Sugarbird's Sweet Nothings

I am passionate about food. And cooking. And baking. And running. Come and find a new recipe, a funny story, some strong opinions and whatever else I feel like throwing in the mix today.
Published on May 12th, 2010
by Clarabella

Chocolate & Pumpkin Brownies

The English and the South Africans for that matter do not have the tendency to use Pumpkin in sweet dishes like the Americans do. In fact, I have not seen ANY sweet pumpkin dishes while I have been in the UK and the only Pumpkin Pie I ever saw in South Africa was made by the American mother of my American friend. I do have fond memories of that pumpkin pie however so when I came across this recipe for Chocolate and Pumpkin Brownies, I was fascinated and it certainly appealed to the adventurous side of my baking persona. So I thought I’d give it a try. The first obstacle was finding tinned pumpkin, not a common ingredient in Manchester, England. I did manage to source it from an online American food shop.

So on Saturday afternoon while taking a break from my latest pewtering project, which I’d been working on for a good few hours and was getting rather achey hands & wrists, I set to work on the brownies. I find that there is something incredibly soothing to me in the baking process. I find myself in a sort of relaxed trance while pulling out all the ingredients, measuring, weighing and even lining the baking tin. I know many people who find baking very stressful, so call me a freak if you will but I simply love it.

The initial process was much the same as any other brownie recipe. Chopping chocolate, melting it with butter, mix the dry ingerdients together, etc. but I was absolutely fascinated by the step where it came to dividing the mixture in half and adding the chocolate to one half and the pumpkin to the other half. The recipe had warned that the chocolate half of the mixture may be very stiff and hard to spread in the tin but luckily I had no such problem. Things did get interesting though when in my baking-induced coma I threw the whole tin of pumpkin into the mixture, mixed well, and then realised that I was only supposed to use a cup and a half. But as it was too late by this time to turn back, I just carried on and hoped for the best whith crossed fingers (and toes!).

Luckily while lining the brownie tin I had left a good 5cm of baking parchment up all 4 sides and this rescued my very full brownie tin from overflowing. If it had not been for that I would have had a very, very messy oven and baking tin and I may have been scared off using pumpkin for like. So after layering my 2 mixtures in my very full tin, it went into the oven for the allocated time (with me peeking in every 5 minutes to see whether the rather flimsy baking parchment enclosure was holding). Luckily all was well and when I took them out of the oven they looked fantastic, all orange and brown marbled, and they tasted fantastic!

Pumpkin-Swirl Brownies
From Martha Stewart Living

Ingredients

(Makes 16-20, depending on how big you cut them and whether you add a lot more pumpkin than you’re supposed to!)

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
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 pecan nuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan or dish. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; butter lining.

Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until fluffy and well combined, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture.

Divide batter between two medium bowls (about 2 cups per bowl). Stir chocolate mixture into one bowl. In other bowl, stir in pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Transfer half of chocolate batter to prepared pan smoothing top with a rubber spatula. Top with half of pumpkin batter. Repeat to make one more chocolate layer and one more pumpkin layer. Work quickly so batters don’t set.

With a small spatula or a table knife, gently swirl the two batters to create a marbled effect. Sprinkle with nuts.

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