So a few months ago I casually mentioned to a friend of mine (who also happens to work at Starbucks) that I really liked Starbucks pumpkin spice syrup, and asked what the chances were of me obtaining some since Starbucks doesn’t appear to sell the syrup in the stores. Well, lo and behold, a few weeks after that conversation he showed up at my front door with almost 2L of the stuff! Since that blissful day, I’ve enjoyed the syrup in coffee and tea, and given some away, but I still have over half the jug in my fridge tempting me begging to let it come out and play…to shine…to fulfill its calling in life…to enrich lives with its sweet spicy goodness.
Fast forward to last week – I made these brownies (slightly adapted from this book) for an event at my office, and while we were devouring them nibbling here and there, a few of us were discussing possible variations and these brownies were born when we collectively started drooling over the mere idea of them. Due to popular demand (and me figuring out how to embed links to give credit where credit is due) I’ll also start posting the amounts of things of things I make…except when I don’t measure. Please be patient – Rome wasn’t built in a day, people.
Enough chatting – time to get cooking. Here’s what we’re going to need:
Flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, cream cheese, pumpkin spice syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and espresso powder.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 8 x 8″ pan. If you’re feeling really insecure about the state of your baking pans, line it with parchment paper too. I had a spare disposable aluminum one kicking around so I wasn’t too worried (since I could just cut the pan off of the brownies if push came to shove) but if I was using a regular pan I probably would have gone for the added layer of insurance protection that parchment offers.
While we’re on the topic – do you have a convection setting on your oven? I do and I love it; I use it almost exclusively when baking, and my oven automatically adjusts the temperature to be 25 degrees less than I program it for when its on the convection setting so these brownies were cooked at 325 degrees instead of 350. Give it a try if you can!
In bowl #1: Sift together the following:
1 c AP flour
1/2 c cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
In bowl #2: Beat a block of cream cheese (8-oz package) until its smooth.
Then to turn it into this…
Add the following:
6 TBSP pumpkin spice syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP flour
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
In bowl #3: Dissolve 1 tsp espresso powder in 1 tsp water and 1 tsp vanilla. If you don’t have any espresso powder you can buy some here. This is going to help enhance the chocolate flavour without adding any additional fat – bonus! Now we can eat more than one guilt free.
In bowl #4: Blend 1/4 c melted butter with 1 1/4 c sugar. It will look like wet sand, but resist the urge to try to create sculptures out of it. While undoubtedly delicious as-is, this buttery-sugary mixture has a higher purpose my friends, and we must not interfere with it.
Ok, I know that seems like a lot of steps but it will be way easier to assemble the brownies with all of the prep work done ahead of time. So, without further ado…
Add 2 eggs & the espresso-vanilla-water to the creamed butter-sugar mixture until its well blended and smooth.
Stir in the flour-cocoa mixture and mix by hand until its all incorporated. This dough is rather stiff, so keep stirring…
…and stirring until its all combined. Yum. Who doesn’t love brownies?!?
Spread about 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan.
Pour the cheesecake mixture on top…
…and then drop the remaining brownie batter (you didn’t think you were going to get to lick the bowl yet, did you?!?!) on top. I know this doesn’t look like much yet, but we must keep the faith!
Swirl the batters together gently to create a slightly marbled effect. Did you know you can tell a lot about a person by the way they swirl batters together?
Please send all psycho-analysis to me so that I can gain a deeper understanding of myself. Thank you in advance.
Oh yes, and bake the brownies for 30 – 35 minutes. I knew I was forgetting something!
How good do these look?!?!
Hmmm…now that I think about it…I don’t know how to say this delicately, but these brownies look rather…slightly…naked. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? You are? Good. Glad we’re on the same page.
MUCH better, don’t you think? That extra ganache that was in my fridge was also begging to be given a second chance, and I will now be able to sleep better tonight knowing that it too has had its time in the spotlight.
And finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for:
Delicious. Pure deliciousness. I love it when experiments work out, don’t you? These my friends, are definately a good thing.