If there’s one guarantee, it’s definitely that I will never get a job as a baker. I don’t know what the issue is, but I somehow manage to mess up everything I bake. Usually, despite measuring everything out, I end up with about 1/2 of what the recipe is supposed to create, leaving me scrambling to find another container to bake in or ending up with thin, oddly shaped results.
Luckily, most of my not-so-perfect creations end up tasting great, and while I wish my baking skills would allow me to make something I would actually serve outside my house, I do enjoy having home baked treats like these Pumpkin Spice Brownies, adapted from Yum Sugar who adapted Martha Stewart’s Layered Pumpkin Brownies.
I gathered the ingredients for the brownies, mostly according to the recipe. I used the correct amount of flour, eggs, baking powder, etc. but decided to go my own direction with add-ons, grabbing some cacao powder and pumpkin pie spice in lieu of the individual spices the recipe called for. Surely, those changes shouldn’t have made the amount of batter so teeny tiny? I just don’t know.
I love spice and chocolate, so I definitely went crazy with the cayenne pepper, adding 1/2 teaspoon instead of 1/8. I also tossed in a generous shake of the pumpkin pie spice.
There comes a point where the basic batter is divided, and that’s when I realized I did NOT have two cups of each batter. I went with it, creating the fudgy chocolate brownie side in one bowl and the creamy pumpkin side in another.
Then I grabbed a smaller pan than planned and layered the brownies. The chocolate part, I am imagining due to the addition of cacao powder, was a little dry and more like fudge than a batter. But I went for it, pressing the doughy mix into my baking dish and topping it with a layer of soft pumpkin batter.
I kept a close eye on the brownies since they were in different dish and pulled them out about 25 minutes into cooking. I waited with baited breath until they cooled and was so excited when they came out looking like this and tasting great! I LOVE the spicy cayenne flavor, the rich chocolate, and the fall-spiced pumpkin, which gives the brownies a nice softness. This is a definite make-again recipe, perhaps for my Thanksgiving feast! But it also got me thinking. . . does anyone like the taste of pumpkin itself? Or is it just the spices and flavors that come with it? Because the smell and taste of straight up canned pumpkin definitely is not my favorite, but I love all things pumpkin. Your thoughts?
Layered Pumpkin Brownies
Adapted from Martha Stewart
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon solid-pack pumpkin
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a mini muffin pan.
- Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl in microwave, stirring occasionally until smooth.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
- Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until fluffy and well combined, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture.
- Divide batter between two medium bowls (about 2 cups per bowl). Stir chocolate mixture into one bowl. In other bowl, stir in pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Fill the muffin pans with brownie mixture first and top with pumpkin batter. Can repeat to create several layers, if wanted. Sprinkle with nuts and chocolate chips, if wanted.
- Bake until set, 20 to 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 36-48 mini muffins.