A lot of you have been eating Quinoa and Kale Salad; Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownies are your reward. We’ve been using pumpkin and/or fall squash almost every day. There is a container of yesterday’s oven roasted pumpkin in the ‘fridge for today’s brownies and ravioli. There is almost no excuse for using canned pumpkin at this time of year. Fresh is supremely better, so we encourage you to roast one or two, use what you need and freeze the rest for later. Buy canned if you must, but stay far, far away from flavorless, practically gray “One-Pie Pumpkin” opting instead for “Libby’s Canned Pumpkin” or “Farmer’s Market Organic Canned.”
This recipe calls for butter, but you may substitute coconut oil. It also calls for 1 teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice, a blend of aromatic spices that you can likely recreate from your spice cupboard. Resist the temptation to used more than is called for as your goal is a balance between the delicate and subtle flavors of the maple sugar, pumpkin, and spice in tandem with the light tanginess of the cream cheese. Your kitchen will be redolent with the scent of pumpkin and spice when you bake these fall treats:
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownies – Makes 9 – 16 depending on how you slice them
3/4 cup (4.5 oz.) gluten-free flour mix (yours, ours, or Trader Joe’s)
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1 cup (5 oz.) maple sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
8 oz. cream cheese
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, and cooled
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons gluten-free flour mix
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare an 8 x 8 baking pan by lining it with parchment paper.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk to blend.
3. Combine the maple sugar and melted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer; blend on medium speed.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, blending well after especially the first addition to insure the batter is smooth.
5. Add the flour mix all at once and blend on low, scraping down as needed until the batter is even. Fold in the pumpkin puree, making sure it’s well incorporated – try not to over beat.
6. In a food processor combine the cream cheese, egg yolk, maple syrup, and melted butter. Puree until smooth. Add the 2 teaspoons of flour and mix again, scraping down as needed.
7. Layer half the pumpkin batter in the prepared pan, making sure some of it gets to the corners. Dot on half the cream cheese batter. Repeat. Using a toothpick or the edge of a thin knife, swirl the batters to decoratively combine the two and create an even surface.
8. Bake at 350 F for 45 to 50 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch. Cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from the pan and cutting.
Enjoy these special fall treats!