Pumpkin and ginger are two flavors that were made for each other. And what could be better than combining them into a delicious brownie?
These Gingerbread Brownies with a Pumpkin Swirl are the perfect way to enjoy the flavors of pumpkin and gingerbread all in one bite. The brownie base has a classic gingerbread flavor, while the pumpkin swirl on top adds a little something special that everyone will rave about.
These brownies are just as easy to make as any homemade brownie and they are absolutely beautiful to look at. Although they don't have the chocolate flavors of traditional brownies, I know you will find them just a delicious as chocolate fudgy brownies.
Supplies & Equipment Needed
You don't need any specialized equipment to make this recipe, but a stand mixer does come in handy if you have one. If not, no worries, a handheld electric mixer will be perfectly fine.
The other supplies you will need are as follows:
- 9x13 pan
- medium and large mixing bowl
- small saucepan
- measuring cups and spoons
- cooling rack or wire rack
Ingredients & Substitutions
Gingerbread Brownie Mix
This recipe uses the basic dry ingredients founding in many brownie or cookie recipes; all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and spices.
You can certainly switch out the all purpose flour for cake flour if you like or even try a Gluten free flour that is a 1:1 substitute in baking like Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour. I have not tested the recipe using any other flour other than all purpose, so I cannot tell you exactly how it will turn out.
The spices used are those gingerbread spices like; allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. Together, with the blackstrap molasses, they create the gingerbread flavor. While you can adjust, omit, replace the spices as you like, changing any of them may result in different flavor.
Brown Sugar, eggs, blackstrap molasses, and butter make up the wet ingredients in this recipe.
You may be asking why brown sugar is a wet ingredient and not a dry ingredient. Technically, brown sugar is a dry ingredient, but in this recipe we combine with the wet ingredients and heat it so it liquifies and dissolves. For this reason, it's considered a wet ingredient in this recipe.
If you are not familiar with blackstrap molasses (called Treacle or Black Treacle in the UK and other European countries), it is not the exact same thing as dark molasses. Blackstrap molasses goes through a third boiling and is not as sweet as light or dark molasses. However, if you can't find blackstrap molasses, you can use dark molasses instead.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl
The Pumpkin swirl in the gingerbread brownies not only gives a little lift to the gingerbread flavor that can be overpowering for some, it also adds some creaminess to the brownies that I just love and I think you will, too!
The batter is made from basic pumpkin cheesecake ingredients; cream cheese, sugar, canned pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spices.
You can either use canned pumpkin or your own homemade pumpkin puree or switch things up a little and use butternut squash puree! You don't want to use pumpkin pie filling because it contains other ingredients and would throw your ratios off.
If you aren't a fan of pumpkin, you can absolutely skip the pumpkin cheesecake swirl and the brownies will still be delicious!
I like to add a little drizzle of white chocolate to the top or I have also used a pecan bourbon glaze that is wonderful on these brownies. I will provide the recipe below in case you want to make the glaze.
Pecan Bourbon Glaze
- 1 cup William Wolf Pecan Bourbon
- 8 ounces white chocolate
- In a small saucepan heat the William Wolf Pecan Bourbon on medium heat until it begins to boil, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer until liquid is reduced by half. This takes about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place bourbon in bowl or measuring cup. You should have ½ cup of bourbon.
- Over a double boiler, heat the white chocolate until melted. Or microwave in 20 second intervals until melted. Do not overheat or the chocolate will seize. Slowly add in bourbon, whisking constantly. You may see clumps start to form, just continue whisking and adding the bourbon until it is all incorporated. The glaze will thin out and the lumps will go away. Allow the glaze to thicken slightly, but use within 2 hours or it becomes difficult to work with.
How to Make Gingerbread Brownies
Mise En Place
Here are a few things you can do to get ready to make the recipe.
- Take the cream cheese out of the fridge at least four hours before making the recipe so it has time to come to room temperature.
- Take the eggs out of the fridge at least 4 hours prior to making the recipe so they come to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 350℉/175℃ about 20 minutes before making the recipe.
- Gather the supplies you will need to make the recipe about 10 minutes before you begin.
- