Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

Ah yes, fall versions of our favorite classics. I'm not sure if I could go through the holidays on just cutely decorated sugar cookies--more specifically, without a hit of chocolate. With Christmas in the air, chocolate seems to fit in nicely with Cashew Clusters, the showy Truffle Tree (stay tuned for that one), and even Caramel Morsel Bars. For Thanskgiving, however, I've usually just offered Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie. There's also the traditional pumpkin and pecan pies. Hey, where's the chocolate?

When I was asked to bring something to the kids' fall violin performance for the reception afterwards, I was most certainly thinking chocolate. Hmmm, basic brownies just might not cut it, I figured. Yes, something chocolate with a fall twist.

Pumpkin cheesecake brownies would fit the bill.

The recipes online that I thought about trying only made a small batch. Also, I wanted the chocolate to stand out more than the pumpkin. If you only need an 8 x 8" pan, check out this recipe. (I still have yet to try it but will soon.) If you need to make a bigger batch (or use a boxed brownie mix), and want to keep it a bit chocolatier, read on.

For the chocolate brownie batter, I doubled my recipe for Double Chocolate Brownies (without the extra chocolate chips), but you can use a boxed version for this as well.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare brownie batter, boxed or homemade, or this--as long as it's for a 9 x 13 pan.

Pumpkin cheesecake topping:

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 TBSP flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
(Instead of using the cinnamon, cloves and ginger seperately, you could just add one teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice if you wish.)

Cream together the cream cheese and sugar; mix in the pumpkin, egg and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and blend just until all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour 2/3 of chocolate batter into a greased 9" x 13" baking dish. With large spoonfuls, drop cheesecake mixture over the top of the chocolate--leaving some of the chocolate still showing. Add the remaining chocolate batter in large dollops over the top--again so both the chocolate and cheesecake batters can be seen. Take a knife and run it back and forth lengthwise through the dish (touching the bottom) just a few times. If you'd like more blending, run the knife through a few more time in the other direction.

Bake for about 5 minutes longer than the regular brownie recipe/mix calls for (that's about 35 minutes for the Double Chocolate Brownies). They're done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow brownies to cool before slicing.

Gobble 'em up!