Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin spice cheesecake brownies

Now that I'm 12 hours removed from my activities of last night, I can see that someday I will drive my friends and family crazy with my enthusiasm for themes and holidays... but they love me, so they'll have no choice but to deal with it. That being said, last night was simply awesome. I got home and first thing, thanks to some foresight to put out cream cheese that morning, immediately mixed up a batch of pumpkin spice cheesecake brownies.

Though I made these for a book club meeting tomorrow, I had to try one. The pumpkin flavor is really mild and is most prominent when chilled. Don't worry, ye who fear pumpkin. It's certainly not an intense pumpkin flavor, like pie or custard, and the chocolate (as always) is a pleasant complement to the cheesecake top half of the brownie. If you're looking for a more convenient (or, daresay, mini) baking method, try lining a standard or mini muffin pan with paper liners and filling each with the batters in the same fashion. Bake at 350F but check the centers after about 20 minutes and bake until set. Let me know if any of you try this!

While the brownies were chilling, I plopped myself in front of my TV to watch Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin whilst carving a pumpkin of my own. (I take back what I said... my kids will enjoy this until they are about 12 years old, then they will resent me during adolescence.) I also did a little more cooking with pumpkin, but I'll save that for tomorrow.

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Brownies
(adapted from this recipe)
- makes 16 (roughly 2" x 2") brownies

A few notes: Having both the cream cheese and egg at room temperature will yield a smoother and more uniform batter.  In other words, it's worth it to plan ahead.

Brownie batter:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

Pumpkin cheesecake batter:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp flour
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 tsp cinnamon
1/3 tsp ground ginger
1/3 tsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8x8" square metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Line with parchment paper along one side with a two inch overhang on opposite ends.

In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla, then beat in eggs one at a time. Combine dry ingredients in a separate medium bowl, and then gradually stir into butter mixture with a wooden spoon. Mix until just incorporated, and be careful not to overmix. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together cheesecake batter ingredients until smooth.

Spread about 2/3 of chocolate batter into prepared pan, and spoon cheesecake batter over.  Dollop remaining brownie batter over cheesecake batter. Swirl the batters together by running a butter knife back and forth through the pan. Swirl as much or as little as you want.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until center is set. Cool completely on wire rack and chill in fridge 1 hour. Holding ends of parchment paper, remove from pan, cut and serve (or chill in a sealed container until ready to serve).

1 comment:

  1. Those look so good!! (minus the cheesecake duh) Also, you'll definitely have at least one kid (alright, definitely not more than one) that is just a "mini" you, if you will. So you pick that one as your favorite and let Matt handle the rest