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Pumpkin-Chocolate Brownies

November 24, 2010

Each year, at exactly this time, begins a Thanksgiving cooking blitz that doesn’t end until Thursday afternoon.  I know of people who prep much earlier in the week but I’ve never gotten into the habit.  It’s due in part to procrastination and partly my fear that a dish would no longer be at its best on Thanksgiving if prepared too early.  Or maybe I just need help with time management!

Over the years, I’ve settled into a routine. I get up early to put the turkey in a large oven while the side dishes are prepared in a smaller oven, a steady stream of activity that keeps the kitchen warm all morning.  My menu consists of traditional holiday offerings:  Roast turkey, ham, yam and apple casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, roasted veggies, cranberry sauce and sometimes stuffing.  I prepare most of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes while my family comes to my home bearing even more food, mostly filipino main dishes and other sweets.

This holiday and Christmas are the two holidays I look most forward to since I know I’ll be with my family.  My parents, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces–it’s a given that we’ll all be together and as I get older I realize how special these times are.  Family time.  It’s #1 on my things-to-be-thankful-for list.

But before all the craziness tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be baking until late tonight. I like to have at least one pumpkin dessert each year but I don’t limit my offerings to pumpkin pie.  I have fun changing things around a bit so why not pumpkin and chocolate together?

I found a butternut squash-chocolate brownie recipe that is served at the Carneros Inn. I thought that if it’s good enough for the beautiful Napa Valley retreat, it would be good enough for me and my family.  I did take some minor liberties with the recipe but I’m confident I did not compromise the integrity of the original.

As promised by the recipe, these brownies were ultra moist with a nice chocolate flavor.  But I also detect a very slight earthiness thanks to almost two cups of pumpkin, making these almost an almost guilt-free indulgence.  And the texture?  These brownies are not dense like most brownies I’ve made.  They still have some heft but they’ve got a spring in their step, like a heavy sponge-cake.  Definitely not like any other brownie recipe I’ve tried before but also a keeper.  Thanksgiving can’t come soon enough!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  May your Thanksgiving be abundant in not only good food and drink but also in love and joy with friends and family.

Pumpkin-Chocolate Brownies

Adapted from Michelle Lyon’s Recipe for Butternut Squash and Chocolate Brownies (Food & Wine)

  • 1 15-oz can of pumpkin puree (or for a more brownie-like texture, use 1 1/2 cups as per original recipe)
  • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I used 71% Valrhona Chocolate)
  • Scant 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (My addition for a deeper chocolate flavor)
  • 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into tablespoon portions
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, give or take a tablespoon (Original recipe called for two cups but I reduced with good results)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

Note:  If you decide to use fresh butternut squash or pumpkin for this recipe, please click the link above for directions.

Preheat your oven to 350ºF.  Lightly butter a 9×13 inch baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Butter the paper.  Over low heat, melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler, stirring frequently, adding the unsweetened cocoa powder near the end.  Set aside and let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt at medium speed.  After two minutes the mixture will become pale and thick at which time you will need to beat in the melted chocolate and the pumpkin puree.  Finally, beat in the flour and baking powder at low speed.

Pour the (very thick) batter in the prepared baking pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool before cutting and serving.

This recipe yields 12 large squares or 15 normal-sized brownies.  This can also be made ahead and stored in an airtight container for three days.

51 Comments leave one →
  1. November 24, 2010 6:20 PM

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! Those brownies look divine. I bet you could not help but sneak one. 🙂

    • November 27, 2010 10:07 PM

      Hi Lisa! Yes, hubby and I each had one before Thanksgiving! Had to do it for the sake of quality control. 🙂 Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. 🙂

  2. gingerbreadcake permalink
    November 24, 2010 6:23 PM

    I love that you made something other than the tradition pumpkin pie because those brownies look incredible! I can’t get over how gorgeous your photos are, just stunning. I love pumpkin and chocolate together and I will definitely be trying out your recipe, thanks so much! 🙂 Have a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!

