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Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

I get unreasonably excited over brownies. (The dense, fudgy kind, of course.) I’d choose a brownie over cake or a cookie most any day. Normally I don’t like my brownies messed with – I could take or leave nuts, and really don’t need caramel, raspberry or cream cheese swirled through. But I do appreciate the festive marriage of pumpkin pie and brownie here. And really.. I think I’d prefer bottom brownie than bottom crust. There’s no reason you couldn’t serve one of these warm, topped with whipped cream. Who needs pie?

These are made by mixing up a basic egg-sugar-flour batter, which is divided in half – chocolate is added to some of the mixture, and pumpkin to the rest. You’ll want to layer the brownie batter, which is sturdier, on the bottom, and top it with great glops of the pumpkin and more brownie batter, which is thicker. It may look like a mess when you try to drag a knife through it (if you work quickly, the melted chocolate won’t start to cool and thicken the batter) – but it will look great once baked. And really, it’s all about how they taste, isn’t it?

These freeze well, so can be made in advance if you want to get a head start on your Halloween festivities.

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

adapted from Martha.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped, or 1 cup chocolate chips
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350F and spray a 9″x9″ cake pan with nonstick spray.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chocolate and remove from heat. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir until smooth.

In a large bowl beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla for 3-4 minutes, until thick and pale yellow. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and beat just until combined.

Put about a third of the batter into another bowl and stir the pumpkin, oil, cinnamon and nutmeg into it. Stir the chocolate mixture into the remaining batter and spread a little more than half of it into the prepared pan. Top with the pumpkin mixture, then drop large spoonfuls of the remaining chocolate mixture on top. Swirl a knife through both to create a swirled effect.

Bake for 40 minutes, until just set and starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Makes 16 brownies.

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