Tuesday, 11 October 2011

You absolutely must try this!

I love to bake. Yesterday I made three desserts for James' family Thanksgiving dinner, which meant it took the better part of the morning/afternoon to get it all done. But I never felt as though it was something I had to get through, or that there was anything else I would rather have been doing. It was just so much fun!

My first dessert is my classic, the Mile-High Apple Caramel pie. This is a huge hit, and I could never show up to a holiday meal without it. Roasting the apples before baking the pie intensifies the flavour and allow you to get twice as many apples into the pie than when I put them in uncooked. There are also praises all around for my crust, which, to be honest, I just make according to the directions. Apparently crust is difficult to master, but I guess my natural touch is what it takes, because I certainly haven't had to experiment on it!

The second dessert was a pumpkin pie. I think the filling had the right balance of sweetness and spices, but it didn't gel as firmly as I hoped. Still scrumptious, but I will need to look into the secrets of pumpkin pie a little further.

The third dessert was to die for. No, really. I dropped it off about 3pm, then had to run home because I forgot the diaper bag. By the time I returned the first tray was half empty - and it wasn't originally intended as an appetizer! The recipe, however, is not mine. The only credit I can take is that I do seem to be developing a talent of reading a recipe and discerning from the ingredients and directions what it might taste like and if it might suit our family's taste buds. And oh my, was this one ever a winner! And so, for your baking pleasure, I give you "Marbled Chocolate-Pumpkin Brownies."

Marbled Chocolate-Pumpkin Brownies

Makes: 36 brownies
Prep: 30 minutesBake: 1 hour
Marbled Chocolate-Pumpkin Brownies
  • 3
    ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1
    tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1/2
    cup sugar
  • 1
  • 1
    cup canned pumpkin
  • 1
    teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2
    teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4
    teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1
    tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4
    cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4
    teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2
    teaspoon salt
  • 6
    ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4
    cup butter, cut up
  • 2 1/4
    cups sugar
  • 4
  • 1/4
    cup milk
  • 2
    teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4
    cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over the edges of the pan. Grease the foil; set pan aside.

In a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese and the 1 tablespoon butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1/2 cup sugar. Beat until well combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in 1 egg, the pumpkin, 1 teaspoon vanilla, the cinnamon, and ginger until combined. Stir in the 1 tablespoon flour. Set aside.

In a small bowl stir together the 1 1/4 cups flour, the baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a large saucepan combine the chocolate and 3/4 cup butter. Cook and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Gradually add the 2 1/4 cups sugar, beating with an electric mixer on low speed just until combined. Add the 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in milk and the 2 teaspoons vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture just until combined.

Spread chocolate mixture evenly in the prepared pan. Spoon cream cheese mixture in several mounds on top of the chocolate batter. Using a narrow metal spatula, gently swirl the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate batter. If desired, sprinkle with walnuts.

Bake about 60 minutes or until center is just set when pan is gently shaken. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Use foil to lift uncut brownies out of pan. Cut into brownies.

To Store: Layer brownies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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