Writer and photographer Monica Longenbaker

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s an alternative to pie this Thanksgiving, turn instead to homemade Pumpkin Swirl Brownies. These rich, fudgy bars are layered with a creamy, pumpkin swirl for a special holiday touch that’s bound to please both adults and children alike.

Yield: 9 servings

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies


For the pumpkin swirl:
5 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin filling)
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon pumpkin spice
1 egg, beaten

For the brownies:
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
5 ounces unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8×8-inch baking dish. Optional: For easy removal, line the bottom with parchment paper, leaving two of the sides long enough to hang over the edges.

Prepare the pumpkin mixture: Whisk together the cream cheese, pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, pumpkin spice and beaten egg until well combined. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium speed for about one minute. Add the vanilla and melted chocolate and continue mixing until combined. Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined (do not overmix). Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish and, using a rubber spatula, smooth the top to form an even layer.

Place spoonfuls of the pumpkin mixture on top (you may not need the entire mixture). Using a clean butter knife or chopstick, swirl the pumpkin mixture into the brownie mixture.

Bake the brownies at 350 F for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting into squares.