These Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies are moist, fudge-like brownies with a swirled layer of spiced pumpkin cheesecake! These brownies are gluten-free and refined sugar free. This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill.
Appropriately enough, along with my first pumpkin post of 2016, comes the first rainy + cold autumn days in San Diego. We’ve had beautiful sunny weather pretty much every day since I moved back in June, but Tuesday was miserably grey and rainy all day long.
Eating pumpkin baked goods, making chili, and drinking lots of tea seemed like an appropriate way to spent the first real fall day. In all honestly, as much as I love and appreciate San Diego’s near constantly sunshine, I love a good rainy day and I’m not entirely dreading the start of the cooler seasons, as much as I love summer.
As much as I was dreading giving up summer’s bountiful fruits, I’ve fallen back in love with tender apples, warm spices, and of course, fall’s darling – pumpkin.
Chocolate and pumpkin is one of my favorite pairings, but the pumpkin always needs to be amped up a bit when chocolate’s involved so it can stand up to chocolate’s super bold flavor.
The tanginess of the cream cheese helps make the pumpkin flavor more pronounced against the dark chocolate, especially once the cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg are added.
The brownies themselves aren’t for the faint-hearted. These are some super rich, super fudge-like brownies. They start with melted dark chocolate – I used 72%, and I recommend a similar cocoa percentage so they’re neither too sweet or too dark and bitter. I found the 72% to be the perfect sweetness. The chocolate is melted down with coconut oil, and then coconut sugar is added to help to lightly sweetened the brownies.
Two eggs and vanilla extract are whisked in, followed by the dry ingredients: a bit of cocoa powder to help amp up that cocoa flavor some more, a touch of salt, and 2/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill super-fine almond flour. I adore all of Bob’s Red Mill’s products because they’re always high quality, always certified gluten-free (the GF products, that is), and perform so well for all my baking needs. No lie when I say half of my baking cabinet is filled with Bob’s Red Mill products – Bob definitely has my heart.
When the brownie batter and the pumpkin cheesecake layer are ready, it’s time to get swirling! First, spread half the brownie batter evenly in the pan. Spread 2/3 of the pumpkin cheesecake batter over top of that, and then top with the second half of the brownie batter.
To make sure the middle cheesecake layer didn’t get everywhere, I used a cookie scoop to dollop the brownie batter on top and then spread with an offset spatula. Then I used the same cookie scoop to make pumpkin cheesecake dollops on top, and made a beautiful swirl by dragging my knife through it. Ta-da! 30 minutes in the oven, and you’ve got some beautiful brownies on your hands.
Though it’s so tempting to cut into them right away, I recommend letting them cool overnight in the fridge. They condense into the most wonderful fudge-like brownies around, with that irresistible tangy pumpkin cheesecake layer. They’re so dense and rich, you’ll just need a small slice. A little bit goes a long way. Time to get your fall baking on – enjoy!
Remember to #bakerita if you try the recipe!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies (Gluten Free + Refined Sugar Free)
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line with parchment and lightly grease an 8x8” baking pan.
To prepare the cheesecake swirl, combine all of the ingredients for the pumpkin cheesecake swirl in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until completely combined, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
Put the chocolate and coconut oil in a large glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir, and repeat until the chocolate and coconut oil are completely melted and smooth. Add the coconut sugar. Whisk until completely combined. Let the mixture cool to warm room temperature.
Add 2 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
Add the almond flour, salt and cocoa powder. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the chocolate until completely combined. Spread half of the batter in the bottom of the prepared pan.
Spread 2/3 of the pumpkin cheesecake mixture on top of the brownie batter, and then spread the rest of the brownie batter on top - I did this by using a cookie scoop to dollop the brownie batter over the cheesecake and then spreading it out with a small offset spatula. Dollop the rest of the pumpkin cheesecake onto the brownie batter and swirl it in with a knife. (see Notes)
Bake in preheated oven for 30-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached. It took mine closer to 30 minutes, but many readers have reported it taking longer for them, some up to 60+ minutes for it to set. Just watch yours to see how it's doing and use your intuition!
Cool brownies completely before cutting into 16 equal squares with a very sharp knife.
Brownies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Some readers have noted that the filling amount seems like too much - if that seems like the case, just use less of the filling. You might have extra filling if you want very defined swirls and don't want a thick cheesecake layer.
This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill, one of my favorite brands for gluten-free baking ingredients. Thanks for supporting the brand that support Bakerita!