven rack on the middle rung.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Generously butter - be generous or the nuts won't stick - the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking dish.  Add the nuts and tilt the pan to coat the bottom and sides evenly.  Carefully spill out and save the excess nuts for the top.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cloves.  Whisk until well blended.  In a large bowl, combine the sugar, pumpkin, oil, eggs, and vanilla.  Whisk until smooth.  (You can prepare the dry ingredients and wet ingredients up to 1 day ahead.  Cover the dry ingredients and keep at room temperature, and cover the wet ingredients and keep in the fridge.)  Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and gently stir just until blended.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Scatter the reserved nuts evenly over the batter.  Bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, about 30 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for about 15 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into 2-inch squares.

Wrap the uncut, cooled square in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Makes 9 2-inch squares

Hat Tip - The Weekend Baker by Abigail Johnson Dodge

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