Pumpkin Brownie Bars

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I  adore Fall baking because I get to play with pumpkin, an ingredient that doesn’t make much of an appearance any other time of the year.  And pumpkin pie spice is definitely one of my favorite flavor profiles.  These dense, fudgy, Pumpkin Brownie bars are actually the first pumpkin dessert I ever baked, when I first started experimenting baking with pumpkin three years ago.  These brownies are adapted from Recipe Girl.  The first time I made them, I didn’t have time to run to the store, so I had to up substitute for some of the ingredients, but the bars still turned out great (and healthier too!).  For one, I didn’t have any cream cheese on hand so I had to use fat-free Greek yogurt.  They were so good, I’ve actually never tried making these bars with the original ingredients.

These brownies are always a crowd pleaser, so they would be great for your holiday entertaining.  The flavor combination of pumpkin and chocolate stands apart from other fall desserts, and has a sweet comforting quality.

Pumpkin Brownie Bars

Pumpkin Batter:

1 Tbsp butter,  softened

1/3 c Greek  yogurt

1/3 c granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/3 c pumpkin puree

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 Tbsp all-purpose flour

For the brownies:

5 oz. semisweet chocolate

1 1/4 stick butter, cut into cubes

1 1/2 c  granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/3 c all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13×9 baking pan with cooking spray.  Prepare pumpkin batter: In a small bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter with cream cheese until smooth. Beat in sugar, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, then add pumpkin puree, vanilla, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in flour.  For the chocolate batter: melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring at 30 second intervals for 1 minute.  In a separate bowl, combine eggs with sugar, vanilla and salt. Beat at low speed until light and fluffy- about 4 minutes. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in melted chocolate. Sift flour over the batter and fold it in just until combined.   Spread chocolate batter evenly in prepared pan. Using a Tablespoon, drop dollops of the pumpkin batter all over the top. Using the back of a butter knife, swirl the pumpkin batter slightly into the chocolate. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes.   Let them cool  completely before cutting.

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