Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bittersweet Brownies with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

 Remember last week, when I mentioned something special I was working on? Well, this week was supposed to be pumpkin week here, but... life (and a pretty cool order that I'll tell you about soon) got in the way, and we're left with 2 pumpkiny recipes. But they're pretty great.
  I am slightly obsessed with anything "fall-flavored," from pumpkin spice lattes to cinnamon pancakes. I tried out something totally different with these brownies, and to my surprise, it totally worked.
 The brownies are dark, chewy, thin, and super chocolatey. They may be a new favorite, especially to use as a base for other variations. On top comes a cream cheese frosting mixed with pumpkin puree that is insane - it's sugar and spice and everything nice. (Too much? Sorry...)
 These are unlike any other fall treat that might be sitting in one of your Pinterest boards, and totally worth a shot - who knows, they might become a new Fall go-to for you, too!
Bittersweet Brownies with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Bittersweet Brownies
3 ounces (85 grams) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
1 1/3 cups (265 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt (about 2 grams)
2/3 cup (85 grams) all-purpose flour

Heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment, extending it up two sides, or foil. Butter the parchment or foil or spray it with a nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, melt chocolate and butter together until only a couple unmelted bits remain. Off the heat, stir until smooth and fully melted. You can also do this in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Stir in flour with a spoon or flexible spatula and scrape batter into prepared pan, spread until even. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out batter-free.
Let cool before frosting.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting
(adapted from Chow)
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature
1/4 cup pumpkin purée (not pie filling)

Place the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.
Place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until fully combined and smooth, about 1 minute.
Reduce the speed to low, slowly add the powdered sugar mixture, and beat until fully incorporated and smooth, about 3 minutes.
Turn the mixer to medium speed, add the pumpkin, and mix until fully incorporated and smooth, about 1 minute. You may need to add more powdered sugar to reach desired consistency.

Frost pan of cooled brownies. (You may have frosting left over. Just eat it with a spoon use it on cupcakes!) Refrigerate frosted brownies for about 15 minutes before cutting.
   -Makes about 20 brownies, depending on how large you cut them.

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