Pumpkin Spice Brownies

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.

pumpkin spice 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.

pumpkin spice brownies


















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.


brownie batter

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.

pumpkin batter

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?

pumpkin spice brownies


Pumpkin Brownie Recipe, adapted from Yum Sugar

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


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a mini muffin pan.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl in microwave, stirring occasionally until smooth.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Bake until set, 20 to 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 36-48 mini muffins.

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Tags: baking, brownies, dessert, Food, pumpkin, recipe

  1. Emily @ A Cambridge Story’s avatar

    Sounds like we’ve both been craving chocolate and pumpkin! Love that you add some spice here.


  2. Elina (Healthy and Sane)’s avatar

    So weird how you followed instructions and it still wasn’t right. Your changes look amazing!
    PS – that cacao powder is my favorite. Pricey but so chocolaty, I haven’t bought anything else since trying it the first time.


  3. Elizabeth’s avatar

    I saw your tweets about these. They look tasty!


  4. Kim’s avatar

    i want these in my mouth right now!!! i made pumpkin coffee cake with a brown sugar glaze that i brought to michelles on saturday which was divine. (and im with you, straight up canned pumpkin = gross…but all things baked with pumpkin (and booze with pumpkin) = a-mazing!)


  5. Daisy’s avatar

    this is such a fun recipe! I feel the same way about baking! I just made pumpkin whoopie pies and was saying how different they all looked, meaning I have no patience when it comes to piping or frosting or anything to that extent.


  6. Heather’s avatar

    I love to bake – but don’t have much time to do it sadly!

    I am also not a fan of pumpkin by itself but mixed with chocolate or oatmeal (or both) – and a little bit of sweetener – it is delicious!


  7. Erica @ In and Around Town’s avatar

    If you had not told me things went wrong during the making of this dessert, I would have never known! These look and sound delicious. Love the pumpkin spice and cayanne in there…


  8. Michelle’s avatar

    I share the same baking affliction but this past weekend, I made blueberry streusel muffins and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies that turned out okay! I still haven’t made anything with pumpkin yet this fall. I think I may have pumpkin-ed out from last year.


  9. Eileen’s avatar

    Pumpkin spice brownies sound like the perfect snack to me. Pumpkin makes everything so moist.


  10. Shannon’s avatar

    I love the addition of cayenne in these! I made a similar dessert last week but next time I make it I’ll throw in some cayenne.


  11. Megan’s avatar

    I have a theory that a lot of people just like the spices that are traditional to pumpkin stuff… but maybe I’m wrong. I don’t like pumpkin straight out of the can, but I’d eat roasted pumpkin on its own.

    These sound amazing. And it looks like your swaps worked out. I wonder if we need a confidence-building trip to KAF. :)


  12. Betsy’s avatar

    I love the idea of adding cayenne to this! I’d love if you’d add your recipe to our seasonal potluck. http://bit.ly/eLlgG2


  13. Ann’s avatar

    I absolutely love roasted butternut pumpkin. I’ve never had pumpkin in a dessert before, I think it’s probably an American thing. This recipe sounds delicious though especially the cayenne hit.


  14. Jaime’s avatar

    this sounds delicious!!!


  15. Alaina’s avatar

    I am the same way! I thought I like pumpkin, but I really just like the spices that come with it. :-)

    I think I know what to make with my pumpkin!


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