I decided to take my favorite brownie recipe, the one I published in “The Mom 100 Cookbook” a handful of years ago, and turn it into something that says, “Hi, pumpkin season, how’ve you been?”
The bottom layer is a fudgy brownie, dense and with a serious hit of chocolate. The top layer is a creamy pumpkin cheesecake, scented with those great fall spices. Then a bit of the brownie mixture (which you will reserve) is dolloped on top and swirled into the cheesecake mixture for a beautiful, brown and pale orange marbled effect. These are thick, rich and the kind of dessert where you’re going to end up feeling pretty pleased with yourself. It’s a dessert to impress, with no fancy baking techniques required.
You can store these at room temperature in a tightly sealed container for a day, or in the fridge for several days. Let them sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownies
Makes 24 brownies
For the Brownies:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For the Pumpkin Cheesecake:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 cup pureed canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously butter or spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray.
Make the brownie batter: Melt together the butter and chocolate in a medium-sized pot over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder, sugar and salt, then blend in the vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time, stirring quickly so they don’t have a chance to cook at all before they are blended in. Blend in the flour.
Scrape about 3/4 of the thick batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Set the pan and the remaining brownie batter (about one cup) aside.
Make the pumpkin cheesecake batter: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the cinnamon, ginger, salt and cloves and beat, scraping down the sides, until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then beat in the pumpkin, cream and vanilla until smooth. Spread the pumpkin cheesecake batter over the brownie batter in the pan, and then use a tablespoon to dollop remaining brownie batter over the top in spots. Use a dull knife to swirl the mixtures together on top, making sure to leave it very streaky, and not blend too much.
Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the brownies comes out clean.
Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack. Cut into 24 squares.
Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.”