    • November 27, 2010 10:08 PM

      Thanks so much. Got lucky and a decent amount of natural light the day I baked these. 🙂

      The pumpkin and chocolate turned out to be a nice combination. My little niece loved them! 🙂

  3. November 24, 2010 6:25 PM

    These look SO fudgy. Yum!

  4. November 24, 2010 7:25 PM

    These brownies look delicious! I love the addition of pumpkin, it looks like it is turning the brownie into a fudge-y masterpiece. I already have my menu planned out for tomorrow but I have all the ingredients to make this so maybe i’ll make it on sunday night for my coworkers 🙂

  5. November 24, 2010 7:29 PM

    I bet those pumpkin brownies are going to steal the show tomorrow! They do look delicious!
    and who doesn’t like getting there veggies while indulging in chocolate!

    have a great thanksgiving my friend!

    • November 27, 2010 10:12 PM

      Dennis, there was so much dessert–my sister, mother and cousins all brought their own treats. I have to say it was hard to choose. My 4-year old niece loved them, though! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! 🙂

  6. November 24, 2010 10:05 PM

    pictures don’t lie.. these pumpkin-chocolate brownies look so divine. i can’t take my eyes off them… and also wish that I could also have them right now haha…
    happy thanksgiving to you and to your family… indeed you have so many things to thank for, especially having your family near you this time of the year!


  7. November 24, 2010 10:50 PM

    Holy moley, those look amazing! Great job!

  8. Kelsi permalink
    November 24, 2010 11:00 PM

    my mouth dropped when i saw this picture. these sound so good!

  9. November 24, 2010 11:12 PM

    Hi! 🙂

    your photos are gorgeous and the brownies sound yummy, I’d love to try this using local squash..thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • November 27, 2010 10:13 PM

      I bet this would be even better using your local squash rather than the canned variety I used. 🙂

  10. November 24, 2010 11:51 PM

    Those brownies look wonderful.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. November 25, 2010 2:38 AM

    Nice!! 😉 These brownies look absolutely DELICIOUS!!! ;)))


  12. November 25, 2010 3:11 AM

    they look amazing! I can sit here for hours and watch them….. 😛

  13. November 25, 2010 8:03 AM

    I love the idea of pumpkin and chocolate together! 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Jean. Have a great time in the kitchen today and a wonderful dinner with your family. Spending time with family truly is special. 🙂 Cheers!

  14. November 25, 2010 9:03 AM

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! The brownies look so good…I’ll have to try it!

  15. November 25, 2010 9:12 AM

    Why not chocolate and pumpkin together? Touche. I like how it bakes a lighter brownie because regular brownies are a bit too dense for me. So that’s what you were baking late last night. Have a wonderful holiday. Enjoy family time.

    • November 27, 2010 10:16 PM

      Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, Trish. 🙂 These brownies are definitely not as dense like traditional brownies. They’re kind of sponge-cake like. These might be more to your liking. 🙂

  16. November 25, 2010 11:03 AM

    Happy Thanksgiving! I just love these brownies – I’m always looking for a new pumpkin dessert to try each year! And I’ve got an extra can of pumpkin….

    • November 27, 2010 10:19 PM

      Isn’t it fun to play with different flavor combinations? I can’t take credit for inventing this but it was surely nice to try something new (to me). 🙂 Hope you enjoyed your turkey dinner tonight. 🙂

  17. November 25, 2010 11:18 AM

    This pumpkin-chocolate Brownies sounds so tasty. Thank you for sharing this tasty recipe. 😀

  18. November 25, 2010 1:00 PM

    I don’t do prep work either! I do everything on Thursday…which means now! I wake up early and do a baking marathon with my hubby. I like that! If I start making stuff too early then I would want to eat before the Thanksgiving dinner. That’s the case with these brownies! Did you really resist not eating them all yesterday? I would have not! They look wonderful. Happy Thanksgiving

  19. November 25, 2010 7:26 PM

    They look so fudgy! I like it! Happy Thanksgiving

  20. November 26, 2010 12:22 AM

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and congrats on Top 9. This will be an item on my Christmas menu. LOVELY!

