Swirled Cream Cheese Pumpkin Brownies

I spent the better part of middle school fantasizing about my life as a musical. An appropriately directed breeze would blow my hair attractively at all times, back up dancers would materialize on command, and I’d sing duet across from the hunk of the class. Our hit first single: “We go together like Swirled Cream Cheese Pumpkin Brownies.”

Pumpkin cheesecake meets fudgy brownie in this easy but impressive pumpkin brownies recipe

Maybe my mother rented us too much Rodgers and Hammerstein (by the age of six, I could march my way over to the musicals section of Blockbuster unsupervised), but to this day, songs still burst into my head at the slightest prompt. When I glanced out at our yard a few hours after we raked a small nation’s worth of leaves and saw that fresh ones had already replaced them, my reaction was to sing the Backstreet Boys: “Oh my God, we’re back again.” When telling Ben goodnight, I break into The Music Man‘s “Good Night Sweetheart,” which might be cute if I could resist attempting to imitate every member of the barbershop quartet. And when I took my first bite of these Pumpkin Swirl Brownies? “At laaaaaaaaaaaast my love has come along.

Best Ever Pumpkin Brownies recipe. Pumpkin cheesecake swirled with fudgy brownies, then baked in a skillet!

Etta James, you speak to my chocolate and pumpkin-loving soul. I wish I could give you a Cream Cheese Pumpkin Brownie to thank you.

A fudgy brownie batter swirled together with a pumpkin cheesecake batter, then baked to perfection, this dessert duo sings in beautiful harmony. It’s the best of all Glee mashups, fused with a Beyonce/Jay-Z chart-topper, smothered in every song Danny/Sandy sing together in Grease.

Best Ever Pumpkin Brownies. Pumpkin cheesecake swirled with a fudgy brownie to make the best ever pumpkin dessert recipe!
Ultimate Pumpkin Brownies recipe. Pumpkin cheesecake swirled with rich, fudgy brownies. The ulimate pumpkin dessert!

What I’m trying to sing, er, say: pumpkin cheesecake and fudgy brownie are a pitch-perfect match. Every bite boasts rich chocolate flavor, light cheesecake tang, and a touch of warm spices. These pumpkin brownies are super soft and chewy, need only two bowls to make (one for the brownie batter, one for the cheesecake batter), and could easily be in your oven 20 minutes from now.

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Brownie recipe. Like a pumpkin cheesecake and a soft, fudgy brownie had a delicious dessert baby!

While you are certainly not obligated to bake these pumpkin brownies in a skillet (a 9-inch square baking pan will work too), desserts served in skillets fill me with inexplicable joy. I love the bit of crust the skillet adds to the brownie edge to contrast the gooey center, as well as the fact that a skillet can double as an attractive serving piece. I was feeling fancy, so I cut the pumpkin brownies into slices, but I can just as easily imagine myself (and you!) placing a skillet of hot pumkim brownies down in the center of our tables, passing out forks, and making those lucky folks seated around it very very happy.

Ultimate Pumpkin Brownies recipe

For the encore: melty vanilla ice cream. I’ll sing for second helpings!

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Swirled Cream Cheese Pumpkin Brownies

An easy but impressive recipe for swirled pumpkin brownies that combines pumpkin cheesecake batter and brownie batter. Soft, chewy and extra fudgy!


Yield: 1, 10-inch brownie skillet

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes (includes cooling time)

Ingredients:

For the Brownie Batter:



  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar (light or dark)

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional but delicious—will yield a more intense chocolate flavor)

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (white whole wheat or regular. I used regular and didn’t notice it one bit)

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • 9 to 12-inch ovenproof skillet, for baking the pumpkin brownies


For the Pumpkin Cheesecake Batter:



  • 4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature (do not use fat free)

  • 1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree (do not use pumpkin pie filling)

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (OR all of the following: 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger)

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 large egg, at room temperature


Directions:


  1. Place rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 to 12-inch ovenproof skillet (it does not need to be cast iron, just oven safe up to 350 degrees).

  2. For the brownie batter: Melt the butter in medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, then stir to combine. Let heat for about 30-60 additional seconds, until the mixture is beginning to bubble and a bit more of the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, then stir in the cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, espresso powder, and vanilla. Let cool for a few minutes, until the batter feels warm but not uncomfortably hot when touched with your finger.

  3. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating between each addition and stirring until the mixture is shiny. Add the whole wheat flour, stirring until the batter is smooth once more, then stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside.

  4. For the pumpkin cheesecake batter: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin together until smooth and no lumps remain. Beat in the granulated sugar, all purpose flour and spices until smooth and combined. Beat in the vanilla and egg.

