As much as I try to plan for it, Thanksgiving always seems to come out of nowhere. In a rush, I’m working on the menu, figuring out the seating assignments, looking for ways to uniquely (and cheaply) decorate the table. This year, I’ve decided to take control of the situation and get things done… now.
Thanksgiving Recipe: Pumpkin-Swirl Brownies
If there’s one thing I love about this holiday, it’s the excessive amounts of cooking that occurs. That doesn’t mean that I enjoy making a lot of food, but I love the idea of spending multiple days in the kitchen, working hard to get everything done in time. Seeing that the kitchen is my zone (as my husband can attest), I feel the most comfortable standing over the stove. It has a calming effect on me. For our first recipe in preparation for Thanksgiving, we’re going straight to dessert. I first saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and was immediately struck by the pairing. Chocolate and pumpkin? Really? How does that work?
After making them, I, unfortunately, don’t have a good answer for you. The flavors just mesh beautifully together. The cayenne (which I found to have a more prominent flavor in the pumpkin batter) balances with the sweetness of the chocolate. All I can tell you is this, I’m going to be making these for years to come. I followed this recipe according to Deb’s instructions. And, like her, I did not have a 9″ square baking dish. As a result, some towering brownies were produced and, to be honest, I kind of like that.
It really doesn’t seem to be Thanksgiving without something pumpkin on the table. And these brownies, which are part fudge, part cake, are a terrific and creative use of the ingredient.
Check back later for some more recipe ideas for your Thanksgiving menu!
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 to 3/4 cups sugar (the original recipe calls for the larger amount; I think it could be dialed down a bit)
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 hazelnuts or other nuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan or dish. Cut a length of parchment that will cover the bottom and two sides (makes it much easier to remove), and line the pan with it. Butter the lining as well. (Deb note: I used an 8-inch square, because it was what I had. It works, too, but the brownies are crazy thick and take much longer to bake, just to give you a heads-up.)
2. Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.
3. 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.
4. Pour half of batter (about two cups) into a separate bowl and stir chocolate mixture into it. If you find that it is a little thick (as mine was) add a little more batter (a few tablespoons or so) until it is more pourable. This is important because mine was quite thick, and the pumpkin half was quite thin, so I had trouble swirling the two together.
5. In other bowl, stir in the 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.
6. With a small spatula or a table knife, gently swirl the two batters to create a marbled effect. Be sure to get your knife all the way to the bottom of the pan–I didn’t, and ended up with a chocolate base, not that it is such a bad thing. Sprinkle with nuts, if using.
7. Bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares.