My new favorite treat!
Oh my, where to even begin. First off, while I’m not a huge chocolate dessert fan, I am a HUGE brownie fan. I’m a huge fan of anything chewy, really. These pumpkin caramel brownies are very indulgent, but they make for a really special treat. The best part about brownies is that they’re easy to transport and serve, but are also soooo good heated up in the microwave for 15 seconds and topped with ice cream. A good brownie is amazing on it’s own. But this savory pumpkin filling and gooey salted caramel just pushes it over the top. This treat isn’t quite as decadent as my indulgent peanut butter pie, but it will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth for the day!
A fudgy brownie is the best brownie.
There’s nothing worse than biting into a dry, crumbly brownie. Like, what? Brownies need to be chewy, indulgent, and fudgy. I got my inspiration from Sally’s Baking Addiction. The melted chocolate chips in addition to cocoa powder makes all the difference.
Prepare for a mess.
I won’t sugarcoat it. This recipe requires a lot of bowls and messy steps. However, these brownies keep very well in the freezer. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you could make two batches in one day, and have a nice little stash of these for weeks to come!
Don’t let homemade caramel intimidate you.
Caramel is one of those things that you have to spend time mastering, but once you do, it becomes second nature. Use a heavy-duty non-stick pan, or else your caramel could stick and harden to the pan. It’s also key to use a rubber spatula– the sugar will harden on a plastic or wooden spoon! Let the sugar cook over medium heat and stir constantly. The sugar will turn color from white to beige, then start to clump up before it liquifies. This can take anywhere from five to ten minutes, depending on your heat level and the size of your pan. Be patient and it will eventually turn into a smooth, deep amber brown color.
The second that amber color starts to darken, it’s time to add your butter. Sugar can burn very quickly, so it’s important to work fast and vigorously whisk in the butter. If the butter keeps gravitating to the edges of the pan, remove the mixture from heat for a few seconds and whisk as fast as you can- just don’t splatter yourself! Again, this part takes patience, but eventually the butter and sugar will become one. Once it does, whisk the heavy cream and vanilla extract into the caramel, then you’re in the home stretch!
I find that store-bought caramel just doesn’t hold a flame to homemade caramel. You can double or even triple the recipe and store some in the refrigerator for up to a month. It’s the perfect extra somethin’ to drizzle on top of so many treats!
It’s all about the layers.
Be patient when managing the brownie batter- as it warms in the pan while you’re dispersing it, it will eventually spread to all corners and sides of the pan. It’s key to have the batter fully covering the bottom of the pan, to avoid the pumpkin layer from seeping through and making the bottoms of your brownies messy.
I know this recipe is a bit of an undertaking. But I guarantee it’s a treat worth making and sharing!
Why you’ll love these pumpkin caramel brownies
- Super fudgy brownie texture
- Savory pumpkin filling
- Homemade decadent caramel
- Easy to freeze for another time
Pumpkin Caramel BrowniesPrint Recipe
- For the caramel:
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cold
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of kosher salt
- For the brownies:
- 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour like mine!
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ cup confectioners sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter, to be melted
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, to be melted
- 3 eggs
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- For the pumpkin filling:
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- ¼ cup confectioners sugar
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
Prepare the caramel, which can be done days before baking day. Add the sugar to a large non-stick sauce pan over medium heat. Use a rubber spatula to toss around the sugar until it melts. The sugar will turn beige and clump up at first, but then it will start to melt.
Once it’s totally liquified, cut your butter into ten chunks. Using a whisk, add the butter chunks to the sugar and vigorously whisk- the mixture will bubble and sizzle. Keep whisking for a couple minutes until the butter no longer separates to the outer edges of the pan. It might take longer depending on your pan and heat- just be patient!
Next, pour in the heavy cream and vigorously whisk again. Let it bubble for another two minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture turns a deep amber brown color.
Remove the caramel from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and salt. Let the caramel cool for at least 20 minutes before using. You can also store this in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Now the hard part is over! Onto the brownies. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and confectioners sugar.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter and chocolate chips in 30-second increments until the mixture is melted and smooth.
In a large bowl, whisk up the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. Pour the melted butter/chocolate into those wet ingredients and whisk to combine well.
Use a spatula to fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. No need to over-mix, but you want to get any big clumps out.
Next, prepare the pumpkin filling. In a medium bowl, beat all of the filling ingredients on high speed for a couple minutes until smooth and creamy.
Now, it’s time to layer in the pan! Add half of the brownie mixture to the pan first. This part can get tricky- it will seem like there’s not enough brownie batter, but there is! Use a spatula and the tips of your fingers to gently spread the batter to every edge and corner. Spread the pumpkin filling on top of that layer and smooth it over with a spatula. Take heaping spoonfuls of your caramel and disperse the caramel as evenly as possible on top of the pumpkin filling. Finish with the second half of the brownie batter, using a spatula and your fingers to spread it and smooth it as much as possible.
Bake the brownies for 32 to 35 minutes. When a toothpick comes out of the center clean, they’re done!
Let them cool completely in the pan before serving. Ideally, if you have time, transfer them to the refrigerator once they’ve cooled and let them chill for at least an hour or overnight before cutting. They can get messy trying to cut them at room temperature! These babies can be enjoyed for up to five days stored in the refrigerator, or frozen for up to two months.