So, friend Thomas asked me last week if I'd make something for him to take to his work's Thanksgiving Pot Luck Deal. I said sure, and asked him what he wanted me to make. His answer? Whatever. Something heart clogging and pastry-like. Gee--I guess I should be flattered that he thought of me in conjunction with that list of criteria.
Anyway, I called friend Roberta, Thomas's espoused, and told her that her husband was useless. She concurred and then said she had no idea what he had in mind. I had just made those amazing brownies a few days ago, so I told her that I'd make pumpkin cheesecake swirlie brownies. She said that sounded Awesome, and that was that.
Then, later on, she sent me an email with "Useless" in the subject line. Regarding You Know Who. Obviously. She wrote that he was apparently Losing Sleep because he didn't know how many brownies I was going to make. I told her six and that he'd like it. But I was kidding. I rolled my eyes and told them to expect a standard 9"x12" pan o' brownies.
I talked to the Man himself yesterday, late afternoon, when he wandered over to pick up the brownies. Which weren't ready yet. They were still a dream in my Mind's Eye. I told him that I'd deliver them that evening so he could present the Freshest and Most Awesome brownies ever. He said that he works with a diverse crew of folks, and that on the list of "Whatcha Gonna Bring?" three--count them, THREE--people had written Road Kill.
My thoughts exactly. I figure they'll be dining on opossum and perhaps some squirrels and maybe a deer or two with suspicious tread marks on it.
I think perhaps I aimed too high with the brownies. I prolly could have just made one of those Mock Apple Pies that used to be printed on the backs of the Ritz Cracker boxes in the misty past when nobody had taste buds. But friends, I'm not here to strive for Mediocrity, even in the face of a Road Kill Smorgasbord. Not me. I'm striving for Whatever-Is-Better-Than-Excellence. Especially in the face of a Road Kill Smorgasbord.
And now, you guys, too, will be able to outshine your coworkers' Thanksgiving Offerings with Aplomb. And Apumpkin. Here it is, the Thanksgiving Pot Luck Dessert that rises above the surrounding Tupperware-Encased specimens and the cracked crock pots full of evil-looking simmering Wombat Stew. It shines like a great chocolate and pumpkin shaped beacon of desserty goodness. By its very presence, it elevates the other dishes and makes hearts sing. Without further ado, I give you Autumnal Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirlie Brownies. Behold:
Autumnal Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirlie Brownies--Better Than Braised Armadillo. Waaaaay Better
For the brownie Portion
- 4 large eggs
- generous 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled to warm
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon maple extract
- 1 cup Dutch process cocoa powder, sifted
- 3 oz. all purpose flour, sifted
For the pumpkin cheesecake Portion
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 3/4-1 cup canned (or freshly cooked/mashed) pumpkin--depending on how pumpkiny you like things
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 large egg
- light brown sugar, to taste (maybe 1/2 cup--I didn't measure mine)
- maybe 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/4 teaspoon each freshly ground nutmeg and ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon maple extract
How to Get Ready to make them
- Preheat oven to 300F (150-ish C). Spray a 9"x12" pan with pan spray. Line the bottom with parchment cut to fit, then spray again.
- Bring all your ingredients to room temperature. Melt then cool butter to warmish.
How to Actually Make Them
*pretend that all these rules end with "scrape the bowl."
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whisk the crap out of the four eggs. Just put them on and putter about for a few minutes. The eggs should get very light, thick and fluffy.
- Add the salt and sugar and continue to whip like mad until very, very thick and lovely.
- With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the butter. Crank it up again and let whip.
- Sift together the cocoa and spices and add to the mix. Mix in on low, and then turn it up again.
- Take the bowl off the mixer, then sift the flour over the top. Fold in gently but thoroughly.
Make the cheesecake mixture in another mixer, w/a hand mixer, or just in a bowl with a whisk. That's what I did, even though I knew it would make my other mixer jealous. I just refused to look at him.
- Whisk cream cheese and salt together until smooth. Do this fairly slowly--you don' t want to incorporate a bunch of air, if you can help it.
- Add the egg, pumpkin and sugar. Whisk and whisk until it's all smooth. Taste to make sure you like the sweetness. Add more sugar, if it needs it.
- Add enough salt to make it taste really good. If you don't normally add salt, hopefully this exercise with change your mind.
- Whisk in the spices and extract, and taste again.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
- Pour about 3/4 of the brownie batter into your prepared pan. Pour in about 3/4 of the pumpkin mixture. Dot on last 1/4 of the brownie batter. I left out the last 1/4 of the pumpkin and just baked an individual pumpkin cheesecake guy. You can add the rest, though, if you like it very pumpkiny.
- Swirl everyone attractively together with a knife.
- Bake in the middle of your preheated oven for about an hour, give or take, or until the center has risen somewhat.
- Let cool completely on a cooling rack. Slice to whatever size you want or decide that you've only made one Uber Brownie and eat it with a fork right out of the pan.
- If you go with option 1, store them in the fridge.
I think I've done a Disservice to these guys in comparing them to Armadillo. These are in an entirely different league. A league armadillos only dream of being in. Enjoy, and have a lovely day!
PS: Update! Click here to read the Rest of the Story.