Wednesday, October 13, 2010

There's a reason I make brownies from a box

First of all, in case you were wondering the raccoon is still on the loose. I haven't heard him in a while, but he did trip one of the traps without actually getting caught. Hopefully, he will be gone soon so I can sleep better at night!

Anyway, back to the point of this post: A couple of weeks ago, I was out at lunch and saw some chocolate/pumpkin bars in the bakery section. They looked amazing, and I should have bought one so I could try and figure out how to make them. But instead I just started googling for recipes.

I found a couple, including one from Martha Stewart. But Martha didn't get very good reviews, I started noticing another recipe popping up over and over, so I figured that must be the one I should try.

Here's the recipe, my thoughts are below:

Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies 
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger (substituted nutmeg but realized i need to just break down and buy ginger)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. In a small bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the sugar, scraping the bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg, then add the pumpkin puree, vanilla, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in the flour. 

  • 5 1/2 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 sticks (5 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 heaping cup large walnut pieces (about 4 ounces), optional (went without them)
Combine the semisweet chocolate and butter in a medium bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan with 1 inch of simmering water and stir occasionally until melted. In a large bowl, combine the eggs with the sugar, vanilla and salt; set the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water and, using an electric mixer, beat at low speed until blended. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture is warm to the touch. Remove from the heat and continue to beat until the mixture is thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the melted chocolate. Sift the flour over the warm batter and fold it in just until combined. Fold in the walnut pieces.
Spread the chocolate batter evenly in the prepared pan. Using a tablespoon, drop dollops of the pumpkin batter all over the top. Using the back of a butter knife, swirl the pumpkin batter into the chocolate; don't overdo it or the swirl pattern will be lost. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the brownies cool completely before cutting.

It wasn't as chocolatey as I was expecting or wanting. It was more like a spice cake with a hint of chocolate. The top of mine had a weird crisp on top, maybe I cooked it too long but the swirl thing definitely didn't work. If it hadn't had the crisp that fell apart when you touched it, I might have added cream cheese icing.

I also learned that there is a reason I have always made brownies from a box. It is complicated to make brownies, and I'm still not convinced I pulled it off. Now I think I'd like to make these again with brownies from a box and add the pumpkin batter on top to see if that improves the consistency while also adding more chocolate flavor. It would also be much easier to just add eggs, vegetable oil and water to the batter!

I also made these muffins from Pioneer Woman. They are definitely moist, but they are a little sweet for me and I even skipped the icing. My muffin supply is running low, so I need some apples or blueberries or more pumpkin to restock my freezer.

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