One of my favorite pumpkin spice products to come out this season is Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter. Cookie butter already has some natural spice to it, but that spice is mild and almost gets lost in the brown sugar base of the spread sometimes. Amping up the spice makes the TJ’s cookie butter very addictive, and the fact that it has real pumpkin added to the mix gives it a solid pumpkin pie flavor, too. Cookie butter is an easy ingredient to use because it is so versatile and this seasonal version is no exception. You can spread it on cookies, toast or muffins – and you can bake with it, too!
These Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Brownies have a generous swirl of that perfect-for-fall cookie butter running throughout fudgy brownie batter. The brownies are made with dark chocolate and cocoa powder, which gives them a rich, bittersweet flavor and creates a nice contrast for the relatively sweet cookie butter. The cookie butter is too thick to spread over the brownie batter, and I recommend dolloping it in small portions over the batter, then swirling it in gently with a knife to evenly distributed it. A gentle swirl will not only give you good distribution, but it will create a very attractive swirling pattern.
The brownies are rich and you get just the right touch of pumpkin pie spice in every bite. It’s almost like having a flavorful frosting spread on top of the brownies – but much less messy than any “regular” frosting would be. They’re not overly pumpkin-spiced, so they will appeal to a wide audience and will very likely win over people who are not normally pumpkin pie spice lovers.
If you don’t have access to the Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter from Trader Joe’s, you can get a similar effect by stirring some pumpkin pie spice into a plain cookie butter. It won’t quite have the same flavor, however the brownies will still bake up beautifully and will have the wonderful flavors of cinnamon, cloves and cookie butter in every bite. The brownies will keep well for several days when stored in an airtight container, but I find that they go very fast once you bake up a batch – especially if you have friends and family members who enjoy pumpkin pie spice as much as you do!
Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Brownies
2 1/2 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper and lightly grease.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt together chocolate and butter until smooth. Whisk in cocoa powder, then allow to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together chocolate mixture, sugar and salt. Whisk in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Add in flour, stirring until the batter comes together and no streaks of dry ingredients remain visible.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Drop cookie butter in 1-2 tablespoon-sized dollops around the brownie batter, then use a butter knife to gently swirl in the cookie butter. Be sure to swirl your knife over the whole surface of the brownie batter, but do not over-swirl for the best results.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the brownies comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached. Allow brownies to cool completely in the pan before slicing and serving.