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Dessert Recipes

Pumpkin-Swirl Brownies and a Little Thanks

Starting a Monday with chocolate just seems right. It is the way things are supposed to be. I had made these brownies once before, but I had misplaced the recipe and I completely forgot about how good this brownie is. When I saw my friend Brian post this luscious brownie last week…memories of sweet pumpkin swirled with rich chocolate came flooding back. I had to make these again.
If you are not a pumpkin pie kind of a person, (a little confession, pumpkin pie isn’t my favorite dessert on a Thanksgiving table), you may have to give these brownies a chance. Rich and moist. With a tiny hint of cayenne. I would’ve added more, but my kids would’ve not been too happy.

I must take a moment to reflect on what I am thankful for:

My kids that brighten my day. My every moment. They are my life. I have been told that a mother isn’t supposed to say, “My kids are my life.” That is total malarky. My kids are my life. And I am proud of it and of them.

My husband for accepting me as I am. His kindness. His sincerity. His huge heart. For being another son to my mother. For his overall awesomeness. For being an amazing and talented chef that inspires me. For making us giggle with his goofiness.

The rest of my family. My mom and my dad. My brother and his family. My husband’s family. I am blessed.
This is a short list of some people that have recently crossed my path through my blog. If you don’t know them already, you should introduce yourself to them. You won’t regret it.

Brian: For being one of the first to start commenting on my lonely little blog. When no one had heard about my blog, he was there and it kept me going. Thank you, Brian.
Deb, Shulie, Barb, Sara: Talented women with a lovely sense of humor. Encouraging and kind.
Paula: She reminds me of why I miss Italy.  A friend with a huge heart and hugely talented. A giving and sweet heart.
Jamie, Meeta, Rosa, Tania, Cristina, Jen: For making photographs that bring me goosebumps and for their amazing recipes.
Ken, Ethan, Sara,:  For always being ready with thoughtful words. Delicious food.
Lindsey: For all her sweetness. For always cheering me on. Making me smile. Brightening my day.
Monet: For pouring her soul into her blog. Her writing inspires me to try harder. Her baking makes me hungry.
Dennis: A talented and humble chef. Kind to everyone that he meets. A true friend.

I am thankful for ALL of you that read my blog. I am thankful for all the other food bloggers I have met.  You share with us every week your fabulous photos and tasty recipes. I think I could type this list all morning, but I want you to see these brownies so you could make them!!

I will be back before Thanksgiving with another recipe. If you don’t visit my blog again before Thanksgiving; HAPPY THANKSGIVING. I hope you have a lovely and peaceful holiday full of love and surrounded by friends and family. And of course, delicious food. What are you thankful for?

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
(Adapted from A Thought for Food, Adapted from Martha Stewart Living)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (original calls for 1/4. My kids were eating this.I had to go subtle)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar  (original recipe calls for 1 3/4. 1 1/2 was perfect for us)
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan or dish. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; butter lining.

Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until fluffy and well combined, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture.

Divide batter between two medium bowls (about 2 cups per bowl). Stir chocolate mixture into one bowl that has the batter. In the other bowl with 1/2 the batter, stir in pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Transfer half of chocolate batter to prepared pan smoothing top with a rubber spatula. Top with half of pumpkin batter. Repeat to make one more chocolate layer and one more pumpkin layer. Work quickly so batters don't set.

With a small spatula or a table knife, gently swirl the two batters to create a marbled effect.

Bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares.

My little guy making Finding Nemo fish with chalk in the backyard. Daddy is a good artist.

Nemo is his favorite!


  1. First off, I'm not a pumpkin pie person either, but I love just about any kind of pumpkin bar. Can't wait to make these as part of my Thanksgiving feast. Second, during my quiet time this morning before my daughter got up, I was reminded that everyday should be a day of thanks. Each day we're given is a blessing. I wish I could remember that more often. But regardless, I'm thankful for my home and my family.

  2. how adorable, of course I am so partial to little boys have two grown ones now but this baby is so adorable! Oh and the brownies look terrific too, never had pumpkin with chocolate nice combo~ great flavors!

  3. I'm not a pumpkin pie person either but I had already bookmarked Brian's post and now I see you making them as well....well I will have to try them. I'm actually thinking of making them with the kid I give baking/Italian lesson to. I am sure she would love them!

  4. These look really cool! Yum! I like the swirl. Just posted your recipe on my blog! Thanks again!

  5. OMG, Love all your posts but this is the best by far and not because of the shout out (thanks you much!) :) Loved what you wrote it came out poetic and from the heart!! Love your glimpse of life through your photographs, paints so many words in pictures. Gorgeous family, gorgeous you!! You are the nicest person and I am happy for our friendship, girl! Love much, Shulie

  6. Ah, these brownies look so delicious! I would love to eat one right now... But thinking back to all the piles of junk I ate over the weekend it's probably a good thing that i don't have any here.

    Is your husband really a chef? that's awesome! I bet he makes the most fabulous meals for you. What a perfect pair - him cooking the meals and you making the desserts :) Those photos of your husband and son drawing on the sidewalk are totally precious. And quite artistic I might add! They look just like the characters.

  7. Lovely post Lora. Happy Thanksgiving. :)

  8. Oh my word you are just the sweetest ever! I'm so glad we found each other and became friends (even though we've never meet). Thank you so much for your kind words Lora, you're really the best ever.

