It’s pumpkin season, and everything goes. Personally, I don’t mind all the pumpkin-flavored baked goods making the rounds over social media and in every bakery case across town, and sort of look forward to the smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in the air. I love the pairing of chocolate and pumpkin together and came up with these brownies covered in pumpkin frosting. They are decadent and rich, and the perfect way to celebrate the end of October.
Brownies (your favorite brownies will work here; I used this recipe)
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick; 113 g) unsalted butter, cold
- 8 ounces (226 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- ¼ cup (25 g) Dutch process cocoa powder
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (160 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1½ cups (297 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (99 g) packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup (50g) light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15g) unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 sticks (339g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups (226g) powdered sugar
For the brownies
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking pan and line a parchment sling.
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and the bittersweet chocolate until both are melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and add the cocoa powder, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, sugars, and vanilla. Add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir with a spatula until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 22 to 27 minutes, until the sides of the brownies have set, the top is beginning to crackle and look glossy, and a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out with crumbs. The batter on the skewer should not be wet, but should have a good amount of crumbs clinging to it.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Use the parchment paper sling to gently lift the brownies from the pan.
For the frosting
Combine the pumpkin puree, sugar, butter, ginger, and cinnamon in a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring continuously until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat to medium and continue to heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil (the mixture is quite thick, so you need to look for slow bubbles). Once the puree is bubbling, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook the mixture for about 5 minutes, still stirring. Remove the puree from the heat. For a fine consistency, use a blender (or stick blender) to blitz. Cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before using.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the salt and vanilla, and beat again until combined. Turn the mixer to low, and slowly add the powdered sugar, mixing until combined. Add the chilled pumpkin puree to the buttercream one tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. Keep adding until the desired pumpkin taste is reached, making sure not to add too much puree (which can make the buttercream runny). Scrape down the sides and increase the mixer speed to medium; beat until the buttercream is light and smooth, 4-6 minutes.
Note: If you end up adding too much pumpkin and your buttercream is runny, you can add either more butter or powdered sugar (1 tablespoon at a time) to help make it light and creamy again. Just remember that adding more powdered sugar will make it sweeter, and more butter will make it very buttery. I usually add alternating tablespoons of both.
Frost the top of the brownies with the frosting. Cut into squares and serve.