  21. November 26, 2010 3:18 AM

    I will never say no to a chocolate brownie, especially a pumpkin one! 🙂

  22. November 26, 2010 7:12 AM

    Now chocolate and pumpkin is something I had never thought of !! i absolutely have to try that..Thanks for the idea!!

  23. November 26, 2010 9:09 AM

    They almost look like fudge! So chocolatey and I’m sure extremely delicious.. I was heading over here anyway and then I saw you made Top 9 as well 🙂 Congrats! Hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving.. have a good rest of the weekend!

  24. November 26, 2010 10:37 AM

    These do look divine…thank you for sharing…such a beautiful job with your photographs! I love brownies and I love pumpkin, so I would have no problem devouring at least a few of these! I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

  25. November 26, 2010 1:25 PM

    What an Original Thanksgiving recipe! . I would like to present you with the “One Lovely Blog “Award. Please drop by my site to pick it up when ever you are free.

  26. November 26, 2010 1:42 PM

    Beautiful pictures and the brownies look amazing! Perfectly sticky and creamy, mm.

  27. November 26, 2010 3:47 PM

    Jean, these look divine!! I have to admit I’ve never done chocolate and pumpkin together, but with our love of pumpkin, I’m certain that we would love it! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Thanksgiving is also my favorite holiday, I seem to have the same time management issues as you do…! =)
    BTW, our new mixer got a workout and we love it!!

  28. November 27, 2010 8:46 AM

    Your brownies look so good and I like that you brought some pumpkin into the mix! Congrats on your top 9 yesterday, sorry it took me a while to get over here and hope you’re relaxing after your cooking marathon 😉

  29. November 27, 2010 5:48 PM

    Congrats on Top 9! And I love your brownies, a great way to use pumpkin. I hope you and your family had a wonderful turkey day!

  30. November 28, 2010 2:15 PM

    bookmarking! pumpkin and chocolate sound like a good combo for a brownie!

  31. maria permalink
    November 29, 2010 8:23 AM

    hi, can you tell me how many grams or ounces a stick of butter is? being from the UK a ‘stick’ of butter doesnt exist here and i cant find a sure conversion.

    these look so delicious. I have everything ready to make them. Just gotta cut up that pumpkin…

    • November 29, 2010 8:49 AM

      Hi Maria, I’m sorry I missed that. One stick of butter is 4 ounces, 8 tablespoons or just slightly over 113 grams. Hope this helps!

      • maria permalink
        November 29, 2010 8:50 AM

        thankyou so much, thats a great help! 🙂

  32. November 29, 2010 9:15 AM

    Dennis loves chocolate and pumpkin… this is the perfect sweet treat for him!! I am so making these!

    Thank you for your lovely note in my blog. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Jean!

  33. November 30, 2010 1:55 PM

    If we do a blogger meet up, do you promise to bring these? If we don’t end up doing the blogger meet up, can you make me a giant pan of these anyway? I’m willing to offer trades- I’ll clean your car, walk your dog, you name it! 🙂

  34. November 30, 2010 8:38 PM

    I was going to say that I hoped your Thanksgiving was wonderful and delicious but I really don’t need to, because I know it was both! These brownies sound so neat – I would never have thought to put pumpkin in brownies but now I’m very intrigued. Thanks Jean!

  35. December 1, 2010 11:45 AM

    Pumpkin and chocolate! Certain seems like a marvelous way to use up all that extra pumpkin puree.

  36. maria permalink
    December 1, 2010 2:23 PM

    goodness, SO YUMMY…

    I overestimated the bicarbonate of soda (baking powder?) and used a springform cake tin – so i ended up with what was basically a delicious dense moist chocolate pumpkin cake. NO COMPLAINTS HERE

    • December 1, 2010 5:33 PM

      Maria, thanks so much for trying the recipe–and liking it! Even with the right amount of baking powder, this brownie had a more cake-like texture, unlike most others. So glad it worked out for you. I bet it was even better using fresh pumpkin. Thanks! 🙂


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