Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

I don’t know where the time goes between the moment I step inside my apartment after a full day of work and…well, now.  It is now 10pm as I type, the minutes slipping by as I think of what to say next…

Pumpkins.  Before this holiday season, I was completely averse to pumpkin pies, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin anything, really.  Why?  Because whenever I ate something that had pumpkin, there was a taste of something unpleasant, reminiscent of trips to the dentist when I would smell the dental filling or whatever it was he was putting in my mouth.  Until I had my friend G’s pumpkin cheesecake, which I wrote about in a much earlier post and even included the recipe.  And I realized, not all pumpkin dishes have that funny, medicinal taste that reminds me of the smell of dental filling.  He managed to leave out that something that made me dislike pumpkin pies and cheesecakes.

And so because of this little revelation, that not all pumpkin pies and cheesecakes were evil, I then attempted my own pumpkin pie.  That one was also a success and I also fell in like with the recipe (the recipe had cream cheese and I can’t resist cream cheese-based desserts).  Tonight, I bring you…the pumpkin cheesecake swirl brownie!

Inspired by a few recipes I found online for a pumpkin cream cheese swirl bar, I really wanted to use a brownie “base” instead of what the recipe I found had to offer.  So I went in search of a true brownie with a pumpkin cheesecake swirl, and found a recipe from a blog called Perry’s Plate.  The recipe is below:
Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

(from Perry’s Plate blog, which was adapted from Cara’s Cravings)

Brownie Batter:
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 T vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cheesecake Batter:
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
2 T flour
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp each ground ginger and ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8″ or a 11×7″ baking pan.

For the Brownies:
Beat together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla, then beat in eggs one at a time. Combine dry ingredients in small bowl, and then gradually stir into butter mixture by hand.

For the Cheesecake:
In another bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in remainder of ingredients until smooth.

Spread about 2/3 of chocolate batter into prepared pan. Spread the pumpkin batter over top, distributing evenly. Drop the remaining brownie batter over cheesecake batter. To make the swirls, run a butter knife back and forth through the pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the center doesn’t jiggle when you nudge the pan. Cool completely and chill before cutting and serving.

Although I’m sure the brownie part is excellent, I only used the cheesecake batter part of this recipe and used my mother’s brownie recipe instead.  Unfortunately, I won’t be posting her recipe, as it is one of her “perfected” recipes, which means that it now must be kept in the family.  When I was a little girl, my mom’s best friend’s kids used to go crazy when my mom would gift them with these brownies for the holidays.  To quote Barney from one of my favorite shows, How I Met Your Mother, these brownies are legen — wait for it! — dary!  Legendary!  But the legendary recipe for the legendary brownies need to stay in the family.  Sorry guys!
(As a side note, I did figure out what it was about pumpkin pies and cheesecakes that I’d tried that made me dislike pumpkin desserts.  Looking at the recipe for the cheesecake batter above, I suspected it might have been ground cloves, from the way the whole cloves smelled when I was making the fondant pumpkins for the Thanksgiving cupcakes.  I was right!  I opened my little jar of ground cloves and that smell just reached up and grabbed my nose.  Needless to say, I left out the cloves.  I substituted some nutmeg instead.  Nutmeg, by the way, I do not really love, but in small doses, I can tolerate.  It was the lesser of two evils for me.)

Anyway, after mixing the batters (I made the cheesecake batter first), I spread about 2/3 of the brownie batter in the pan (I used a pretty big pan, since my mom’s brownie recipe is doubled by default — which means I also doubled the cheesecake batter) and then on top of that poured the cheesecake batter and spread evenly.

The rest of the brownie batter was put onto the cheesecake layer in drops.

Then I took a knife and cut through the batter to form swirls.


And that is how the story goes.  Since the pan was huge, I did end up baking for over an hour.  Originally, my mom’s recipe calls for baking at 325 F for 45 minutes minimum, but since there was the added factor of the cheesecake, it took a little over an hour.

As predicted, these brownies were incredibly indulgent and rich.  Two small slices and I literally felt them settling down in my stomach.  Quite heavy, but they definitely hit the spot.  The kind of brownies that would induce a bout of self-hatred should one overindulge.  But it would be well worth it!  If I believed that you really could find  your way to a man’s heart through his stomach, these brownies would be my magic slippers to carry me down that road.

I think next time I’ll be trying the first pumpkin cream cheese swirl bars that I found.  Just to compare and contrast with this one…

2 thoughts on “Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

  1. Every year I give pumpkin pie a try, and I've yet to taste one I liked. This year was close — it had hardly any of those overpowering spices (which are tasty on their own in other dishes). Maybe I just don't like pumpkin! I'd give your recipe a try though. Ahem, who are your taste testers these days? 🙂

  2. YUUUM! These look amazing and I think I'm practically drooling over those pictures! 🙂

    As for tabouli, I think bulgar wheat is often used but I've substituted barley before when I couldn't find the right grain. And yes, I think it's traditionally served cold but I bet it would be good warm too!

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