Is there a rule somewhere that says that brownies must be chocolate? Can something other than chocolate be the primary feature in a brownie if the resulting baked good is still brown in color, with a rich flavor and fudgy texture? I tend to think so, especially after trying these Pumpkin Brownies. These are not cakelike bars posing as brownies, but are tender, fudgy and chewy and pretty darn close to a regular brownie in texture. They have all the warm, spicy flavors of pumpkin pie, too, which makes them a great fall treat and a great alternative to pumpkin pie if you’re looking for new ways to use some up this autumn.
These are very easy to make and can be stirred up in just one bowl. One of the reasons that they are fudgy and not cake-like is that there is no leavening in this recipe (yes, it’s not a typo). If there were, the batter would rise up and aerate more, leaving a fluffier finished product. Not to worry, however: these brownies are thin and don’t taste too dense or heavy. They’re best with some nuts mixed in to give them a little bit more texture and add another layer of flavor to the finished product. I used pecans, but walnuts are a great option, too. And if you do feel strongly that brownies must have some chocolate in them, feel free to stir a handful of mini chocolate chips into the batter along with the chopped pecans.
I also used a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter to cut these brownies out to serve them, which is a very cute look for these treats. You can also simply cut them into bars to serve. The advantage of using a cookie cutter is, of course, that you get to eat the scraps as you prepare your brownies (always a bonus when you’re the chef!).
Update: If you are a visual learner, I put together a great video that shows exactly how I made these brownies and walks you through the steps! Take a peek at How to Make Pumpkin Brownies on my YouTube Channel!
Pumpkin Brownies with Pecans
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in spices, salt, the egg and the pumpkin puree. Sift flour into the bowl and stir it in, mixing until just combined. Add in pecans and stir to evenly distribute the nuts.
Pour batter into prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the brownies are just just lightly browned at the edges and the center is set (it may look moist, but will not be sticky when lightly pressed). Cool in the pan before slicing.
Makes 20 bars.