I hate baking, I really do. Because no matter what I try to bake, no matter how simple, it always ends up being a massive cleanup for me. All I need do is lift the lid off of the flour canister, and suddenly I'm wearing it. Plus, it's on the floor, it's on the countertops, it's everywhere. This involves getting out major cleaning products, not to mention the vacuum, and in some cases the hardwood floor cleaner. If I try to wipe up the floor with a damp cloth, invariably that cloth will be too damp, yielding a floury goo that needs serious seeing to.
So, you have to know, that if I'm going to bake, it's going to be for someone special, or because the end result is something special. Such was the case today, when I decided to make Martha Stewart's Pumpkin Swirl Brownies for my number one son who agreed to brave the fierce and help me clean out my pantry.
It had been years since I last made these, but I had written on the recipe that we really enjoyed them. I'm not going to lie to you, these things are trouble. I was trying to relax today, and not upset myself during the baking process, ending up completely having to eliminate the nuts because I failed to locate and chop them, and had trouble swirling the two mixtures, because in my forced state of relaxation, I failed to read ahead in the recipe where it said "working quickly." Sigh.
Next time I'll use the nuts and, maybe, just maybe, I'll sprinkle some mini chocolate chips on top. I do love the combination of pumpkin and chocolate. These brownies, cake-like right out of the oven, are even better when refrigerated overnight and served at room temperature the following day. Something magical happens when these are allowed to rest for a while. Also, don't be afraid of the cayenne. These are in no way hot or spicy, the pepper just adds a wonderful depth.
Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts or other nuts
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil; spray bottom and sides with Pam.
Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl in a microwave oven at 20-second intervals, stirring between each (1 minute).
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 2 medium bowls (about 2 cups per bowl). Stir chocolate mixture into one bowl. In other bowl, stir in pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Transfer half of chocolate batter to prepared pan smoothing top with a rubber spatula. Top with half of pumpkin batter. Repeat to make 1 more chocolate layer and 1 more pumpkin layer. Work quickly so batters don't set.
With a small spatula or a table knife, gently swirl the 2 batters to create a marbled effect. Sprinkle with nuts.
Bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares.
This post is linked to: Dishing it and Digging it, Amaze Me Monday, Cooking & Crafting with J&J, What’s for Dinner Sunday, BLUE Monday, Art of Homemaking Monday, Make it Pretty Monday, Inspire Me Tuesday, TUESDAYS AT OUR HOME