Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

Fall desserts often involve pumpkin and warming spices, but who says you can’t work a little chocolate into the mix? These Green & Black’s Organic chocolate brownies topped with pumpkin almond butter are the perfect blend of two favourite desserts, pumpkin pie and brownies. With Thanksgiving fast approaching, there’s no better time to try them out than for your holiday meal!

*Recipe courtesy of Regina Braun in collaboration with Green & Black’s

Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies
 
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces Green & Black’s Organic 85% Dark Chocolate
  • ⅓ cup butter or coconut oil
  • 1-1/2 cups coconut sugar or unrefined sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Pumpkin Almond Butter Frosting:
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1-3 tablespoons almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F. Line an 8 or 9-inch square pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a sauce pan melt Green & Black’s Organic 85% Dark Chocolate and butter/coconut oil on low heat while stirring regularly.
  3. Once melted, stir in the sugar and pumpkin puree, then eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and sea salt. Add the dry to the wet ingredients and fold in without over mixing.
  5. Pour the brownie batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. For fudgy brownies a toothpick inserted into the centre should come out with just a few wet crumbs attached.
  6. Let the brownies cool before frosting and cutting.
  7. For the frosting, stir together all ingredients in a small bowl. Add more milk to achieve desired consistency. Thicker frosting has to be spread, while thinner icing can be drizzled.

 

Pomegranate Brownies

Oh technology. I was saving this post for later in the week but then my finger slipped and I pressed “publish” instead of “save draft”. But hey, what the heck? I think we can all go for some pomegranate brownies now, right?
Pomegranate has officially replaced pumpkin as my favourite ingredient right now so I decided to add them to the batter. I would like to take credit for the idea, but truthfully I saw pomegranate brownies over at Twigg Studios. The sourness of the pomegranate seeds actually does wonders to cut the richness of these brownies. And believe me, they are rich. For the most part I am totally down for making healthy desserts. But when it comes to brownies, you need two critical ingredients, butter and chocolate. I don’t care what people say about adding beans and avocados and applesauce (I have done all of these things myself and yes, they produce a yummy product but it’s not the same). If you want a rich, fudgy, decadent and totally over the top brownie, it’s not going to be good for you. Period.
People just need to wrap their heads around the fact that every once in awhile, that’s not going to kill you.
Just look at these. For me at least, it would be much worse to go without.
Pomegranate Brownies
Pomegranate Brownies
Pomegranate Brownies
Pomegranate Brownies

Pomegranate Brownies
Makes 9

Ingredients

170g dark chocolate, 70%
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 pomegranate, seeded

Instructions

1. Heat your oven to 350F. Prepare an 8″ or 9″ square pan by lining it with parchment paper.
2. Melt together the butter and chocolate, either over a double boiler or just in the microwave. Stir to incorporate and set it aside to cool slightly.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt.
4. Add the cooled melted chocolate/butter to the egg mixture, whisking to combine.
5. Stir in the flour, mixing until it is just combined. Then stir in most of the pomegranate seeds, reserving about 1/3 cup.
6. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup of pomegranate seeds over the top. Using your hand, press them lightly into the batter but not so much that they no longer show on the surface.
7. Bake at 350F for about 30-40 minutes. The outer edges should be matte and set while the middle remains slightly glossy.
8. Cool to room temperature, refrigerate and slice. And then eat of course!

Pomegranate Brownies
Pomegranate Brownies

Skinny Cheesecake Brownie Bites

skinny cheesecake brownie bites
skinny cheesecake brownie bites

Let’s be real here, some days you just want a big, fat slab of whatever chocolately, over-the-top rich deliciousness you can get your hands on. No matter what the caloric cost, you are going to eat it and not feel any guilt whatsoever. Cue the fat kid cake. To me, that type of indulgence is perfectly healthy every once in awhile.

But for those days when you still need your sugar fix without eating some sort of gut-bomb dessert, there has to be some lighter alternatives. That’s where today’s recipe comes in.

