Happy October Vegetarian Carnivores! So far this season I’ve been bringing mostly savory recipes to you, and you have all been loving them. But I did receive some requests for sweets, and I thought it’s only fair that i give those a fair shake. While my roasted sweet potato soup has hints of sweetness laced in, it’s definitely a predominantly savory dish. And my delicious vegan cornbread is also only very mildly sweet. It was high time to pull out all the stops and bring a show stopping vegan fall themed dessert your way. This recipe here will more than satisfy even the sweetest of teeth. Let’s get started on these decadent and vegan chocolate pumpkin brownies.
Why you’ll love these pumpkin brownies
Chocolate. Need I say more? And not just one form of chocolate. Not two, but three different ways of bringing chocolaty goodness to these brownies. First we start with dark 100% Dutch cocoa for a slight bitterness. Just a couple tablespoons does it. Next, our decadent ganache/fudge/dark chocolate sauce- melting in some dark chocolate chunks in some vegan butter brings a dark and thick ganache to the table. We get to pour the ganache into the brownie mix and swirl it around for extra chocolaty bites. And lastly, dark chocolate chunks sprinkled onto the top of the brownie pan before baking.
What’s great about this recipe is that we use A LOT of chocolate, but none of it seems too sweet or will give you a headache, since my recipes are focused on dark chocolate. I don’t like milk chocolate, and it’s not vegan anyway, so it works out. With my way, you get the rich and creamy decadence you think of when you have chocolate, with none of the cloying and off putting sweetness.
Next, you’re going to absolutely love the pumpkin in this recipe. After we make our batter and pour it into our baking pan, just take spoonfuls of pumpkin puree and lightly swirl it through the batter, so that it is incorporated but you can still see distinct orange and distinct dark brown. If you over swirl, it’ll just become one solid color and won’t look as pretty, and you won’t get a variety of different flavors with each bite. It’ll still be tasty, but the flavor will be more uniform so it may not be as fun. But this is getting into the details- if you over mix don’t sweat it. That’s what practice is for! The most important thing to take away from this section is to use pumpkin puree, and NOT pumpkin pie filling. Just. don’t.
Our star ingredients
Pumpkin- What good would pumpkin brownies be without pumpkin? Use a good high quality canned pumpkin. I get mine from Whole Foods, and it’s organic, though I actually don’t know how heavily pumpkins are sprayed with pesticide so organic may not be all that important for this vegetable. The light sweetness from pumpkin is different from the sweetness in chocolate and they complement each other beautifully.
Dutch cocoa powder– You can feel free to omit this ingredient if you want. But if you really want a deep, rich, and slightly bitter undertones in your brownie, follow through with this. It’s highly concentrated so we’re just using 2 tablespoons in the entire mix. Make sure you sift it through a sieve because cocoa powder is known for being lumpy, and we don’t want chunks of cocoa powder in our final result.
Dark chocolate chunks- This is going to do double duty. One, to make our delicious and thick ganache. Second, to top off our batter right as we go to bake it off.
Fall spices– Nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon add deep and earthy tones to the brownies, and also help cut some richness from all the chocolate used. So you get the richness, along with a savory kick, both to put you in the seasonal mood and to warm up the dessert.
Dark brown sugar- Brown sugar is sticky, and holds up during baking really well. You can substitute white sugar here if you want, but brown sugar is always my sugar of choice, right after maple syrup, and adds a certain molasses-y and chewy texture to whatever it is in.
How to make pumpkin brownies
‘re starting off simple and building our way up on this recipe. It starts off like any baking recipe: mix all your dry ingredients together and mix well. Then, cream your brown sugar and flax eggs together. Mix your wet and dry ingredients. Add plant milk and continue mixing until combined. Pour your mixture into a parchment paper lined brownie pan.
Here’s where things get a bit wonky. You’re going to melt half your chocolate chunks in vegan butter or a neutral oil to form a dark chocolate ganache. Pour the ganache into the brownie mix and swirl around to combine but not create a uniform batter. You want to be able to see the lighter brown and darker brown distinctly.
Next, do the same with pumpkin puree. Put dollops of pumpkin directly onto the wet mix in the pan. Use a toothpick or a fork to swirl the puree around the pan until it is distributed but still distinctly visible.
Keeping the colors distinct not only makes the dish beautiful, but it also helps the flavor, by adding distinct bits of chocolate or pumpkin depending on the piece you are eating. Trust me, it’s delicious.
And lastly, sprinkle on more chocolate chunks and bake it off. When it’s done, cool it on a wire rack and it’s ready to eat.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp dark Dutch cocoa powder
- 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax seed + 6 tbsp water)
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks, divided in half
- 1/4 cup vegan butter (4 tbsp)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup plant milk
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Line a 9″x9″ baking tray with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift all-purpose flour and dutch cocoa powder. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, and baking powder. Mix well until combined.
- In a separate bowl, using an electric whisk, cream the flax eggs and brown sugar together until well combined. This took me a while because the flax eggs kept separating from the brown sugar. If this happens, just keep whisking and it will work out in a couple minutes.
- Add flax egg and brown sugar mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until combined. Add plant milk halfway through whisking. Keep whisking until it is one solid consistency.
- Make your vegan ganache. Take vegan butter and 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks and microwave for 20 seconds in the microwave (or on stove top if you prefer) until completely melted and creamy.
- Pour brownie batter into baking tray.
- Pour dark chocolate ganache into the pan on top of brownie mixture and swirl around until combined but just barely so.
- Take pumpkin puree and put dollops of it into the baking pan and repeat step 7.
- Top off with remaining chocolate chunks.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out almost entirely clean. It took me around 43 minutes, but you may need to know how hot or cool your oven runs.
- Cool on a wire cooling rack for 15 minutes before cutting.