Monday, October 1, 2012

Pumpkin Blondies and a Special Give-Away

When I was in the fabric/quilt store a few weeks ago to look for the perfect fabric for October's Give-Away, it became abundantly clear that Kelly was going to have a say in this!  Rest assure I'm not least not certifiable (LOL), but as I kept picking up bolts to decide, this fabric just kept screaming at me--"This one, Mom, this one!"

I should have prefaced this by saying that Kelly loved sunflowers and for awhile, collected prints for her walls, included one by Van Gogh, and had me sew a dress with sunflower fabric for an awards banquet she was attending.  I still have the dress and maybe one day I will remake it into something for Ari to cherish of his mama.  Also, I must tell you that when Kelly was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was bombarded with all sorts of lovely "pink" gifts, but told me one day, "Mom, I hate pink--I'd much prefer the color to be orange!"  You can probably guess that's why she loved anything pumpkin as well:-D
So, here is this month's Give-Away Apron--full of bold "artistic" sunflowers in yellows and orange on a black background, another favorite of Kelly's--in fact, her whole wardrobe was black for the most part.  One day, I saw her in a grey sweater and chided her for wearing something other than black and with her quick wit she responded, "haven't you heard, grey is the NEW black!"

Pumpkin Blondies
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree'
3 large eggs
1 T Pumpkin Pie Spice
4 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1 3/4 cup pistachios, chopped
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Brush a 12" x 17" baking pan with melted butter, line with parchment paper, then brush the melted butter again.

In a stand mixer, using a paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar with the melted butter until thoroughly mixed.  Add the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and beat on medium to combine.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the dry ingredients, 3/4 cup of the chopped pistachio and 1/2 cup of the bittersweet chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Spoon batter into the prepared pan and spread out evenly.  Sprinkle the additional 1 cups of pistachios and 1 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips on top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then, lower the temperature to 325F-degrees and continue baking for 16 to 18 minutes until golden brown and set on top.
I cut the pan into 24 bars ( 4 x 6)--I like to serve a good-size bar!

This is going to be a special month of giving--exemplifying Kelly's generous nature, so keep stopping by for little surprises that I will be giving away. Enjoy!



  1. Thank you for the fall inspiration on your blog today:-D

  2. yumIE! i love the apron susan, and these stories about kelly. i believe she did lead you to this print! it's funny, my mother loved me in oranges, yellows, autumny colors. i liked blue. since losing my mum i love oranges and yellows and it feels like i always have!

  3. Susan, I am sending you a big hug. The apron is gorgeous, I can totally understand why Kelly did love sunflowers. They are very special. We had a huge wild growing one in our driveway this year. I admired it every day. I also used to have a wardrobe of black clothing. That changed a bit over the years, but it is still one of my preferred colors.
    Great blondies recipe. I especially like the addition of the pistachios.

  4. Your recollections of Kelly are wonderful; I'm sure Ari will one day love having all the stories that you are writing down.

  5. Susan your fabric choices are just beautiful and straight from the heart. I believe I am nudged by my loved ones to make decisions frequently. Thank you for sharing your heart with us on your blog. These bars look wonderful and will find their way into my kitchen soon! xoxo ♥
    Martha Ellen

  6. I'm glad you listened to your daughter..she chose her own fabric for her birthday and you honoured her.
    Jane xxxxxx

  7. Kelly and I sure did like similar things. Pumpkin, sunflowers, black clothes... All some of my favorite things!!

    Thinking of you. xox

  8. Great memories of Kelly! And, she and I are born under the sign. :) I'd like to try these blondies, my friend. I've only had the pumpkin/chocolate combo once before...It was interesting and a great change from the ~usual~ banana/chocolate combo. :) Lv, me

  9. That's a perfect pick for autumn giveaway.
    These blondies look rich and irresistible!

  10. Heaven, we're in heaven! OMG - the fabric for the apron - Mom is going to have to make one of these herself. WE ARE IN LOVE!

  11. I was thinking about "Blondies" just yesterday and was thinking about baking your recipe which is a favorite of mine. And then these very yummy Pumpkin Blondies appeared!! They look wonderful!
    Kelly would love them and the Sunflower apron---both a beautiful tribute for her birthday. Love you, Barb

  12. Remember our lost ones is a good thing. October is a special month for me also because it when our son was born. Ari is lucky to have you to remember his mom.
    Pumpkin blondies sound very good.
    stamping sue

  13. Smart girl, that Kelly. Still sending you messages! Sunflowers are so beautiful.

  14. The bond of love is very powerful.
    Beautiful apron and very tempting recipe, a lovely way to honour Kelly.x

  15. Hi Susan, Your blog makes me very hungry. I'm so glad to have found you and your recipes and can't wait to try some of them. I hope you will visit my blog post today and see the Award that I have given you.

  16. Mmmmm, those look real good, Susan. Delish. Thanks so much for your visits and comments to my blog, too. Susan

  17. I just found your blog through Thelma at Cupcakes and Daisies. So glad she sent me your way! My daughter Amber passed away in 2009 at the age of 29 ... a few weeks shy of her 30th birthday. We miss her so much! Amber loved sunflowers! I have them on her gravesite engraved with angels holding them. In the vase there is a sunflower arrangement. I have sunflowers everywhere! I even grow them! I am working on a sunroom filled with sunflower decor. Everyone who reads my blog knows about Amber and sunflowers along with her favorite color purple.
    Now I am about to read more of your blog! The Blondies sound so yummy!

  18. What a pretty apron! You do this once a month? Wow. I'm impressed.

  19. I can't seem to get enough pumpkin goodies. These look fantastic! And the apron is beautiful, as always. Have a fantastic weekend. :)

  20. I love that you give away aprons! I started collecting them a month or two ago - yep, right about the time I settled on this Homemaking for a Year project.

    Thank you for writing about Kelly. I share her distaste for pink and also for the forced cheerfulness that seems to accompany it - not so much from people with cancer or their families but from people who haven't been down that road. xxoo

  21. Oh, how funny! I was thinking about you by name, and it wasn't until after I posted my comment that I noticed the title of your blog. My mother's apron strings, indeed. Gonna see if I can put your blog on my apron Board on Pinterest.

  22. Love the sunflower apron! The Pumpkin Blondies sound wonderful!

  23. What a beautiful apron and one that will be special! The recipe looks pretty awesome, too! Hugs!

  24. I've been at my Mother's all this month and just now trying to catch up on some blog friends and Sisters! Sorry to have missed this post before. I am sad to learn about the loss of your daughter but also so happy to hear the loving way you speak of her. What an honor to wear this apron someone will have. Hugs, Linda