Small Batch Pumpkin Brownies

Chocolate. Pumpkin. Brownies.

pumpkin swirl brownies

TBH, I’m such a pumpkin purist (pumpkin pie? Good. Pumpkin bread? Good. Pumpkin spice Oreos or M&Ms? No thanks.) that I just wasn’t sure how much I’d like these brownies. Pumpkin and chocolate typically falls into the questionable category for me, but, on a Sunday when I just wanted to bake the day away, these small batch brownies were just calling to me.

pumpkin swirl brownies with hand

The result is a super fudgy, chocolatey brownie with just the slightest hint of pumpkin. Not overly pumpkiny, just enough to let you know it’s there. I really loved these brownies, and so did Shaun, who is typically not even a dessert eater!

brownie thief

The brownie thief! Try taking photos of delicious brownies and not have your toddler steal some. It’s just not possible.

These are perfectly enjoyed cut into small brownies because they are so chocolatey that truly, all you need is a lil bit. But if you actually need a lot bit, that’s ok too.

pumpkin swirl brownies tower

I adapted this recipe from Dessert for Two. I cut down on some of the butter and sugar and used a mix of spices rather than pumpkin pie spice, which, for me, can just be too spicy and not pumpkiny enough. As you can see, my brownies didn’t come out swirly and pumpkin topped like Christina’s did. Why? I don’t know. But, the taste made up for the appearance and I kind of loved it. 

pumpkin swirl brownies for pinterest.png

I also love that these are small batch, made in a bread loaf pan (genius!). I’m the primary dessert eater around here and I don’t need a 9x13” pan of delicious, chocolately fudgy brownies lying around. 

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

by Rachel Humiston

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45-50 minutes

Keywords: bake dessert cake brownie fall

Ingredients (2 huge brownies, 4 avg brownie)

    for the brownies
    • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
    • 1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 3/4 C granulated sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    for the pumpkin swirl
    • 1/3 C pumpkin puree
    • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
    • 1 large egg yolk
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp cloves


    Preheat oven to 325.

    Grease and line a 9x5” loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving some overflow so that the brownies can be lifted out of the pan.

    Combine the butter, cocoa powder, and 3/4 C of sugar in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and heat for another 30 seconds.

    Stir until the ingredients are completely combined, and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

    Add vanilla, salt and egg, stirring until completely combined.

    Gently mix in the flour, stirring until just combined. Do not overmix.

    In a separate bowl, mix together the pumpkin, sugar, egg yolk and spices with a spoon.

    Pour the brownie batter into the pan and top with dollops of the pumpkin batter. Swirl with a butter knife.

    Bake for 45 minutes.

    Let the brownies cool in the pan, then cut and enjoy!

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    Lemon Bars

    I have an affliction, friends.

    Sometimes, I get things in my head and I just can't seem to get them out.

    Like the Ray Bans I had been coveting for a year before making the purchase. Or this lush headboard that I've been lusting after for months (it will be mine!). Or Alexander Skarsgard.

    It happens all the time. Even with cooking and baking.

    I had been wanting to try making lemon bars for quite some time. I was actually never really a lemon fan until recently. And once I decided that lemon bars must be just had to happen.

    I'll be honest. Lemon curd scares me. And not just by name. (Curd...just doesn't sound appealing to eat).

    Anyhow, the egg yolks on the stove, trying to keep it from burning but cooking until safe to eat and thickened (how thickened?)...blah. I just couldn't be bothered.

    Luckily, this recipe from Katie Couric has none of that. Just pour and bake. 

    That's the way I like it.

    I was worried that these wouldn't have that gooey lemony center after baking. But they did. Oh how they did.

    Gooey, sweet and tart...I really loved these bars. Not to mention the shortbread crust. Which has not one but two sticks of butter. It's done right, I tell ya!

    These were incredibly easy and were a big hit at my in-law's barbecue on Saturday. We also enjoyed some leftovers for breakfast on Sunday. What? Calories don't count on your birthday, didn't you know?