  5. Spoon half of the brownie batter into the prepared skillet. Smooth the top with a spatula, then dollop 2/3 of the pumpkin cheesescake batter on top. Dollop on the remaining brownie batter to create patches, then the remaining pumpkin cheesecake batter. With a butter knife, gently swirl the layers together, being careful not to overmix. Work quickly so that the batters do not set.

  6. For a 10-inch skillet, bake for 35 to 45 minutes*, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few wet crumbs clinging to it (do not over bake!) and the edges are set. Check the brownies at the 20 minute mark—if you feel the top is brownie too quickly, lightly tent with foil, then continue baking as directed. Let cool, then cut into wedges and enjoy.


 


*If you are using a skillet that is smaller or larger than 10 inches, you will need to adjust the baking time. Brownies baked in a larger skillet will cook more quickly, while those baked in a smaller skillet will need a few additional minutes. Keep an eye on your skillet and check a few minutes early to ensure the brownies do not over bake.


**This recipe can also be baked in a 9-inch square baking pan.


All images and text ©/Well Plated.

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Equipment notes:  I baked these pumpkin brownies in my inexpensive but excellent Lodge cast iron skillet. For a premium, Le Creuset makes fabulous cast iron skillets too.

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

34 comments

  1. Hey, I hear music all the time too. I just have to stop myself from singing it all out loud, or I’ll annoy the people around me. I’ve known too many people who constantly break into song to do that myself in public, tempting though it is!
    These brownies would make me sing, though. So pretty and fudgy!

  2. “We go together like Swirled Cream Cheese Pumpkin Brownies.”  THIS IS EVERYTHING. I seriously want a piece of that hit single.
    AND 4 pieces of this brownie. I mean with pumpkin AND cheese cake goodness..I am ALL IN FOR THIS.

  3. I’m dying for a HUGE slice of this thing! Yummers times 100000!

  4. Looks so moist and delicious! And with perfect swirls :D

  5. Stop it! I’m coming to your house to sing all musical things! The hubs hates them so whenever he’s out of town, I am belting every hit musical in our kitchen. Now, pass me a slice of this brownie! 

  6. I (gasp) don’t like pumpkin pie – but these look really tasty. I feel like chocolate mixed with pumpkin would be the right balance :) Pinned!

  7. Oh my goodness the swirls!! haha I LOVE anything with swirls! These brownies sound completely delicious!

  8. Ooooooh – making these, and possibly tonight!

  9. Oh Erin, I’m over the moon with these pumpkin brownies!  Too of my favorite things:)

  10. Seriously GORGEOUS. I was looking at brownie/cheesecake recipes earlier and then found… THIS. Must make!!!

  11. Erin, these look UNREAL! Pinning :)

  12. I can’t get enough pumpkin right now – so making these!

  13. Oh this looks just so divine! yummy!

  14. Be still my pumpkin and chocolate loving heart!  And then you added a scoop of ice cream on top…I died.  These look SO good Erin!  

  15. Wise men say only fools rush in. But I can’t help falling in love with pumpkin cheesecake swirl brownies! Can’t wait to try these. If they are anywhere near as good as your s’mores brownie bites… Heaven, I’m in heaven…

  16. I just so happy to hear that I’m not the only old soul. I love Etta James and all the classic music of her time. This pumpkin-y goodness needs to happen ASAP! 

  17. Skillet for the win! Why does that make any dish 10 times the fun?! 

  18. OMG Erin.. This cheesecake  brownie.. Looks incredibly delicious ..❤️

  19. Finally got around to making these tonight and promptly devoured half the skillet between the two of us. They were just as delicious as I had dreamed they’d be and I especially love the melty chocolate chips in the brownies!

  20. The hills are alive with the sound of pumpkin cheesecake swirl brownies! I made them for a dinner party and they were devoured. Now they are on the list for Thanksgiving. I made them in a 9×9 stoneware baker instead of a cast iron and they came out just fine. Thanks for another great brownie recipe!

  21. I recently invested in a skillet, and the ability to make recipes like this convinces me it was a good decision! Question: have you heard of Greek cream cheese? It’s a mixture of cream cheese and Greek yogurt that has half the fat of regular cream cheese. Do you think something like that would work in this recipe, or should I stick to regular/Neufchâtel?

    • Katie it was a GREAT decision! I’ve heard of Greek cream cheese but have never tried it. I’m not sure how the two consistencies and flavors compare, so if you were to use it, it would definitely be an experiment. Your safest bet is to stick with the lower fat cream cheese I suggested, since that’s how I developed and tested the recipe, but if you decide to pay around with Greek cream cheese, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

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