I had some pumpkin puree in the freezer after roasting a little, pie pumpkin a few weeks ago. I set the puree in a strainer over a bowl and placed it in the refrigerator overnight. Some liquid drained from the puree to make it denser. To start the brownies, softened cream cheese was mixed with sugar, and I used coconut palm sugar. The pumpkin puree, an egg yolk, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger were added and mixed into the cream cheese. This was left in the refrigerator while the chocolate part was made. Flour, cocoa, and salt were whisked together and set aside. Dark chocolate and butter were melted together in a double-boiler, and then coconut palm sugar and brown sugar were added and the mixture was taken off the heat. Once it had cooled to room temperature, eggs were added followed by vanilla. The flour mixture was gently folded into the chocolate. A nine-by-thirteen baking pan was used, and two-thirds of the chocolate batter went into the pan first. Next, the pumpkin cheesecake mixture was smoothed over the top. The remaining chocolate batter was spooned over the cheesecake. A table knife was used to swirl through the layers, and the brownies baked for about 35 minutes.
These bake into nice, not-too-thick brownies which means you should cut nice, big squares from the pan. And, they were so easy to cut, it was amazing. The cheesecake with pumpkin and spices meandering through the chocolaty brownie was lovely. After Halloween, I need to decide what to bake for Election Day.
Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Chocolate Brownies
Recipe reprinted with publisher’s permission from Baked Occasions.
There are not , to the best of our knowledge, strictly regimented and traditional menus for Columbus Day. It is not Thanksgiving. Though one could skew toward Italian delicacies in a nod to Christopher’s heritage, one could also skew iconic American (hamburgers, fried chicken, apple pie) in homage to Columbus arriving in the Americas. We chose an entirely different route. We went with pumpkin cheesecake brownies, because Christopher Columbus Day is in October (to celebrate the anniversary of his arrival in America in 1492), and as bakery owners, the only thing we associate with October is pumpkin. Here is the thing about these brownies: We like them too much. We don’t mention this to be glib; we say this because they are a problem. It is the rare dessert that disrupts and overturns our years of honed self-control. Give us one bite of pumpkin cheesecake chocolate brownie, and we will eat the whole tray. At first glance, that shouldn’t happen: We like pumpkin, and we like chocolate (that is obvious), but not always together. However, the tang of the cream cheese brings everything into alignment. The brownies are super moist, the kind of moist that will leave your fingers tacky with chocolate. They are pumpkiny and fudgy in all the right ways. It’s a great dessert to welcome fall and celebrate Christopher.
Baked note: Be sure to make the recipe in the order specified. The pumpkin cheesecake swirl should be made first, as the brownie batter will stiffen if it sits too long, and it will be difficult to pull a swirl through. It is not the easiest batter to swirl, but a few hefty repetitions of pulling the knife through the batter will do it. Also, try these cold: This is the rare brownie that we like directly from the refrigerator.
For the Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl
1 (8-ounce/226-g) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (75 g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (170 g) solid pack pumpkin or pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
For the Brownie Layer
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (105 g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces (225 g) dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
6 ounces (1. sticks/170 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes, plus more for the pan
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (85 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Yield: 24 brownies
Make the Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl
In a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy (it should almost look like frosting). Add the pumpkin, egg yolk, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger and whisk again until well blended. Cover and refrigerate while you make the brownie layer.
Make the Brownie Layer
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and position a rack in the center. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper with a 1-inch (2.5-cm) overhang on the long sides of the pan, and butter the parchment.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt.
Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water (double-boiler method, see page 19), stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted, smooth, and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add both sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be at room temperature. Add 2 eggs to the chocolate mixture and gently whisk until just combined. Add the remaining egg and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and whisk until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula, fold them gently together until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
Pour two-thirds of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Pour the pumpkin cheesecake mixture over the brownies and smooth into an even layer with the back of an offset spatula.
Drop the remaining one-third of the brownie batter by heaping tablespoons here and there over the pumpkin layer. Use a knife to gently pull through the batters to create a swirl. (The brownie batter is thick, so you might need to pull several times before you start to create the swirl.)
Bake, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it, 30 to 40 minutes. Let the brownies cool almost completely.
You can eat the brownies slightly warm or at room temperature, when they have a more pumpkin-y flavor. Or cover and refrigerate them for about 3 hours and enjoy them slightly chilled (this is our favorite). Either way, when you’re ready, release the brownies from the side of the pan with a small paring knife. Pull straight up on the parchment to remove them from the pan, place them on a cutting board, cut, and serve. The brownies will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
I am a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program.