Pumpkin Spice Brownies

Since the advent of social media,  Halloween seems to have become less about kids running around with pillowcases full of candy, and more about crafty adults trying to one-up each other in the costume department on Facebook.  I'm not bashing it, as I willfully take part in this shameless "Halloween Peacock-ing" as I like to call it, but I sometimes have to wonder how much time I'd devote to things like pumpkin-carving and costume-making in my late twenties, if it wasn't going to get a good picture out of it.  There, I said it.  I'm a Halloween-y fake.

I'm not saying I don't enjoy a good haunted bash like the one my buddy just threw on Saturday, but a part of me is also checking the clock to make sure that I don't turn into a pumpkin.  'Cause I'm tired, y'all.  And on some level, I just can't compete anymore with the university students costumed from head-to-toe on the subway, with their only moderately concealed "pumpkin punch".  They can get a little too into character, if you know what I mean.  Suddenly, I'm scared that Dorothy will try to throw a ruby slipper at me or that Toto might try to bite me.  Yikes!!

Which is why I try to stick as much as possible to the periphery of such festivities.  But I can't resist making an All Hallow's Eve-inspired treat, even if it is partially so that I can upload the end result to Instagram.  I came across a Pumpkin Swirl Brownie recipe on Smitten Kitchen and thought I'd give it a go, then I got too lazy to delicately swirl, and just goop'd the whole thing together. The result is a slightly orange-hued brownie I call the Pumpkin Spice Brownie.  It's better than the best Pumpkin Spice Latte that money can buy.  So next time you want to drop $5 on a seasonal coffee, just whip up a batch of these instead!

Pumpkin Spice Brownies:
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen


1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped. I used high-quality 60% cacao bittersweet baking chips
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
A pinch of crushed chilli flakes
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup solid canned pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
A handful of crushed walnuts for the top (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 (or 325 if your oven is piping hot like mine). Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with vegetable oil. 

1- Melt butter and bittersweet chocolate in a pan on medium heat until smooth, making sure to stir well so that your mixture doesn't burn or bubble.
2-In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and chili flakes.  Set aside. 
3-In another bowl, mix sugar, eggs, and vanilla together until light and fluffy.  Then beat in your flour mixture until well combined.  This creates batter.
4 Now pour about 2 cups of your batter into a separate bowl and stir your chocolate mixture into it.
With the remaining batter, stir in pumpkin, vegetable oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Now you've got a chocolate batter and a pumpkin batter.
5-Now this is where I got really lazy and decided to opt out of the extra work that would make my brownies look that much snazzier. Here are your options:

Go-getter option for Pumpkin Swirl Brownies: Pour your batters out in layers to create the marbled effect. Start by pouring a base that is half chocolate into your greased square pan (quickly before it hardens) then pouring a layer of pumpkin.  Repeat this process once more until you've used all your batters, then take a table knife and gently swirl the batters until you get a beautifully marbled brownie.

Lazy-pants option for Pumpkin Spice Brownies: Decide against all that fussy work, and just combine both your batters together and pour into your pan. Sprinkle a little walnut on top for good measure. You'll have a slightly orange-tinged, pumpkin spice brownie.  It might not not look as neat, but heck it all goes into the belly just the same.

7-Bake these on the middle rack of your oven for 40-45 minutes. Let cool for a long time before trying to cut. You can even refrigerate these bad boys, as they are really, really, moist (as every good brownie should be).

Enjoy your Halloween! Be safe, and please take plenty of excellent pictures of you costumed up "having fun"!

A fine example of Halloween Peacock-ing. I present to you Mr. & Mrs. Universe.