Pumpkin Swirl Brownies: Cream Cheese Tease

ugghhhh. So again, I realize my slacking, and recipes have been on the short-stack still.  I didn’t get to make half the stuff I wanted to this Halloween-ish month due to total exhaustion. I like my new job, but it’s mentally exhausting. When I leave work my brain is just fried… so my kitchn’tekaning (copyright,Palandri) has been much more limited than past months; clearly.

Cream Cheese Pumpkin, yum.

Last Friday was my official first ‘food day’ at Crete, and so I spent a good time days before researching a pumpkin theme idea. I’ll tell you what…It’s a good thing I’m at the POOR end of the food chain, because I now have an entire folder, packed with pumpkin recipes that I wanted to slam out all in full…but if I did that, then I’d have to take it to the City Mission probably just to get it all eaten. Not the worst thing in the world I suppose. Let’s look at the bright side of this sad single pumpkin recipe Halloween disaster….pumpkin is allowed…..thru December, thank you Baby Jesus!!

So I have many ways I search for new recipes/or ways of doing things…and one of them is like windowshopping…online. Sometimes I’ll just browse thru Google Images for hours, in a nerdy food-like manner, which was how I found this recipe from Better Homes and Garden for

—–Marbled Chocolate-Pumpkin Brownies         Doesn’t that just make you drool…just the words…not even the picture yet….—–

Brownie Batter

Butter&Chocolate Meltdown!

I rarely follow recipes to a T. But I more or less did the first time with this, and would like to tell BH&G to suck it because they’re big fat liars about how these turn out. This magazine rarely steers me wrong…but they have miscalculated a few things along the way in my opinion. You can find the original on the bh&g  (click for link) website, or I’ll provide my adapted version. This recipe is really great, but the brownie to pumpkin ratio was just off… don’t get me wrong, these were still good, but can definitely be perfected. For a pumpkin ‘liker’ as myself it was a little overkill on the amount of pumpkin the original called for, because it hid the brownie. If you are a pumpkin lover, ignore all this and just start baking.

I’d never made any kind of from-scratch brownie…or pumpkin bars before so this was an interesting trial…that started off AMAZING. There are three different ‘batters’ to start. Cream cheese, pumpkin, then brownie… and they are all freakin delicious. My dinner this night was batter…I kid you not. Reminds me of the cream cheese 4th of July cupcakes I made this year with red, white, and blue batters! Lots of work, and kind of time consuming, but they turned out so fun (and yum)!

Getting Swirly!

My notes on this recipe are the following…

The cream cheese in this is what holds the pumpkin together in a more solid form-  so I would change it to 5oz of cream cheese. It also says to use a whole can of pumpkin…I would recommend using 3/4 the can…or even 1/2 if you want a pumpkin flavor and pretty brownies…instead of  “B—-these are PUMPKIN brownies!”  I didn’t add the nuts in this recipe either…I don’t like crunch in my brownie…personal preference.

There are 3. main reasons for the notes here, 1. as I said, there was just a little too much pumpkin, it really over took the brownie.  2. if you make the recipe as called, they don’t turn out as pretty as the picture due to too much pumpkin, and 3. if there is cream cheese involved…I wanna taste more of it….don’t be a cream-cheese-tease. What’s really gonna make these turn out super-fabulous…is how you stir in the designs creating equal brownie to pumpkin swirled bites.! The first time I did it, I didn’t stir enough and the pumpkin just kind of sat on top and didn’t look like the picture. I think what helps is if you make deep swooping stirs, and even use small strokes with a spoon to bring the brownie batter on top and swirl away!

All Done!

BottomLine:I really liked these and am already ready for another round! They just needed some altering. Funny thing about the first time I did these I actually didn’t like them at all after they were done, BUT if you put them covered in the fridge overnight and let the cream cheese stand before eating them…it’s a win again! Don’t eat these warm, eat these cold. I just thought the first round was “ok” because of the extensive pumpkin (another friend agreed), but I had at least three people rush AT me…for the recipe at work, so, it must be a pumpkin preference on how you want them. Make them to your taste. This one is staying in the pumpkin pile!

Also would like to note that a portion of these were dropped to Autumn and Taylor last Friday, who have been sending me all kinds of thank-you’s ever sense, which is kind, but more importantly…they got engaged this week!! Does pumpkin help men pop the question?!! Kidding, but…. congrats to these friends!

My Adapted Version

  • 5 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1/2cup sugar
  • 1egg
  • 1/2-3/4 canned pumpkin
  • 1teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 6ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4cup butter, cut up
  • 2 1/4cups sugar
  • 4eggs
  • 1/4cup milk
  • 2teaspoons vanilla

1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over the edges of the pan. Grease the foil; set pan aside.

2.In a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese and the 1 tablespoon butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1/2 cup sugar. Beat until well combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in 1 egg, the pumpkin, 1 teaspoon vanilla, the cinnamon, and ginger until combined. Stir in the 1 tablespoon flour. Set aside.

3.In a small bowl stir together the 1-1/4 cups flour, the baking powder, and salt; set aside.

4.In a large saucepan combine the chocolate and 3/4 cup butter. Cook and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Gradually add the 2-1/4 cups sugar, beating with an electric mixer on low speed just until combined. Add the 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in milk and the 2 teaspoons vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture just until combined.

5.Spread chocolate mixture evenly in the prepared pan. Spoon cream cheese mixture in several mounds on top of the chocolate batter. Using a narrow metal spatula, gently swirl the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate batter. If desired, sprinkle with walnuts.

6.Bake about 60 minutes or until center is just set when pan is gently shaken. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Use foil to lift uncut brownies out of pan. Cut into brownies-then refrigerate.

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2 thoughts on “Pumpkin Swirl Brownies: Cream Cheese Tease

    • Part of what makes the pumpkin so great is the added flavor and mositure,unless you don’t like the pumpkin flavor of course! You can always just cut the pumpkin and do cream cheese swirl, or zucchini is a fantastic flavorless and healthy substitute also! Zucchini muffins, cakes, and brownies are always a crowd pleaser!

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