Baking with applesauce is not a new idea. I’ve added it to brownies before and regularly use it in muffins and cookies of all varieties (like these chocolate oatmeal ones).

Back to the brownie idea, applesauce can be substituted for some (not all) of the butter to help reduce the fat content. It will produce a brownie that is lighter than your traditional melted butter/melted chocolate recipe but where do you think all of that dense fudgy-ness is coming from? If you guessed melted butter/melted chocolate, you are basically a genius.

So what do we do to combat this and add in that extra richness? Well we don’t just make brownie bites, we make skinny cheesecake brownie bites. Now we can all have our brownies and eat them too! Ready, set, go!

skinny cheesecake brownie bites
skinny cheesecake brownie bites
Skinny Cheesecake Brownie Bites

Makes 16

Brownie Batter

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda

Heat your oven to 350F. Prepare a 24 cup mini muffin tin by spraying it with PAM or other cooking spray. Whisk together the brown sugar, white sugar, egg, applesauce, oil and vanilla bean paste. Add the remaining dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Portion the batter into the greased mini muffin tins (you can use a mini cookie scoop or just a spoon). Then put a dollop of cheesecake batter on top of each (see recipe below). Depending on how you want the brownie bites to look you can swirl the cheesecake in with a toothpick (that’s what I did) or you can pipe it onto one side of the brownie batter to create a half white/half brown effect. Bake at 350F for 13-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool before removing them from the muffin tins. If you try to do it too soon you run the risk of them falling apart, they are on the delicate side. And if you find that they aren’t coming out, gently run a knife around the outside of each and prod them out with a little encouragement. Talk nicely to the brownie bites while you do this and they will be kind to you (hopefully). Enjoy!

Cheesecake Batter

4 oz. light cream cheese
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract if you can’t find it)
1 egg yolk

Cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add in the vanilla and egg yolk, beating until everything is incorporated. Dollop on top of brownie batter and bake!

Salted Caramel Brownies

Well winter is here everyone. At least in Alberta, that’s for sure. And I am loving every bit of it! Well maybe not the shovelling part or the scraping snow off of my car part, but mostly every bit of it. Did I mention that I got winter tires for the first time this year? I wasn’t really into giving up like a thousand bucks for them, but let me tell you, I’m a convert. Winter tires = amazing = crazy Nascar driving skills in the snow. Best investment ever.
Know what winter also means? Warm fireplaces and hot chocolate and if you are feeling extra decadent, some comforting brownies. Get your chocolate intake in ever possible way; drink it, eat it, you name it. If I was in a coma, I would hope that someone pumped some melted Lindt through my IV. Maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea but in theory… Anyways the point is, if you are kind of depressed with the weather (or if anything else is getting you down), brownies are a pretty fool-proof way of rectifying that. At least for the time being. And who knows? With Calgary’s strange weather patterns, the snow could be melted by tomorrow. Although I highly doubt it.
salted caramel brownies
Salted Caramel Brownies
3 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup butter
170 g dark chocolate (70% or higher)
1/2 cup pastry flour
1/2 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen – optional (could substitute for other berries or any nuts of your choice)
For the caramel:
1/2 cup white sugar
2-3 tbsp water
3 tbsp whipping cream
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a 8″ square pan with parchment and set it aside. To make the brownie batter, first melt together the butter and chocolate. This can either be done over a double boiler or in the microwave. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, sugars and vanilla. After the chocolate and butter has cooled slightly, add this to the eggs. Whisk to combine then add the last ingredient, the flour. Once everything is incorporated this can be poured into the prepared pan.
As for the caramel, heat the water and sugar on high. Don’t stir it, just gently swirl the pan occasionally until it turns a dark amber color. It tastes best if you try to cook it was far as you can without burning it. Which admittedly is a pretty fine line. Once the color is to your liking, remove it from the heat, adding the cream and salt. Careful as it will bubble quite vigorously at first. Stir to combine before pouring the caramel on top of the awaiting brownie batter. If you are using the raspberries or another garnish of your choice, arrange these on top before putting it in the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes depending on how gooey you like your brownies. Keep in mind that if you opt to refrigerate them, they will firm up quite a bit because of the high amount of butter and chocolate. Cool, slice and enjoy. And they are rich, don’t say I didn’t warn you!
salted caramel brownies
salted caramel brownies
salted caramel brownies
salted caramel brownies

