Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pumpkin Cranberry Cheesecake Brownies

Brownies need no special occasion to be made, or excuse.  I was doing my workout a few days ago on my stationary bike and watching a baking show at the same time.  Dangerous I know...especially since they were baking brownies.  I suddenly started to have an intense craving for some.  The show ended and I still had a bit of my workout left, giving me time to think about what kind to make.  Afterall, I was making them... I couldn't not since I was so hungry for them!  I didn't just want plain chocolate.  I wanted something more interesting, possibly seasonal, maybe pumpkin?  But the thing is pumpkin just didn't sound interesting enough on its own.  Pumpkin cheesecake sounded a little better, but what if I threw in some fresh cranberries I had leftover from something else I had made earlier in the week?  A delicious combination is what it sounded like! 

So I got to work.  The batter itself had pumpkin in it to make it extra fudgy and moist as these would be vegan, but I also added some to the cream cheese mixture that was to be swirled throughout the batter.  I felt they neeeded a hint of cinnamon, and a bit of maple as well for good measure.  Lastly I stirred cranberries into the batter for tart pops of flavor in the sweet chocolatey dough.  As they were baking my house smelled of decadent chocolate cake! 

The only bad thing about brownies is you have to wait to cut into them to get clean slices...that was tough!  But when I was finely able to enjoy them I was rewarded.  Chocolate pumpkin and cheesecake are a delicious combination...add little red jewels of tart cranberries and you have something heavenly and special.  I was glad I saw that show and decided to make brownies on a whim, they were wonderful!  I might just have to make them again as part of my Thanksgiving spread!  Here is the recipe if you would like to try them!

Pumpkin Cranberry Cheesecake Brownies
makes 24

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup coconut oil
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract
3/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
16 oz fresh cranberries
16 oz vegan cream cheese (such as tofutti brand)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp maple extract
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
a large pinch sea salt
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle position. Line a 9x13 inch pan with foil, and spray with non-stick spray. Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, sea salt and set aside. In a large bowl, place chcocolate and oil. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between to melt the chocolate, until the chocolate and oil are smooth and well combined. Whisk in maple syrup, along with vanilla, maple extract and pumpkin, and whisk to blend until well incorporated. Whisk in vinegar until well blended and there are pale swirls throughout the batter. Stir in cranberries and pour into prepared pan.  Beat together filling ingredients and drop spoonfuls over the batter, spacing them out.  Swirl with a knife to make a marbled pattern.  Place in the oven and bake for about 50 minutes until set, starting to pull away from the edges of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out fairly clean. Do not overbake! Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then lift foil out by the edges and cool on a rack. Let set for at least an hour, then cut into 24 bars (or larger if you are like me).


  1. Amy, this looks and sounds incredible. Love the extra cranberries for a festive touch, too. I've put on a kilo just staring at these cheesecake brownies. You're so good with your workouts - the only workout I do is with the eyes...

  2. Wow! I adore cheesecake brownies (actually, adore might be too weak a word...), but I've never had them spiked with any kind of fruit. It sounds like an intriguing kick!

  3. wow! look at those colors and the gorgeous swirls! looks fabulous! I love the addition of cranberries in this. :)

    come and share this on our blog hop:

  4. Oh dear, these look very interesting and quite delicious! I love the pumpkin and cheesecake combo. Yum!

    Yeah, the waiting to cut part is hard for me, too! :)

  5. Great idea! These look D-EEEE-licious!

  6. Very cool idea! I love baking with fresh cranberries so I am excited they are in season now!

  7. I love how you took these bars to a new level with the cranberry! looks fabulous!

  8. Wow! Those pictures caught my eye and I couldn't resist... I love the addition of cranberries! It makes the bars really pretty and festive. Thank you for sharing :)

  9. Those have great color. I love the festive swirls. You're right no reason needed to make or eat brownies!

  10. I can't believe you thought of these while working out! Fantastic combination of flavors.