These gluten-free brownies are perfect for Halloween!
Prep Time: 30minutes
Cook Time: 40minutes
Servings: 16small but rich 2" square brownies.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl:
8ouncespumpkin or winter squash puree(about 1 cup)
8ouncescream cheese, at room temperature
1/4teaspoonfreshly grated nutmeg
1large egg, at room temperature
Bourbon Brownie Batter:
6tablespoonsunsalted butter, cut into pieces(3 ounces)
4ouncesbittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (1 scant cup)(see headnote)
2large eggs, at room temperature
2tablespoonsBourbon (such as Bulleit)
1/2cupsweet white rice flour(2 3/4 ounces)
1tablespoontapioca flour (also called "starch")
2tablespoonsunsweetened cocoa powder (dutch-processed or natural)
1/2cupchopped chocolate or chocolate chips(2 3/4 ounces/80g)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºLine an 8x8 or 9x9" square baking pan on all sides with parchment paper or heavy-duty aluminum foil, leaving a 2" overhang.
Make the cheesecake:
To extract excess moisture from the pumpkin, spread the puree in a 1/4" thick layer on a triple layer of paper towels, then stack 3 more paper towels on top, and press down gently. Let the pumpkin drain while you begin mixing the cheesecake batter. The paper towels will peel off easily.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium-low until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed until fluffy, a few minutes, scraping the bowl and paddle once or twice to make sure the mixture is completely smooth. Beat in the salt and spices until combined, then the egg and vanilla extract. Peel the paper towels off of the pumpkin puree and add it in, scraping the bowl and paddle again, until the mixture is homogenous. Place the cheesecake batter in the refrigerator while you...
Make the brownie batter:
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, add the chocolate, and stir until just melted. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the sugar. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla and bourbon until smooth. Add the flour, cocoa and salt and whisk until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chunks.
Scrape about 3/4 of the brownie batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Gently pour the cheesecake all over the top of the batter. Dollop the remaining brownie batter over the top in 7 or 8 big blobs. Drag the tip of a paring knife through the batters back and forth a few times in both directions to swirl. (But don't over-swirl–you want the mixtures to stay separate.)
Bake the brownies until puffed all over, about 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.Let the brownies cool completely in the pan, then use the parchment handles to lift the mega brownie out. (Optionally, chill the brownies until cold for the cleanest cuts, about 2 hours). Use a large chef's knife dipped in hot water and wiped clean between each cut to trim away the outer 1/4" (if you like), then cut the brownies into 16 squares.
Store the brownies in the fridge; they are best within the first 2 days of being baked, but will keep for up to 5.
Adapted loosely from David Lebovitz' Cheesecake Brownies.Makes sixteen 2" square brownies.To warm your cream cheese in a hurry, cut it into small cubes, place them in a metal bowl in a single layer, and place the bowl on a dish towel on top of the oven while it preheats, rotating the bowl occasionally.I used Scharffen Berger 70% bittersweet chocolate for the batter, with Guittard 60% chunks folded in. These brownies have a subdued sweetness that I find just right.Sweet rice flour is naturally stickier than the regular stuff, and fantastic for gluten-free baking. Look for Mochiko brand in the bulk or gluten-free section of well-stocked grocers. If you only have regular rice flour, try adding 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum along with the dry ingredients. If gluten isn't an issue for you, you can use all-purpose flour in place of the rice and tapioca flours.For the cleanest cuts, chill the baked and cooled brownies until firm, about 2 hours, then dip a large chef's knife in hot water and wipe it clean between each cut.All ounce measurements here are by weight.Nutritional values are based on one of sixteen brownies.