I am not entirely sure whether calling these ‘brownies’ is appropriate due to the noticeable layer of pumpkin, but the name seemed more concise than ‘big dessert thing with a dark chocolate and a pumpkin layer’. Brownies is close enough.
Anyway, after a stressful week full of job interviews (because unfortunately, gap year travels cannot be funded from the magic money tree), finally finding myself a job and undergoing two days of intensive, last-minute training, I couldn’t think of a better way to unwind than with some baking. Every bureaucratic, grown-up responsibility has to be compensated with something that benefits the soul as well as the mind/my bank account. Moreover, our home severely lacks autumnal decorations, and I wanted to bring in a bit of seasonal spirit with the warming smell of pumpkin and cinnamon.
The result, for sure, was not disappointing. If you have a few cans of pumpkin laying around in your cupboards, there is no better way to use them up than through either brownies or baked oatmeal, and I decided to go for the former.
Being vegan, these are on the healthier side (although I will never healthify my recipes to the point where they taste like cardboard), and contain many ingredients which will benefit you in some way, shape or form without undermining the decadent richness brownies are supposed to have. For example, pumpkin has been shown to lower blood pressure, while keeping you fuller for longer due to its impressive fibre content, and the chia seeds which I used as an egg substitute are full of antioxidants. These protect you from free radicals and lower the risk of various cancers.
While these photos help me show off the fudgey deliciousness of my brownies, I certainly cannot say I was pleased when the brownie tower toppled at the end of my photoshoot. How tragic, but at least I managed to get the pictures!
Feel free to alter the recipe to suit any particular preferences or dietary requirements by, for example, using gluten-free flour or adding more sugar/golden syrup for extra sweetness. The proportions I used were enough to satisfy my sweet tooth without bringing on a sugar rush, which is always a great balance to achieve. Also, I know not everyone likes dark chocolate, so feel free to use your favourite kind, but I feel like it gives the recipe a luxurious touch.
And this is just a random photo of my cat that has little to do with the recipe but I needed all of you to see how cute she is. I am just so in love with that little face. Anyway, let us return to the subject of brownies:
Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Brownies
Fudgy, rich and soft, these brownies are vegan friendly and make a perfect treat to have alongside an afternoon cup of tea. The pumpkin layer will fill your house with delicious autumnal vibes.
- For the chocolate layer:
- 100g bar dark chocolate (I used Lindt 90%, but this may be too intense for some), melted
- 1/2 cup ground almonds
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup agave nectar
- 4 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 chia eggs (2 tbsp chia seeds mixed together with 6 tbsp water, set aside for 10 minutes)
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 2 tbsp ground almonds
- 1/2 can canned pumpkin
- 1/4 cup agave nectar/maple syrup
- 1/4 cup plant milk of choice
- a handful of chopped walnuts
- 4 chopped medjool dates
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp lotus biscuit spread
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
For the pumpkin layer:
- Preheat a conventional oven to 180 degrees C and grease a brownie pan of your choice with a bit of coconut oil.
- Firstly, make the chocolate layer. Add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, sugar and cacao powder to a large mixing bowl. Stir together using a fork until thoroughly combined. Then add the coconut oil, melted chocolate, vanilla extract, baking powder, agave nectar/golden syrup and the chia eggs, combining the wet and the dry ingredients. Use a small electric whisk if necessary.
- Pour the mixture into a brownie pan and spread with a large spoon until an even layer is formed.
- Next, make the pumpkin layer. Whisk together the flour, ground almonds, cinnamon, sugar and baking powder in another mixing bowl (or you can use the same one after a thorough wash!) with a fork before combining with the remaining pumpkin layer ingredients. Add in the coconut oil last in small increments because you might not need all of it – if the mixture starts getting too runny, stir in a few extra tsps of flour.
- Pour the batter over the chocolate layer, spreading it with a spoon, and top with a few walnuts/nuts of choice. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, checking with a cocktail stick for readiness – if there is liquid chocolate residue when it is taking out of the batter, give the brownies a few more minutes.
- Take out of the oven and leave to stand for at least five minutes before serving with your favourite nut butter and/or ice cream!
Lots of love, Maria ❤️
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