Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

October means pumpkin recipes dominate my cooking. I can barely contain my excitement with this recipe, a classic from one of my Food & Wine magazines from the '90s!  There are lots of moving pieces in this recipe, but none of the steps are difficult, so hang with the process.

To make it easier, I've broken the ingredient lists into two parts, one for the pumpkin batter and one for the chocolate. Be sure to check both lists before making your shopping bill.

Here's what you need for the pumpkin batter:

  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup of canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 pan.  Set aside.  Then begin the pumpkin batter by beating together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the sugar and blend again.Next add the egg and beat.Then add the pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and blend.Finally, stir in flour with a spoon.Set the batter aside and start your chocolate batter.  These are the ingredients you'll need:

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 heaping cup of large pecan pieces (optional)
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Combine the chocolate and butter and melt slowly. There are a couple of ways to melt the chocolate.  You can either microwave on a low power and stir or you can place a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water and melt.  Since this recipe requires the simmering water in a later step, I go ahead and melt the chocolate this way too.Just remember, the chocolate will melt quickly.  Do NOT overcook. When melted, remove from heat and set aside.Now combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a heat-proof bowl and put over the pan of simmering water. Beat at medium speed until the egg mixture is warm to the touch then remove from the heat.  Continue to blend (but now at high speed) until the mixture thickens and is fluffy.  It will be the consistency of your average cake batter.  Normally this takes about 5-6 minutes. (Though it feels like forever.)  Don't skip this part.  The mixing puts a bunch of air in the batter and that makes the brownie consistency perfect!Gradually fold in the melted chocolate.Sift flour into the batter and stir until just moist.  Then add the nuts if using.Pour chocolate batter into the prepared pan. Then put the pumpkin batter on top of the chocolate one tablespoon at a time.  Take a butter knife and swirl the batter into the chocolate.  Don't go crazy on this step, otherwise you'll lose the swirl pattern (though nothing will impact the flavor!!)Bake for 50 minutes. Allow the pan to cool completely before cutting.Feel free to sample as you cut.  I'm pretty sure the crumbs are calorie free!!

Happy October!!

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