The Best Pumpkin Cream Cheese-Filled Brownies
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Rich, fudgy brownies with a layer of pumpkin cream cheese and topped with decadent chocolate ganache.
They’re worth the cardio, I promise.
A few months ago I made The Best Turtle Brownies and they were some of the best brownies I’ve ever had.
They’re fudgy, not at all cakey, ridiculously rich, boldly chocolaty, and I had to use that base and incorporate pumpkin. I love chocolate and pumpkin together.
The pumpkin cream cheese layer reminds me of a pumpkin-flavored version of Cream Cheese-Filled Banana Bread. It’s always a win to have a layer of cheesecake inside your brownies, especially when it’s pumpkin cheesecake.
The ganache takes the brownies into unadulterated chocolate overload territory and I loved it. The last time I posted a blog recipe with ganache was back in the summer of 2012 The Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache and I was overdue.
I love the texture of the ganache because it barely sets and it’s so fudgy and indulgent when you bite down. And it’s as easy as turning on the microwave. Why bother with a much more labor-intensive buttercream if you don’t have to.
The hardest part of the recipe is waiting for the brownies to cool completely before slicing. There’s too much fudginess, soft pumpkin cheesecake filling, and drippy ganache to slice into until they’ve cooled completely. Slicing too early will result in a hot, gooey mess.
I prefer brownies this rich to be served slightly chilled anyway. You can make them far in advance of an event because they’ll keep for a couple weeks in the fridge.
And it’ll be so tempting every time you walk past the fridge not to straighten out the rows.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 6 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Trader Joe’s 72% Pound Plus Bar)
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon brewed coffee (leftover or cold coffee is okay), optional but recommended
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso granules, optional but recommended
- pinch salt, optional and to taste
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filling
- 1 large egg
- 4 ounces brick-style cream cheese (lite is okay), well-softened
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 2/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup half-and-half or cream
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil leaving overhang and spray with cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
- Brownies – In a large microwave-safe bowl, add the butter, chocolate, and heat on high power to melt, about 2 minutes total. Stop to check and stir after 1 minute. Heat in 15-second increments until chocolate has melted and mixture can be stirred smooth. Allow mixture to cool momentarily before adding the eggs so they don’t scramble.
- Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla, optional coffee, optional espresso granules (neither make brownies taste like coffee and both enhance and round out the chocolate flavor), optional salt, and whisk vigorously to combine.
- Add the flour and stir until smooth and combined.
- Turn half the batter out into prepared pan (I draw an imaginary line down the center of the batter with my spatula while it’s in the mixing bowl and eyeballing it, I pour half into pan); reserve remainder.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until top has just set in the center; don’t overbake because pan is going back into oven. While brownies bake, prepare the filling.
- Filling – In a medium bowl, add the egg, cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and whisk to combine or beat with a hand mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes on medium-high power.
- Add the flour and stir until smooth and combined.
- After brownies have baked for about 15 minutes, remove pan from oven and using a spatula carefully, gently, and evenly spread the filling mixture over the brownies.
- Evenly top with reserved brownie batter, smoothing it lightly with a spatula. It’s normal for it to have thickened up some. I find it easiest to add golf ball-sized dollops of batter around the pan and then smooth them together with a spatula, taking care to do so gently as to not disturb the pumpkin layer. A little messy is okay because it’ll be covered with ganache.
- Bake for about 24 to 25 minutes, or until center has just set and is no longer glossy. The toothpick test is unreliable because you’re going to hit gooey pumpkin so it’s better to just eyeball it. Place pan on a wire rack to cook while you make the ganache.
- Ganache – In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add the chocolate chips, cream, and heat on high power to melt, about 2 minutes total. Stop to check and stir after 1 minute. Heat in 15-second increments until chocolate has mostly melted and mixture can be whisked smooth.
- Pour ganache over brownies (it’s okay they haven’t cooled completely), smoothing the top lightly with a spatula and pushing ganache into the corners. Allow brownies to cool uncovered at room temp for about one hour. Cover with a sheet of foil to prevent fridge smells, and place pan in fridge for about 3 hours (overnight is best), or until sufficiently chilled for slicing. Lift brownies out using foil overhang, slice, and serve. At room temp the ganache doesn’t set up much, but in the fridge it turns thicker without becoming rock solid. I prefer these brownies slightly chilled and store them in the fridge. Brownies will keep airtight at room temp for up to 1 week, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 455Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 74mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 4gSugar: 31gProtein: 7g
If you haven’t already pre-ordered it, Cooking With Pumpkin: Recipes That Go Beyond the Pie is my second cookbook and the official release date is October 6.
There’s over 50 pumpkin recipes including sweets, savory, drinks, and a photo for nearly every recipe. I’d be super grateful if you headed over to Amazon.
Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars – Super soft and are like biting into a piece of rich pumpkin fudge! Loaded with chocolate and crazy good!!
The Best Turtle Brownies – Super fudgy and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! So.crazy.good!!!
The Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache – The best chocolate cake I’ve ever had, and the easiest to make! Nothing fussy or complicated & delivers amazing results every time!
Salted Caramel Pretzel-Topped Fudgy Brownies – Super fudgy scratch brownies as easy as a mix!
Cream Cheese-Filled Pumpkin Bread – Pumpkin bread that’s like having cheesecake baked in! Soft, fluffy, easy and tastes ahhhh-mazing!
Cream Cheese-Filled Banana Bread – Banana bread that’s like having cheesecake baked in! Soft, fluffy, easy and tastes ahhhh-mazing!
Homemade Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies – If you’ve never had a Cosmic Brownie, change that asap! If you have, then you know how dangerously good it is to be able to make them at home!
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