    Now onto those brownies. YUM!!! You know I would seriously attack the whole pan if I had the chance. They look delicious and I love the swirls in the brownies! :)

    Your little boy is just adorable and your husband is just so talented! I wish I could draw like that!!

  9. Okay, typed a comment, don't know what happened to it!

    What a nice post, and the brownies yum!

    Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

    I have to get busy on our feast!

    So Thankful I found your blog!

  10. Great post, Lora. That's so nice you highlighted your fellow bloggers who inspire you and are kind to you. There is so much more to this blogging community than I ever imagined. This recipe sounds delicious. Nice and spicy and sweet - perfect this time of year. Hubby & son are so cute with their chalk characters. Thanks for sharing!

  11. A lovely post with beautiful messages to family and friends that make a difference. :)

    Indeed, chocolate is a perfect way to start the week on a Monday. These will be a hit for sure when I make them! Thx for sharing.

  12. You're both great artists! You in the kitchen and him on the sidewalk. Wow, I'm not sure which I like better (ok, I'm lying. I go with the pumpkin swirl brownies).

  13. Beautiful brownies...and your guys are adorable, too!

  14. These brownies look amazing and so does that sidewalk art!

  15. What a lovely post and what delicious looking brownies :) The swirls look fantastic!

  16. those brownies look amazing. yum.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you too. Have a great time with the family. :)

  17. I'm with you, I don't like pumpkin pie, but pumpkin bread? I'm in love. Happy Thanksgiving!

  18. These look completely divine! I hope you have a marvelous Thanksgiving!

  19. Those pumpkin brownies look incredibly amazing!! And what a fun little activity drawing with chalk :)

  20. These look great! I'll definitely have to try them.

    I'm thankful for my family too. It's one of the reasons Thanksgiving is probably my favorite time of the year. I love having time centered around family AND food! Happy Thanksgiving!

  21. Sweet post, Lora, literally AND figuratively! Happy Thanksgiving!

  22. I agree, when you have kids they totally become your life and thankfully for me, my husband is right along in that with me. These brownies would be perfect for me since I love both elements. Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving.

  23. I totally agree with your philosophy of starting the week off with chocolate. If I had my way, I'd start each DAY with chocolate! ;-) Your gratitude list is really touching and jolts me into thinking about the things that matter to me most. Without hesitation, I say my kids are MY life too (and boo to anyone who says otherwise), my family and closest friends are my truest assets, and thank God you and Brian made these scrumptious pumpkin swirl brownies! The week is already in better stead because of this recipe.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your gorgeous familia!

  24. Such a perfect list of things to be thankful for!
    I agree, very thankful for you as well as many others in our most beautiful food blog world :)
    These brownies are so tempting and " a hint of cayenne" let me at them...
    Have a beautiful Thanksgiving Holiday Lora, to you and you beautiful family :)

  25. That's so pumpkin, seasonal and delicious!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  26. That was such a beautiful post. And I totally think chocolate makes any pumpkin treat a million times better! Have a great Thanksgiving with your family! They should be giving thanks for having a great mom like you;)

  27. Lora, you've hit the nail on the head with this one - every day is about looking around and seeing all that we have in our lives - and being grateful . . . for our children, for our families and for our friends. And you, my dear, are a great friend both on twitter (I love how you tweet in Italian!) and here on your blog - the photos are beautiful, the stories are heartfelt and the recipes can make me gain 10lbs just reading about them!!! I humbled to be included in your list; I am thankful for your sweet spirit and for your friendship - HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

  28. A most apropo post of the season. Thanks for the mention and 'meeting' you makes Twitter that much more fun. I wish you the best on this holiday season and many more happy memorable moments.

  29. aaaww Lora, I have tears in my eyes...I'm so glad to have met such a wonderful person like yourself. I love that we as in food bloggers are a community and should support each other! I'm also thankful for the awesome friends I met especially my sweet Bella! :)
    Oh and I Love the brownies, ofcourse!
    You son is sooo adorable! what an artist! :)

  30. what a great coincidence, i had my heart set on Martha Stewart's pumpkin brownies for a while and kept delaying making them, now I will definitely make them this weekend.
    yours turned out so great, hope mine will do too.
    Happy Thanksgiving

  31. Those brownies sounds so good! I made and ate a pan here last week so my quota is filled for another week. Saving this recipe once I burn off the 4 pounds gained, haha! I'm grateful for life. I feel blessed every morning my feet hit the floor as I'm rolling out of bed. I hope you have a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season! The chalk drawings are incredible!

  32. I definitely must make these, they look dreamy.

  33. Oh my sweet woman...what a beautiful post this was! I loved hearing you talk about your family. It is so evident that you have created a loving and life-giving home. And I was so touched by what you wrote about me. I feel honored to have been mentioned. Please know how thankful I am for you! For your open heart, for your great recipes, and for your sweet and caring comments. You are a joy! Thank you for sharing. I hope you have a beautiful, blessed Thanksgiving.

  34. I think pumpkin brownies are going to have to go on my to bake list!! They look so good! First Brian and now your lovlies!
    Thank you so much for not only the kind words, but to be placed in such a wonderful group of bloggers. We are truly blessed to have such wonderful friends, and I am so glad to have found your blog and to have you be a part of our community!
    I hope you and your family have a wonderful, peaceful Thanksgiving!

  35. These look gorgeous! And oh so festive. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  36. Lora: Thank you so much for the sweet mention. I apologize I didn't acknowledge it initially - I didn't realize it was me you were referring to. I'm touched to be mentioned with such company and by you. xoxo ~Cristina