Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Brownies

Is everyone on the East Coast surviving this bitch of a hurricane so far? I hope so! The worst of it hasn't hit Boston yet so I'm trying to crank out this here blog post before the power goes. I have little optimism that it won't! This is a good one though and it may end up being a good post-hurricane treat. If you're nowhere near the East Coast of the U.S. then they're just a good any time treat.

About a week ago my roommate said to me, "Feel free to make anything in the brownie book I have!" Er, what?! You have a brownie book? Yes, she has a brownie book. These don't come from said brownie book, but the brownie seed was planted in the garden of baking ideas in my brain.

Pumpkin season is still going strong and I love baking with it so I set out to find a pumpkin brownie recipe. Obviously Martha had the perfect option!

1 stick (8 tablespoons) of unsalted butter
6 ounces chocolate chips or chopped from a bar
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 vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 ground nutmeg

Pre-heat your oven to 350. Butter a 9x9 baking pan and line it with parchment paper. I like to have some of the parchment paper hang over the edge of the baking pan so the brownies can pop out easily. Butter the parchment paper as well.

Using a double boiler, which is just a heat proof bowl placed on top of a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate and the butter until their smooth. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water and that the water never really comes to a boil. If not, the chocolate can burn. Ain't nobody got time for that.

It will look a little gross for a while, but just keep stirring.

Smooth as a baby's bottom :)

Next, mix the flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Don't let the cayenne scare you. It's just there to enhance the flavors and you can't taste it in the end at all.

That looks like just flour, but trust me, everything is in there!

Put the sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high for at least 3-5 minutes until it's fluffy.

Turn the speed down to low and slowly add the flour mixture until everything is well combined.

It's a thick batter, but that's exactly the way you want it. Take half of that batter (it turns out to be a little more than 2 cups) and put it in a separate bowl. Fold in the chocolate and butter until its combine and you want to pour the whole thing in your mouth because it looks and smells so amazingly delicious.

To the other half of the batter that's still in the mixing bowl, add the pumpkin, oil, cinnamon and nutmeg and fold them in until their well combined.

Now we're ready to start layering the batter.

Pour half the chocolate batter in the pan and spread it evenly with a spatula.

Gently pour half the pumpkin batter on top of the chocolate batter. The batters are thick so they shouldn't mix. Spread the pumpkin batter evenly with a spatula.

You're going to do the exact same thing with the last two halves of each of the batter. When all the batter is in the pan, take a butter knife and swirl the batters together until they look like marble.

Bake these for 40-45 minutes. Even with my wonky oven I found the 45 was necessary to bake the middle enough so keep an eye on yours too.

YUM. Let them cool in the pan for a bit and then you can lift them out using the parchment that's hanging over.

Now, Martha's recipe calls for a topping of hazelnuts, but I don't think nuts have a place on or in a brownie. It's just not right. Frosting, however, has a place on a brownie. I really wasn't planning on frosting these because I thought they would be tasty enough, but after an overwhelming (meaning about five people) positive response for frosting on Twitter I decided to frost them.

Here is the simplest of simple chocolate frostings and a perfect amount for a 9x9 cake or brownies -

3 Tablespoons of softened butter
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of milk
1/2 a teaspoon vanilla

Beat with a whisk attachment until is fluffy.

Frosting was a really, really, really good idea! These are so incredibly delicious! It makes a pretty cakey brownie, but the flavor is all that really matters

 Extreme close up of swirlyness!

I'm pretty happy that my hurricane preparedness includes these. I've only had one as of right now, but I expect to have many more by the time Sandy moves all the way through today. The pumpkin and chocolate mix perfectly and the frosting ads a perfect bit of extra chocolatiness. I highly suggest making these before all of the pumpkin is gone for another year.

Tell me how you feel about brownies. Also - frosting or no frosting?

No comments:

Post a Comment