Baking with Applesauce Part 2

To say that I am an addict to chocolate would be an understatement. Is life even worth living without it? Really?
Honestly it’s this bad – so I bought a bar of sea salt dark chocolate at Superstore the other day. Theoretically it was supposed to be my final chocolate purchase before heading back to Calgary this coming Friday. I’m not sure who I was trying to kid, it was gone within 2 days, 3 tops. And so where do I find myself today? Shopper’s buying, you guessed it, more chocolate. It was even on sale 2 for $5. That’s how I will validate buying twice as much as I originally did a few days ago, at least it was on sale. Needless to say, I think I can make it until Friday. Hopefully.
It would be an interesting experiment to tally up my chocolate expenses for one year. Or perhaps terrifying would be a better descriptor.
Anyways, my chocolate obsession isn’t limited to Lindt Dark Chocolate Sea Salt and 70% bars (although I am a purist). 3 ingredient chocolate mousse – just eggs, sugar and dark chocolate? I’m a fan. Brownies? Sign me up. Vegan brownies? Hey vegans have the right to eat chocolate too. I don’t eat meat myself so I definitely understand how quality dark chocolate satisfies that savoury, umami-like craving. Call me crazy, but stop eating meat and you will see what I mean.
I don’t consume a lot of dairy or eggs so I could probably become vegan myself. If it wasn’t for the fact that the most chocolate out there (along with the majority of products on your grocery store shelves) contains (or even “may contain”) traces of dairy. Thankfully, these brownies just use cocoa powder so you don’t have to worry about that little dilemma. Just make sure you bake them enough, that’s the only dilemma I had. It was definitely my fault, not the recipe. If only I had some patience.
Any way you slice it (well “slice them” technically), these brownies are pretty decent for a recipe containing no eggs and no butter. And if they get my pass, they must be good right? Or is my opinion skewed because I will eat anything with even trace amounts of chocolate regardless? Come on, I do have standards!
Anyways, Happy Victoria Day to all of my fellow Canadians. I don’t know about you, but it’s at least 25 degrees here in Charlottetown. I’ll take it! Enjoy!
Vegan brownies
Vegan brownies

Vegan Brownies

adapted from AllRecipes

– 2 cups flour
– 1 1/2 cups sugar
– 3/4 cup cocoa
– 1 tsp. baking powder
– 1 cup water
– 1/2 cup oil
– 1/2 cup applesauce
– peanut butter (optional)

Super simple. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Mix together the dry ingredients, mix together the wet ingredients then combine everything until all of the flour, etc. is incorporated. Line a pan (around a 9″ square one works good, if you want thinner brownies, a 9″x13″) with parchment paper. Pour the batter into it and bake for at least 30 minutes (could be closer to 35-40 depending on your oven). If it still looks tacky in the center, keep the brownies in for longer. I was in a rush and definitely made the mistake of pulling them out too early. The outer edges will set before the middle. Don’t get me wrong, I love under-baked brownies but remember, these use cocoa rather than melted chocolate. And there’s no butter. Get where I am going with this? Basically they won’t firm up that much once they are cooled (because the ingredients aren’t solid to begin with).

What am I thinking?! I almost forgot the most important part. Excuse me while I back-track a bit. After you pan them but before you bake them, you can introduce some peanut butter to the party. Take little blobs of it and spoon them on top of the batter. You can add as much or as little as you like.Then use a knife to swirl it in. Totally optional, but a yummy option at that.

Vegan brownies
Vegan brownies
Vegan brownies
Vegan brownies