Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pumpkin swirl brownies

"Lumpkin, bumpkin, diddle diddle dumpkin, zumpkin, frumpkin, PUMPKIN!" That phrase from Sesame Street's Abby Cadabby gets stuck in my head when I mention pumpkin at our house. Abby is a fairy-in-training and has the ability to transform things into pumpkins.

I was contemplating what to make one afternoon but my requirement was that it couldn't be too time-consuming. I wanted something that that incorporated fall flavors and could be easily shared with friends or coworkers. If Abby Cadabby was at my house, she'd probably turn some of our household items into pumpkins while I was brainstorming. Suddenly, it hit me - pumpkin brownies!

While these were good, I thought they tasted more like cake than brownies. You really need to work quickly with the chocolate brownie batter layer - mine molded together like a batch of hardening caramel when I was pouring it into the pan, and the resulting chocolate brownie part tasted a bit like azuki (red bean). The pumpkin part of the brownie was good and full of pumpkin spice flavor. I'd make a bunch of tweaks next time and probably use my tried and true brownie base and create a separate layer of pumpkin on top to swirl. But overall, I still received some enthusiastic thumbs up from family and coworkers.


Pumpkin swirl brownies
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I omitted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts or other nuts (I omitted)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or grease a 9-inch square baking pan.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler or heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth and set aside.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt. Set aside. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until fluffy and well combined, 3 to 5 minutes. Slowly add in the flour mixture.

Divide the batter between two bowls (about 2 cups per bowl). Add the chocolate mixture into one bowl. In other bowl, stir in the pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour half of the chocolate batter to prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Then pour the half of the pumpkin batter on top. 

Repeat to make one more chocolate layer and one more pumpkin layer (you should have four layers). Work quickly so batters don't set.

Using a small spatula or a butter knife, gently swirl the two batters to create a marbled effect. Sprinkle with nuts if using.

Bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares.

Yield: 16 brownies

Source: Martha Stewart

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