a hand places an orange pumpkin blondie bar on a stack of blondies

Trade Your Pumpkin Pie Out for These Pumpkin Blondies

Ditch the knife and fork, keep the flavor and fun

Holiday party hosts: This one's for you. ICE Chef Jürgen David creates a festive pumpkin dessert to satisfy even the most vehement pumpkin pie critics.

Pumpkin pie has always been a divisive dessert. For some, it’s the best part of Thanksgiving, and the fall season in general, for others it’s the dreaded ‘must do’ dessert on the table, often accompanied by cries of “I just don’t like the texture.”

For this year’s holiday season, Chef Jürgen David, Director of Pastry Research and Development for ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program, fuses the oft-dreaded pumpkin pie with traditional blondies.

“The addition of the pumpkin seeds in the cookie crust adds flavor, texture and color for an elevated experience for those that are not a fan of a regular pumpkin pie,” Chef Jürgen says.

His pumpkin blondies offer the perfect alternative for pumpkin pie naysayers and holiday party hosts willing to think outside of the box. These decadent squares are practically handheld slices of pumpkin pie.

More Fall Recipes: Chef Joshua's Pumpkin & Apple Butter >

Should you want to try your hand at making these this Thanksgiving, Chef Jürgen offers the following tips:

  • Shape the cookie crust into a rough circle before chilling it, as it will be easier to roll out, especially between two pieces of parchment paper.
  • Don’t have a rolling pin? That bottle of wine you’re about to serve with dinner works great as an in-a-pinch substitute to roll out your crust.
  • Looking to go beyond the traditional spices? Add a little cayenne pepper or extra ginger to give it a zing.
  • Make these in advance! They freeze really well, just double-wrap them with plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn.
  • Feeling extra fancy? Serve them with your favorite vanilla ice cream and some whipped cream and dig in!


Pumpkin Blondies


For the Pumpkin Seed Pâte Sucrée:

  • 85 grams granulated sugar
  • 100 grams pumpkin seeds
  • 175 grams cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 100 grams whole eggs
  • 350 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Condensed Milk Swirl:

  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

For the Filling:

  • 350 grams all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 460 grams butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 680 grams light brown sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces, or 425 grams) pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 170 grams whole eggs
  • 6 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar


For the Pumpkin Pâte Sucrée:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F. 
  2. Place sugar and pumpkin seeds into a food processor. Pulse until seeds are granular. 
  3. Add in cubed butter and pulse until shaggy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, pulsing 2 to 3 times after each addition.
  5. Add flour and salt and pulse until dough forms a ball.
  6. Immediately roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper to 20x15 inches. 
  7. Line a 1/2-sheet pan with the dough, chill, dock, trim and blind bake (without pie weights) for about 12 minutes until dough is set and lightly starting to brown. 
  8. Let the crust cool completely. 

For the Condensed Milk Swirl:

  1. Combine sweetened, condensed milk with spices and mix until smooth. 
  2. Pour into a piping bag and set aside. 

For the Filling: 

  1. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside. 
  2. Combine melted butter and light brown sugar until there are no lumps. 
  3. In another bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs, spices, vanilla and vinegar. Stir until smooth.  
  4. Add sugar mixture, then add the flour in several stages. Mix until there are no lumps. 

For Assembly and Baking:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Pour pumpkin mix into the cooled crust, smoothing it out. 
  3. Pipe milk swirl on top and use the tip of a paring knife to create a design.  
  4. Bake until mixture is set and feels firm to the touch, about 25 minutes. 
  5. Let cool completely at room temperature, then cover and refrigerate to set firm for easy portioning. 
  6. Cut into 2x2 inch squares and serve. 

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