I have a confession to make: I haven’t cooked anything since I got home. In part, I attribute this to the fact that I am frantically searching for a vegetarian stuffing recipe that will please myself and my family. I have never made the stuffing before (in fact, it hasn’t been home-made in several years…whoops). Usually I am relegated to something involving copious amounts of sugar (and pumpkin, usually – before we had family here, I made the pie. Now that they bring the dessert, I make muffins. Or bread. Or something with, as I said, heaps of sugar), but this year, in the name of giving me something to eat, my mom suggested that I make the stuffing; I’ll attribute my lack of cooking to that. But additionally, it’s so easy when you’re home to allow your family to cook for you!
I have however been working on various homework assignments – blech. Apparently my professors decided that this was not a break, but a chance to give large and terrifying projects that will guarantee mental breakdowns (ahem). But I have also had a wonderful run with my dad, a great trip to my barn to visit the horses, and an extensive nap with my cat. I have started a new book, which is very intriguing, and I, oddly enough, have pined a little bit for Washington. It’s clear to me that you always want what you can’t have – I wanted to be home so desperately for the first month and a half of school, and then when I got home, I wandered around feeling lost without my housemates.
But I digress heavily – here is one of my favorite pumpkin recipes. This was possibly one of the first recipes I tried after I discovered SmittenKitchen last year, and I’ve made it several times since then, each with wonderful results. I, unlike Deb, had no qualms about mixing pumpkin and chocolate – I have been faithfully devouring this combination for years, first thanks to Great Harvest Bread Co, and then thanks to a family recipe involving pumpkin and chocolate in muffin form (that will be presented to you tomorrow, I hope!). I think it’s in part because pumpkin has a very malleable flavor that this combination can be so good – the spices more or less dominate the light flavor of the pumpkin, and the spices in this recipe go beautifully with chocolate (although, at this point, what doesn’t go with chocolate?)
I have no idea how well-circulated this recipe is on the internet, but in my honest opinion, everyone should make this recipe (with your home-made pumpkin puree, of course!) This is one of those foods that I really can never get enough – and judging by how fast they disappeared out of the pan, I think others in my house felt the same. Present this at your Thanksgiving meal for a very easy dessert – while brownies don’t look particularly elegant, these are fantastic (if you have geologists or archaeologists among you, be sure to note the stratigraphic layers of the chocolate and pumpkin…). If you need something more elegant for Thanksgiving, well – make them for your neighbors, your friends, whoever. They will be well-loved!
Pumpkin Swirl Brownies (Adapted from SmittenKitchen)
8 tbsp sweet butter
6 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup of sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I haven’t tried this, but I would be curious to see how this recipe, and others like it, would work if the pumpkin was increased to 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree and the oil was left out…)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and the chocolate, stirring until they become fluid. Be careful that nothing burns – keep and eye on it and stir often! In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt. Mix well. In the bowl of a large mixer, combine eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix again. Separate the mixture approximately in half. Add the chocolate to one half and mix well. Add the pumpkin, vegetable oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the other half and mix well.
Pour half of the chocolate mixture into a well-greased, 9″x9″ pan. Add half of the pumpkin mixture and swirl the layers together using a spoon or spatula. Add the rest of the chocolate and swirl again. Finally, add the rest of the pumpkin and swirl. (For me, the swirling has been challenging – these brownies might be better labeled Pumpkin-Chocolate Layer Brownies, because I tend to end up with a thicker chocolate mixture and a looser pumpkin mixture. This might not happen a. with canned pumpkin and b. if you were a bit more careful dividing the initial mixture in half. Nonetheless, they are still delicious, so if you have trouble mixing the layers, don’t worry too much!). Bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.