Pumpkin Brownies

It finally feels like fall! Fifty-degree nights mean Thanksgiving must be just around the corner, and I’m becoming dangerously giddy as visions of sweet potato casserole dance in my head. I’m wearing boots and a sweater today despite the fact that it’s supposed to be 85 degrees this afternoon. I wish Texas weather would cooperate and embrace autumn as wholeheartedly as I have.

When I came across this recipe combining the flavors of my favorite season with one of my very favorite desserts, I knew that these brownies needed to be in my belly ASAP. Brownies have it all; they’re chocolatey, fudgy, gooey, melty, and best of all, they’re healthy! At least, this recipe is. But the fun doesn’t stop there, because we’re adding pumpkin!


I truly hope you’re not tired of pumpkin, because I don’t see the end of pumpkin recipes anywhere in sight for the next few weeks. I’ve still got a few cans patiently waiting to be used in my next bowl of oatmeal and Elesha’s Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Bars.

I have to mention that I was housesitting when I made this recipe and was without the ingredients to make the brownies from chickpeas, as I usually do. However, I strongly suggest using the chickpea brownie recipe rather than the original, as chickpeas provide a great fiber and protein boost! Just remember that the brownies pictured are made with whole wheat pastry flour and are more crumbly than those made with chickpeas, which turn out fudgier. I’ve included the chickpea brownie recipe following the original, so if you’ve got beans on hand, I recommend skipping to the bottom first!

Pumpkin Brownies
Adapted from this recipe, makes a 9 x 9 pan

Brownie Layer (from original recipe, pictured)

4 oz  chocolate, melted (I used dark)
1 cup canned or pureed pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar (or substitute – please do!)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 T cornstarch
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Pumpkin Layer

1 cup canned or pureed pumpkin
2 T cornstarch
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/3 cup sugar (or substitute)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch ground allspice

Directions:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 and oil your pan. I like to measure out all the ingredients at the beginning because it makes things easier and more enjoyable. Sipping a hot cup of pumpkin spice coffee while baking is also recommended. 🙂

Step 2 (Brownie Layer): Melt the chocolate (the microwave is the easiest way, in my opinion). In a large mixing bowl mix together pumpkin, sweetener, oil and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Sift the dry mixture into the wet mixture until smooth.

Step 3 (Pumpkin Layer):  Mix all pumpkin layer ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.

Step 4: Spread the brownie layer into the prepared baking pan and pour the pumpkin layer over it. Bake for 30 minutes, until the pumpkin layer looks fairly firm and is golden brown.


Step 5: Let cool for 20 minutes and then transfer to the fridge to set for at least an hour and a half. In the meantime, make a delicious spinach salad to offset all the dessert you’re about to consume.

Step 6: Devour a brownie or two with a sprinkling of chocolate chips and store the rest in the fridge. These absolutely must be refrigerated or they’ll go bad pretty quick, which I’m very sad to say I learned the hard way. Fortunately, I thoroughly enjoyed a few of them beforehand!

Below is the alternative brownie layer recipe I promised.

Brownie Layer with Chickpeas (healthiest method!)
Note: this make a large batch, you may not need to use all of it.

  • 2 cans (or 3 cups cooked) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dry sweetener
  • 1/2 cup honey or agave (depending on desired sweetness)
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1/2 cup ground flax
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup cocoa (I like dark)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (or canola)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (optional if you want it less fudgy)
  • 1/2 cup (or more!) canned or pureed pumpkin (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions: Blend all ingredients except chocolate chips and walnuts in the food processor until very smooth. Boiling the garbanzos first is helpful because they’re softest when hot, and will be easier to blend, resulting in a smoother brownie. Harder beans make the batter gritty. Add walnuts and chocolate chips if desired and finish with the recipe above, starting with Step 3.

There are more delicious autumn recipes on the way – and I promise they won’t all contain pumpkin! If you’re interested in giving your favorite fall recipe a skinnyfat makeover, just leave a comment and we’ll see what we can come up with. We love a good challenge!

Don’t forget to like us on facebook and follow us on twitter!

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Accidental Genius

Red velvet pancakes.  They sound brilliant, right?  I certainly thought they would be a good idea.  Of course, it would be completely un-skinnyfat of me to use food coloring, so I decided to use beets.  Now from the internet research I did, it seemed like using beets to make red velvet cake is pretty much a hit or miss, with more people missing than hitting.  I figured I’d still give it a shot.

Yeah, my red velvet pancakes were not so red and not so pretty. 

However, my complete failure at producing beautiful, naturally scarlet pancakes, were a near stroke of genius.  These pancakes were so soft, so fluffy, so delicious.  I knew I was on to something.  My next version of the pancakes were, in a word, divine.

Oh, So Fluffy Pancakes (No Buttermilk Needed)

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons stevia (or 1 packet)
  • 3/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (I used pomegranate vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or healthy substitute
  • 1 small yellow squash, chopped or sliced

To begin with, mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. 

Check out my humongous bag of whole wheat pastry flour!  It’s so big, the laundry room is the only place it fits in my apartment.  I love Amazon! 

Okay, ignore my rant and keep mixing the dry ingredients.

Then slice the squash.

Blend the squash along with the butter, milk, and vinegar.

Mix wet and dry ingredients together.

Preheat your frying pan to medium heat.  Once the pan is heated, then you can pour and form your pancakes on the pan.  I always like to transfer my pancake batter into my liquid measuring cup or blender, it helps me to pour the batter more easily. 

Your pancakes should be ready to flip when they get fluffy and bubbly, like this:

See how pretty?

I used pumpkin puree, cinnamon, peanut butter, and maple syrup to make the perfect pancake stack.

The cream at the top is coconut whipped cream.  You can find Katie’s version of it here

I had these pancakes for lunch  the past two days.  Yes, I have no shame in eating pancakes for lunch.  If it’s good for breakfast, it’s also good for lunch and supper.  I think I have my new mantra. 

Until next time, try pancakes for lunch.

~Elesha, a skinnyfat girl

Trick and Treat

My mother is a master of disguise.  Sure, she looks innocent enough, but underneath it all she is one of the most cunning women I know. 

From beans and sprouts in her homemade bread, chick peas in her smoothies, the extent to which she snuck healthy food into our favorite treats, my siblings and I will never know.  She was always devising new ways to get us to eat healthy things.  I guess I inherited something from her after all.  So in honor of the queen of nutrition camouflage herself, I give you…

Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Bars with Orange Whipped Cream

Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Bars

  • 2.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 can pumpkin puree (about 2 cups)
  • 1.5 cups carrots
  • Dark chocolate chunks or chips

Mix all of your dry ingredients together.  Then blend the honey, agave nectar, butter, pumpkin puree, and carrots. (hold the chocolate chunks until the end)

Once it becomes a nice puree add it into your dry ingredients, then mix in the chocolate chunks.

Spread the batter into an oiled casserole dish or separate into muffin tins.  Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes until baked through.

While your pumpkin bars are baking, you can make your orange whipped cream!

  • 1 can chilled coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar (add a little more if it’s not sweet enough)
  • Carrots (add until you’ve achieved desired shade of orange)

Blend all ingredients until smooth.  The carrots can give the cream a gritty texture, just keep blending until that goes away.

The cream won’t be quite as thick as whipped cream at first, but if you let it chill in the fridge it will thicken right up.

These pumpkin bars and orange whipped cream come together for a wonderful fall treat.  Perfect for Halloween or anytime! 

My mom will be so proud.

~Elesha, a skinnyfat girl

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