Monday 16 September 2019

Thanksgiving treats: Donal Skehan's Pumpkin Brownies

Pumpkin Brownies
Pumpkin Brownies

Donal Skehan

Enjoy the taste of Thanksgiving with these pumpkin treats.

Pumpkin brownies

Halloween is long gone but I'm such a fan of pumpkin desserts I am unashamedly hopping on the Thanksgiving band wagon. A day that is primarily about food and being grateful for all the good things in your life is well worth celebrating, if you ask me! These pumpkin brownies are so delicious and make for a perfect Thanksgiving treat.

Makes about 20 squares

You will need

For the pumpkin mixture:

25g butter

75g cream cheese

100g caster sugar

1 egg

100ml pumpkin purée

1tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp ground ginger

75g plain flour

For the chocolate mixture:

200g unsalted butter

200g dark chocolate, chopped

3 large eggs

300g granulated sugar

2tsp vanilla extract

125g plain flour

Pinch of salt

100g pecans, roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a rectangular baking tin, approximately 20cm x 30cm (8-12in) and 3-4cm (1¼-1½in) deep, with greaseproof or parchment paper.

To make the pumpkin mixture, beat all the ingredients together until smooth. Keep to one side. For the chocolate mixture, melt the butter and chocolate together, either in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or gently in the microwave.

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract with an electric hand whisk until thick and creamy. Mix in the melted chocolate and butter. Finally, stir in the flour, salt and pecans. Pour the chocolate mixture into the lined baking tin and level off the surface.

Using a tablespoon, drop dollops of the pumpkin mixture all over the top, and then, using the back of a table knife, loosely swirl it into the chocolate mixture.

Place in the oven and cook for about 25 minutes, until the top is cracking and the centre is just set. Leave to cool in the tin for 40-45 minutes before cutting into bite-sized squares.

Pumpkin Purée

In America, pumpkin purée is used to make the Thanksgiving classic, pumpkin pie, and it gives a smooth finish, vibrant colour and sweet taste to any autumn baking. In Ireland you can find tins of this much sought-after orange purée in specialist food stores such as Dublin’s Fallon & Byrne. 

Pumpkin Spice Mix

Making your own spice blends is a great way to  add an injection of flavour to a recipe. I like to create BBQ rubs, curry mixes and even seasonal blends for autumn and Christmas. Right now I am using my pumpkin spice mix which is a blend of cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, ground cloves, ground mace and ground nutmeg. Add it into baking recipes, your morning porridge or even create your own pumpkin spice coffees by adding a pinch to hot milk before adding a shot of coffee.

The Informal Florist

The Informal Florists, Claire Ryan and Patsie Wrafter, are renowned for the relaxed, non-traditional floral designs but they have also stretched their creative talents beyond blooms alone. They have created their own range of handmade essential oils and soy candles. With subtle scents like peppermint and rosemary and orange, ginger & black pepper, they make a perfect gift — but be warned, supplies are limited. Available throughout December or while stocks last.


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