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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    Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

    I'm writing to you in daylight this morning! I am so happy that it's quite a bit lighter when I woke up this morning. I was finding it soooooooo difficult to get my booty out of bed when it was still pitch black out over the last few weeks. I have to admit...I don't hate Daylight Savings like a lot of people do. I actually don't mind that after the clocks go back, it's dark out at 4:30PM. In fact, I kind of enjoy it for a couple of months. It reminds me of Thanksgiving and Christmas, snuggling under a blanket in flannel pajamas, eating hearty soup and drinking hot chai tea lattes, swirled with a cinnamon stick.

    I might feel differently come February. But for now? I'm happy with dark, cozy evenings, and cool, bright, sunny mornings.

    Last week I made pumpkin bars for the Halloween party in our building. I had made these bars years ago for Thanksgiving and have been looking for another occasion to make them for a while now. They are so easy, so pumpkiny and so moist. Topped with lucious cream cheese frosting, these pumpkin bars are definitely in my permanent recipe collection.

    Though I made these for Halloween (as you can tell by my Halloween napkin tray :)), I think these are perfect for any autumn occasion, including Thanksgiving. You can even use the same orange, yellow and black imperials that I used here. They are also gorgeous with plain old white sprinkles...or no sprinkles at all! (Though in my opinion, everything is better with sprinkles).

    Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
    *from Paula Deen, adapted slightly
    for the bars:
    4 eggs
    1 2/3 C granulated sugar
    1 C vegetable oil
    1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
    2 C all-purpose flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp baking soda
    for the frosting:
    1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
    2 C confectioners' sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    colored sprinkles or imperials, optional

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    To make the bars:

    In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin together until light and fluffy.

    In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix until completely combined.

    Pour batter into a greased 13 x 9" baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely and remove from pan.

    To make the frosting:

    Beat the cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, and mix until combined. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Spread on cooled pumpkin cake, top with sprinkles and cut into bars.

    Try to eat just one. I dare you.

    I seriously love these bars. They are even better if you cool them in the refrigerator. Devour with a fork. Or your hands. Either way.

    So there you have it. Easy, delicious bars that are just about perfect for the season! I hope you all have a fantastic week!!

    Questions of the Day:

    What do you think about Daylight Savings? Love it or hate it? I kind of love it!

    What's your favorite Thanksgiving-type dessert? I love pumpkin & apple anything!


    psst...I'm writing all about my favorite beauty products on The Peach & The Pit today! Check it out!

    Caramel Apple Cider Shake

    Thank you for all of your kind words on yesterday's post! I'm glad you liked it. I loved hearing about what you all do, and what your dream job is! Thanks for sharing with me :)

    Last night I {finally} unpacked from our trip to New Mexico. Please don't judge me. It's just that I Hate (with a capital H) unpacking. Seriously. I hate having the suitcases strewn around our apartment, but I hate unpacking just a tad bit more. I think it also stems from my hatred of putting away laundry. I just don't like doing it. I don't mind actually washing clothes (though I suppose I don't love it either), but the hanging/folding/finding space for everything is always last on my to do list. Which is also why I typically have a pile of folding clothing next to my bed. Perhaps when I have more storage space I won't have such an aversion to it!


    Last night I also had the place to myself because Shaun had basketball. With the man out of the house, it meant I could play with all kinds of sugary concoctions in the kitchen, which he would otherwise shake his head at and think I'm a crazy dessert-obsessed lady. This may or may not be true. I realized that we still had some apple cider left in the fridge. And that I had a jar of Catarina dulche de leche that I had won in Kate's giveaway (please check out her sweet blog!). And some light vanilla bean ice cream in the freezer...I think you know where this is going.


    This is hardly a recipe, but more of an idea. An idea for a chilly, fall shake or smoothie that couldn't be easier. It's completely sweet and over the top...and perfect for a night home on the couch while crying over Parenthood. Not that I did that or anything.

    Caramel Apple Cider Shake
    1 C apple cider + 1Tbsp for rimming glass
    2 scoops vanilla bean ice cream (I used Turkey Hill Light)
    1 Tbsp dulche de leche or caramel sauce
    1 Tbsp granulated sugar
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    optional: milk of your choice, ice cubes, frozen banana, or any other add-ins!

    First, place a tablespoon of apple cider in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Take a short glass, dip the rim in the cider and then in the cinnamon sugar. With a spoon, drizzle the caramel (or dulche de leche) around the inside of the glass, getting it on the sides and a little on the bottom. Next, blend the remaining cider and ice cream together. This makes a thin shake, so for a thicker version, use more ice cream, ice cubes, or a frozen banana! Pour into prepared glass and enjoy!


    My favorite part of this are the little bits of dulche de leche in the bottom of the glass. Yum.


    This is a super sweet shake. I don't mind. It only comes once a year!

    Questions of the Day:

    Do you like apple cider? I love it!

    Do you unpack as soon as you get home, or let it linger like me?