    Lemon Bars

    *Adapted from Katie Couric via

    For the crust:

    1/4 C confectioners' sugar

    2 C all-purpose flour

    1 pinch salt

    1 C butter, room temperature, cubed


    For the filling:

    4 eggs

    2 C sugar

    6 Tbsp all-purpose flour

    ¼ C lemon juice (about 3 lemons’ worth)

    Confectioners' sugar, for dusting the top

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9" baking pan with cooking spray with flour (such as Baker's Joy).

    In a food processor, combine the flour, confectioner's sugar and salt. Add in the butter and pulse until combined into coarse crumbs.

    Press into the baking pan and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

    Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a mixing bowl with hand mixer), beat together the eggs, sugar, flour and lemon juice until combined. Stir in the lemon zest. It will smell like lemony heaven.

    Pour lemon mixture over the crust and bake for another 25 minutes. Let cool completely, cut into squares, and dust with lots of confectioners' sugar.

    Enjoy many of them. They are so good.

    Perfect for dessert...or breakfast :)

    So there you have it. Some easy peasy, yet delicious lemon bars. I think these are the perfect summer dessert! So light and tart. I wish I had six one right now.

    Questions of the Day:

    Do you suffer from a similar obsessive affliction?

    Do you like lemon desserts? I'm a recent convert!

    This Week... + Traveling Oatmeal Snack Bars

    ...I ate leftovers of pretzel crusted brownie bars, and my tight skirts hate me for it

    ...I jetted down to Orlando...where I still reside until tomorrow morning!

    ...I royally screwed up my first test batch of traveling oatmeal snack bars. They came out tasting like a salt cake. Not a sweet and salty cake, or a delicious chocolately cake with a hint of salt. It legit tasted like a cake made of salt and flour. It was gross. I may have spit out a mouthful of it into our kitchen sink. It was that good.

    ...I quickly remedied the snack bars into something delicious and nutritious.

    I'm kind of excited about it. I made a quick batch of these to take on my trip to Orlando since airplanes are now too cheap to even hand out a mini bag of pretzels and it's as though my stomach is instantly on high alert once food becomes unavailable. I don't care...these bars are kind of awesome if I do say so myself. And they do not taste like salt. I promise.

    Traveling Oatmeal Snack Bars
    Makes 8 squares or 6 big bars
    1 C quick oats*
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 C dried cranberries (or dried fruit of your choice)
    1/4 C nut butter (I used Better Than Peanut Butter)
    1/2 C skim milk
    1 egg
    1/4 C honey
    2 tbsp maple syrup

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and cranberries in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the nut butter, milk, egg, honey and maple syrup. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes.
    *I used quick oats since it was what I had on hand...I'm confident that old fashioned oats would work equally as well.

    ...Shaun and I got crackin' on Breaking Bad season 3. Season 4 premieres in a week! We have a lot of work to do.

    ...I made a blueberry-coconut baked oatmeal. Using my strawberry baked oatmeal recipe, I substituted strawberries and butter for blueberries and virgin coconut oil. It was oh-so-good and reheats to perfection in the microwave.

    ...I drooled more than once over this guy:

    Can you blame me?

    ...I managed to keep my kitchen completely clean but we seem to have developed a serious fruit fly problem. I guess that means only frozen bananas from this day forward.

    Next week is a big week in the Humiston house. As I mentioned a few times, I'm turning 29 next Friday (cue the hurrah or the meltdown, I haven't decided).

    Meanwhile, Shaun and I will celebrate our 3 year anniversary on Monday. I have some fun wedding/getting another year older posts ready to rock for you (though those two topics will not coincide in the same posts!). I've been saving my wedding posts to do around our anniversary and I hope you'll enjoy them - our dream destination wedding in Aruba was hands down the best and most fun week of our lives!

    So how was your week? Tell me all about the things you did! Please?!