It’s been at least three years since we decorated for Halloween. Back-in-the-day we used to drive up to Los Olivos and go apple picking. We never failed to pick way more apples than two people and two dogs could consume. When it comes to wandering in a grove of apple trees, armed with huge picking bags, we’re helpless. All we could ever do was to fill our bags to the brim and then figure out what we were going to do with the apples later.
Pumpkins were always second on our harvest list during our day-long apple picking excursions. The back of the truck would be filled with every type of crinkled, wart-looking and funky colored heirloom pumpkins you can imagine. Again, our second weakness. Give us an empty truck bed and we’ll gladly fill it to the max with pumpkins.
Watch the video making the Pumpkin Swirl Brownies. So easy and beautiful.
So it’s been a while since we’ve harvested apples and pumpkins up in Los Olivos. We miss it and swore that this year, we’d get back to our October tradition. Though we still have two more weeks to fulfill this obligation, we’ve slightly accomplished a little bit of pumpkin decorating thanks to Trader Joe’s. They’ve got some seriously beautiful pumpkins, both traditional and heirloom, for about $6 a pumpkin. Not a bad price for a quick Fall decorating session for the front of the garage. We ended up buying 5 huge pumpkins and feel so great that we’ve actually accomplished a bit of Fall decor for the house.
In September we were on a brownie-making-kick. What started as a craving for brownies became an epic research and development week for homemade brownies. We were slightly obsessed with making a perfect batch of brownies that were both chewy AND fudgy, but with just enough variation for those to like their brownies more cake-y.
Geez, you should have seen our kitchen. After eating all we could, we still couldn’t give away all the brownies fast enough. What we ended up making on the last day was this delicious pumpkin swirl brownie for the blog. We’ve been slow in getting to our regular recipe blogging regime and wanted to be good bloggers and catch up to some seasonal sweets. What we ended up with were multiple batches of these awesome pumpkin swirl brownies that’s perfect for all the big and little kids in your family.
And guess what? These brownies aren’t just for Fall. You can easily whip up a batch without the pumpkin swirl and you’ll have a go-to brownie recipe for all occasions.
diane and todd
Fudgy-Chewy Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
Yield: 12-16 servings
Total Time: 1 hour
If the cream cheese isn't softened enough, either briefly microwave it to soften (removed from the foil) or make sure to beat it smooth before adding to the pumpkin puree or else it won't blend together smoothly. If it ends up being clumpy after adding to the pumpkin puree (happened to us once when I didn't let it soften enough), you can press the mixture through a fine mesh strainer before adding it to the brownie batter and it will bake fine.
For the Pumpkin Swirl:
- 4 ounces (115g) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup (115g) canned pumpkin puree
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tablespoons (25g) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the Brownies:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter
- 2 cups (12 ounces or 340g) semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
- 2 ounces (57g) unsweetened chocolate squares, chopped
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (55g) packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (94g) all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons (11g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8" x 8" pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease. Set aside.
- Make the Pumpkin Swirl mixture: Beat together*see headnote the pumpkin swirl ingredients until smooth (cream cheese, pumpkin puree, egg, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg). Set aside.
- Make the Brownie Batter: In saucepan, melt the butter, 1 cup of the semi-sweet chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on medium heat. Stir frequently so the chocolate and butter melt and combine evenly, about 5-7 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and pour the chocolate mixture into a large mixing bowl (use a rubber spatula to make sure you get all of the chocolate out of the saucepan). Allow the mixture to cool slightly, 5-10 minutes.
- Gently whisk in the granulated sugar and brown sugar into the chocolate mixture. Whisk in the vanilla, then the eggs, slowly one at a time, until the mixture becomes smooth.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. Once the dry ingredients are combined into the batter, fold in the remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips.
- Gently pour the brownie batter into the prepared baking pans. Make sure to use a rubber spatula to scrape all the sides of the bowl.
- Place big dollops of the pumpkin swirl over the brownie batter. Use a butter knife and cut through the pumpkin swirl and the batter, creating a marbled look.
- Bake the brownies for about 40 minutes, or until the brownies start to pull away from the edges and the center of the brownie is cooked. Insert a toothpick in the center of the brownies to test doneness. If the toothpick comes out dry, the brownie will be cakey. We like our brownies fudgey, so when the toothpick comes out of the center with a few moist crumbs on it, then we know it's our perfect fudgey texture.
- Allow the brownies to completely cool before lifting the brownies out of the pan. Cut into squares and enjoy!