This post was originally published here on October 27, 2014. I’ve since updated the images and text, because they needed a bit of a facelift. Enjoy!
I am apparently devoid of all creativity when it comes to pumpkin recipes. My brief history of blogging would suggest that the only thing I can think to do with pumpkin is mix it with cream cheese in some form or another. To make my case, I present you with exhibit A, a recipe for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins. Also exhibit B, a recipe for Pumpkin Pie Cheesecakes. And finally exhibit C, today’s recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies.
I’ll try to branch out a little bit more next time. Sorry I suck at this whole recipe development thing.
I’m totally obsessed with these Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies. And I know you’ll be too. They bake up nice and thick. They are super moist (sorry/not sorry) and fudgy. And they aren’t overly sweet. The cream cheese and bourbon help to take the sweetness down a notch, making these squares perfectly balanced. Oh and if you want to add a little salty kick, you can even sprinkle a few pinches of flaky sea salt over the top right when the brownies come out of the oven and are still warm. It’s so good!
I also just love the swoops and swirls of the two intermingling layer. It’s almost hypnotic to look at them. Kind of like brownie art. And don’t they seem like they’re all dressed up and ready to go out to a Halloween party?
Speaking of being dressed up, what are you all being for Halloween this year? Tell me! I need suggestions. Because my creativity for Halloween costumes is right up there with my creativity for pumpkin recipes. Virtually non-existent.
Recipe slightly adapted from The Bojon Gourmet
If you’re a pumpkin lover, then today is your special day. Because it’s the second annual Virtual Pumpkin Party hosted by Sara from Cake Over Steak. Which means that dozens and dozens of brand spanking new savory and sweet pumpkin recipes from some of your favorite food bloggers will be hitting the internet. It’s kind of epic.
Me? I’ve never really been bitten by the pumpkin bug. In fact, I’m sometimes even audibly opposed to the whole idea. Part of this is for social/cultural reasons. I just can’t stand the pumpkin mania that descends upon us every August. It’s too soon. August is for eating watermelon until your hands and face are sticky. And for enjoying fruity cocktails in the sun until you feel that warm glow both inside and out. August is not meant for pumpkin. So I find myself shunning pumpkin, maybe more harshly than it deserves. Because in my own weird way, it’s how I rebel against the early adopters.
Also, I’ve come to realize that I’m just not a super huge fan of either the canned stuff or the overpowering flavor that can come from pre-made pumpkin spice mixes. Sure, I’ve used them in the past with success. And I probably will again in the future. There is no denying their convenience. But maybe going forward, they won’t be my main source for pumpkin inspiration.
So to try to learn to love pumpkin (or at least to not so fiercely oppose it), I’m setting my focus on the fresh stuff. Real pumpkins. Grown locally and harvested in season. And you know what? I may be turning over a new leaf.
For last years #virtualpumpkinparty, I crafted this festive Pumpkin Beertail with Tequila and Spiced Rum (have you seen the color of this baby?). So this year, I decided to go the savory route. I picked up some fresh pumpkins from the local farm stand (the ones for cooking will be labeled “sugar pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins”) and got to work at creating this easy Chicken and Pumpkin Chili. It’s super hearty, filled with big chunks of pumpkin, shredded chicken and both white and black beans. And it’s loaded with warming spices like ginger and cumin. Oh and don’t skip the corn tortilla chips for serving. They are absolutely necessary, in my humble opinion.
To make my life easier, I used shredded chicken that I removed from one of those grocery store rotisserie chickens. It’s one of my favorite kitchen shortcuts, and I have no shame in admitting that. But you can cook your own chicken at home and use that instead, if you prefer.
Dismantling a whole pumpkin can be a bit intimidating. And I’m certainly no expert at this task. I cut mine into wedges, scooped out and discarded the seeds. Then removed the skin with a standard vegetable peeler before dicing the flesh into cubes. If you have a better way of handling things, please let me know! Oh and if you’re opposed to pumpkin (or simply can’t find any fresh ones), you can substitute in an equal amount of peeled and cubed butternut squash or sweet potato.
Recipe adapted from Gluten Free Goddess