(My last repost, from exactly a year and a day ago.)
Are you ready for these? Because they are good. They are pumpkin plus chocolate plus cream cheese good.
It all started like this: as I began my pumpkin recipe quest, I started with one of my favorite food blogs, er - one of everyone's favorite food blogs - Smitten Kitchen. It didn't let me down. Deb, its hostess-with-the-mostest, had a Martha Stewart Living recipe for Pumpkin Swirl Brownies. They looked delicious. A big change from my previous ideas of what a pumpkiny dessert should be -- i.e. Beth's frosted pumpkin cookies and Alta Cafe's pumpkin bar back in the no-nuts-or-raisins days -- but still yummy-sounding. Deb stated the following in her blog, however: "[E]very time I try a bite of one, I find myself wishing they were either all pumpkin bars or all brownies. Oh, and I'd like either version to have a cream cheese swirl." Did this deter me from trying the recipe? Heck no at all. But it certainly inspired me to add a cream cheese swirl. So... marrying and adapting Deb's recipe + this recipe from David Lebovitz, I did just that. And then I ate almost the whole pan.
I know Thanksgiving is over and now we are shifting from pumpkin to peppermint... but maybe you can bookmark this page and make these next fall. Or maybe you can somehow add peppermint.
Here's me grating nutmeg with care:
Oh my heavens what a flattering photo!
(12/1/10 comment: I have a lot less hair and a lot more belly presently.)
Here's the recipe:
Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies
Adapted (and quite improved!) from Smitten Kitchen
Yield: one 13X9" pan - about 20 good-sized brownies, more if you're a dainty eater
1 stick unsalted butter (8 ounces)
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips*
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional, but nice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin or canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
8 ounces cream cheese (I only had 6 oz and it worked fine)
1 egg yolk
5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
*I used a cayenne-orange spiced chocolate bar and it was perfect. But I'm sure chocolate chips would be good too in the event that you don't happen to have a cayenne-orange spiced chocolate bar lying around.
[NOTE: Because I was adding the cream cheese swirl and because the Smitten Kitchen notes said that even without the cream cheese swirl these brownies were really huge in an 8X8" pan, I used an 11X7" pan. Next time I will use 13X9" pan because they were still huge.]
1. Line a 13X9" pan with criss-crossed sheets of foil and butter the foil well. (Don't spray. BUTTER. It tastes so much better.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Melt bittersweet chocolate and stick of butter in double boiler over simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.
3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in large bowl and set aside. In separate bowl (your KitchenAid Mixer bowl if you have one), beat together brown sugar and eggs (adding one at a time) until fluffy. Add 1 T vanilla. Slowly beat in flour mixture.
4. Scoop two cups of this batter into a separate bowl and stir in chocolate-butter mixture. Once well-combined, add semisweet chocolate chunks or chips. Pour chocolate batter into pan.
5. Stir pumpkin, olive oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg into remaining batter. Once combined, pour on top of chocolate batter. Using the wide edge of a butter knife, swirl the batters together.
6. With hand-mixer, beat cream cheese, egg yolk, regular sugar and 1 t vanilla until well-combined. (Maybe your baby is sleeping at this point, and her bedroom is right next to the kitchen. Maybe you will learn that hand-mixers work just as well in the bathroom as they do in the kitchen. So do blenders, for that matter.) Spoon the cream cheese mixture on top of pumpkin batter in eight dollops. Using knife, swirl in same manner as above.
7. Bake 40-45 minutes (or a little less if you are like us and you like your brownies gooey).
8. Smile at your baby. Or my baby.*
(Goodness gracious, she's so much bigger than that now!)
10. Share with your friends.
11. Tell your friends that your friend Edith-Nicole w/ a Child gave you this genius of a recipe.
*My baby looks a little more like this lately.