These pumpkin swirl cheesecake chocolate brownies certainly scream “it’s the season for baking with pumpkin”. I love pumpkin cheesecake, and I love fudgy brownies, but the two of them together?
On the plus side, the brownie part of these are exactly what I like out of a brownie. Gooey thin squares of intense, not-too-sweet, chocolate. The pumpkin cheesecake part tastes exactly like the richly flavored, creamy, well-spiced pumpkin cheesecakes I guiltily enjoy. But together, I found these to be less than the sum of their parts. I liked them, but I didn’t love them. Consumed with a cup of strong black coffee, they were especially good. Still, unlike most desserts I’ve made from Baked, one square of these was enough to satisfy me. Nor do I feel the need to remake these pumpkin swirl cheesecake chocolate brownies immediately.
For the sake of full disclosure, I don’t like regular cheesecake brownies either. Nor do I like marble pound cake, or really any other variation on the “swirl-one-dessert-in-with-another” theme. So, if you aren’t fettered by anti-swirled-dessert sentiments, you might feel differently about these.
My co-workers had mixed opinions about these as well. Some of them liked them, some of them didn’t, no one loved them, and from out of left field, one guy thought they had peanut butter (not pumpkin) in them.
The making of these pumpkin cheesecake swirl brownies was quite simple, and they’re certainly easier to make and less fragile than most cheesecakes. I substituted 2 oz of sour cream for 2 oz of the cream cheese, since I was short that amount, and although I don’t know what they would have tasted like with the full 8 oz of cream cheese only, the cheesecake layer didn’t seem harmed at all by my substitution.
To make the brownie layer, I used the lazy method of microwaving my chocolate and butter, then gave the mixture a little time to cool after adding the sugar before combining the chocolate with the eggs (and then the flour). Layering the pumpkin cheesecake filling on top of the bottom 2/3 layer of brownie batter was easy enough, but swirling in the top 1/3 of the brownie mix with the pumpkin cheesecake filling was a little challenging. The brownie layer was pretty stiff and stayed together, nor did it look appetizing dotted on top of the pumpkin. After a couple minutes, I managed to swirl it in, but it was not the nicest looking pattern.
I baked these for the full 40 minutes to set the cheesecake layer, and I was a little concerned that I’d overbaked the brownie layer, but both layers were actually perfectly cooked in the end. I thought these pumpkin cheesecake brownies tasted best when chilled, rather than at room temperature. A few of them I froze, and I found those pieces to be pretty good straight from the freezer.
If you’re a pumpkin cheesecake fan and a rich brownie fan, or you know people who are, and you’re curious about how they might go together, I do recommend this recipe from Baked Occasions as the one to try out the combination. Head over to Baked Sunday Mornings for the recipe and to see what the other bakers thought of these.