That isn't to say that I don't use recipes out of cookbooks--I do. I just don't like having the book in my kitchen, inviting splatters. Well--that's a lie as well. I think splatters on a cookbook makes a cook look accomplished. My Joy of Cooking has bits of cookie dough on it from over a decade ago, and every time I look at it I get a sense of just how far I have come. What I dislike is the organization. Recipes tend to list ingredients, and then explain how to use them, which is fine when you are trying to imagine the dish, but not so handy when you are trying to cook it.
What I do, whenever I am working on something that I don't have memorized, is cook from a flow chart. That way, if I forget an ingredient or a step and I'm in a hurry I don't have to dig through a bunch of filler text to find out exactly what needs to happen next. I group ingredients and steps together on lined paper, then toss it all away when I am done cooking.
|This helps keep me on track.|
After spraying a 9x13 pan with cooking spray, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
As is typical with a lot of baking, I assembled my wet ingredients in one bowl, and the dry ones in another. For the wet, use a can of pumpkin (the big one, 15.5 oz.,) 4 eggs, 1 C. vegetable oil, 2 t. vanilla, and 1 1/2 cups each of brown and granulated sugar, then stir it up until it begins to look like pumpkin pie filling.
In a second bowl, mix 3 1/2 cups of flour, 1 1/2 t. salt, 1 t. ea. cinnamon and nutmeg, 1/2 t. clove, and 1/4 t. of ginger. When it came to the spices, I made sure each spoon was heaping. I wanted to make sure these guys had a lot of flavor, since I'd be eating them for an entire week. You can keep a lighter touch if you prefer, but even with the added bump, I didn't think mine came out overly spiced.
Once I had my dry and wet ingredients assembled, it was time to combine them. I did this by pouring the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture a cup at a time, whisking to completely break up the flour and ensure that the spices would be evenly distributed throughout the batter. Now, this recipe isn't very different from your standard pumpkin bread recipe, but a key element here is a lack of leavener. I made a point to omit baking soda/powder from my pumpkin blondies because I wanted them to be as dense as possible.