Life is full of difficult choices. Picking between the chicken or the pasta on the airplane (they’re both bad). Vodka or gin in your martini (because both at once would be gross). Ordering just one dessert at the restaurant (they’re all awesome). Choosing just one New Kid on the Block as your official celebrity crush (as long as it’s not Joey, because your best friend called dibs on him first).
Thankfully, that’s not the case with these Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies. These babies let you have pumpkin cheesecake and fudgey brownies, all in one delicious bite. No choosing. If they gave out Nobel prizes for baking, I’m sure these would be right at the top of the list for giving indecisive people around the world their own dessert.
These gorgeous brownies are just one of 13 super-spooky Halloween-themed sweets and treats created especially created for you by some of the coolest bloggers I know:
(And no, we didn’t actually plan on having 13 recipes… it’s just a total coincidence, which is even more spooky. OooooooOOOOooOOOooh.)
You’ll find links for all the recipes at the bottom of this post, but in the meantime, let’s talk about these brownies for a second, because I’m really proud of the way these turned out.
The brownie half is dense and fudgey and deeply chocolatey, just like a proper brownie ought to be. The pumpkin layer is subtly spicy and not too sweet, and a Halloween-perfect shade of bright orange.
Each one of these layers would be perfectly good on its own, but once they’re swirled together, they’re doubly delicious (and a whole lot prettier, to boot).
As for the marbling, I promise it’s not nearly as complicated as it looks. Plus, it’s awfully pretty.
The trick to marbling is basically to know when to stop. You start by randomly spooning on big fat dollops of the two batters into the pan, then you use a sharp knife to swirl them using a wide zig-zag sort of motion – first from side-to-side, then up-and-down. And then you put your knife down and call it a day. Don’t give in to the temptation to keep swirling your knife around, or else you’ll end up with a muddled mess.
The toughest choice as far as these brownies are concerned?
Deciding between making just the one batch, or using up the whole package of cream cheese and make it a double. (I think we all know the answer to that one, though.)
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1 cup brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup flour
- ½ package (4 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3 tbsp sugar
- ½ cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg (fresh, if possible)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or greased foil.
- In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, melt the butter and chocolate together until smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and scrape into a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar, vanilla and salt, then beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the flour and mix until just barely combined.
- In a second mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until combined. Stir in the pumpkin, egg and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients, and set aside.
- Spread half of the brownie batter into the prepared baking pan. Drop alternating spoonfuls of the pumpkin filling and the remaining brownie batter onto the brownie layer. Run a sharp knife through the batter in a zig zag sort of motion to swirl the brownie batter and pumpkin filling together.
- Bake in preheated oven until the edges are set and the middle is still a little wobbly, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool in the pan about 15 minutes, then use the edges of the parchment to lift out the brownies and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Cut the cooled brownies into squares, and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (assuming they last that long).
This post is part of the Halloween Holiday Food Blog Party organized by Jen of Jen’s Favourite Cookies. For more spookily delicious Halloween goodies, check out the rest of the posts: