I am so in love with anything pumpkin! Pumpkin pie, pumpkin crunch (my Hawaii peeps will know what I’m referring to and I am on a mission to making my own from scratch version!), pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin and pork. Yes you read that correctly. Pumpkin is delicious in savory dishes as well. I grew up eating pumpkin made with mongo beans and other green leafy veggies and pork or lechon served over some rice. Until today, I crave this pumpkin dish and I try to make this for dinner once a month or so for the family.
It’s been hard for me to get posts out as quickly as I have in the past. I think for the most part it is because I am trying to tie in a story or sharing background and this takes time. So I’ve decided that I will try to post some straightforward blog posts that only contains a little background and more of the step by step instructions and recipe. I guess I haven’t done a good job so far, but it’s a gradual approach right?!
So little background–here goes. Over the weekend, my daughter had her school Fall Carnival. There was a bakesale to raise funds for the Solano Food Bank and I was definitely happy to help out for a great cause. After talking it over with my daughter, who also happens to love pumpkins, we decided to make pumpkin brownies. She’s been asking me to make brownies for a while. And to be quite honest, I’ve only made the box stuff in the past.
I recently bought Miette: Recipes from San Francisco’s Most Charming Pastry Shop and here’s another dose of honestly, I’ve never been to the shop! So here’s my formal vow that I will make it over to Miette by years end! But in the meantime, I will try out a couple of the recipes in this beautiful book. So it was decided that I would use Miette’s recipe for brownies. But how was I going to incorporate pumpkin? I’ve been in awe lately over a blog I came across while getting my “eyes fed” over at Foodgawker. Which btw, my very first submission to Foodgawker was accepted! Yay! Sorry getting off track. Okay so back to that blog–Bakers Royale! You gotta check out Naomi’s blog posts. They are AMAZING! I was an instant fan. She has some great photos and I love reading her posts. She made some Pumpkin Swirl Brownie Bites that gave me the idea to do the same. So with Miette’s recipe for the brownie and Bakers Royale idea for swirling pumpkin in a mini brownie version I was all set! Well, I also decided I would make my own pumpkin puree. More on that later.
The result: brownie bites that have a crunch on the outside, but the texture of soft fudge on the inside. I used the last of my Godiva Dark Chocolate bars for the brownies. Chocolate is like wine, why would you want to bake/cook with something you won’t eat or drink? I love Godiva and oh heck I’ve been blatantly honest so far . . . I soooo look forward to my monthly free piece of chocolate at Godiva! Sign-up for their rewards program, it’s free and you get free chocolate. Really a no brainer.
And the pumpkin? These brownies took awhile to prepare and with two hours before the carnival, I decided to just place a dollop of the pumpkin mixture on top without the swirl. I may have added a tad bit too much of the pumpkin mixture, but it was worth it. My homemade pumpkin puree made all the difference in the world. I may not go back to the canned stuff. Okay okay on to step by step directions here it goes.
You can use canned pumpkin, but like my Mom says I like to make things difficult for myself! Thanks Mom. So here is what I did to make pumpkin puree.
The only pumpkin I am familiar with cooking is Kabocha or more commonly known as Japanese pumpkin. Which to my surprise isn’t really pumpkin, but a Winter squash. But who cares squash-pumpkin, the taste is what matters. It has a rich velvety and sweet texture, which I think is perfect for baking. I usually buy it from my local Asian store, but at a recent trip to Whole Foods was pleasantly surprised to find organic Kabocha! A caution with cutting pumpkin, be very careful! Slowly cut into one half and cut around the pumpkin. Because I want that extra flavor when roasting, I cut the Kabocha into large chunks and cut the skin off. I then toss with some melted butter and sprinkle some brown sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. It will be soft when pierced with a fork. Let the pumpkin cool and then put into a food processor to puree. And it’s that simple! And so much more tastier.
Here is the recipe for the brownies, which I adapted into mini bites using a mini muffin pan. I was able to make 48 mini brownie bites with batter left over for a smaller pan of brownies!
Kabocha Pumpkin Brownie Bites (adapted from Miette: Recipes from San Francisco’s Most Charming Pastry Shop)
1 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp espresso powder
1 lb 70% cacao chocolate, chopped (I used 72% Godiva)
2 1/2 c sugar
3/4 c unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp kosher salt
5 large eggs, warmed in a water bath to 80-90 degrees (I placed the eggs in a glass bowl over some warm water)
Kabocha Pumpkin Topping Ingredients (adapted from Bakers Royale):
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c pumpkin puree (see my note above on how to make your own pumpkin puree, however you can also use the canned stuff)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c sugar
2 tbsp flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two mini muffin pans with non-stick spray and dust with cocoa powder. Tap out the excess cocoa.
- Sift flour, baking powder, and espresso powder in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt. Microwave on high for one minute and then stir. Continue to microwave for a minute at a time until the chocolate is completely melted.
- While still warm, transfer the chocolate mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on low for 30 seconds, then add the warm eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until well combined and shiny.
- Add the flour mixture and beat just until combined.
- Raise the speed to medium and beat for another 30 seconds until the batter is shiny.
- Using a small cookie scoop, place a scoop of batter in each muffin cavity.
- To prepare the pumpkin topping, mix all ingredients together until well combined and smooth.
- Place 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of pumpkin mixture on each brownie.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until they begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a tester in the center comes out clean.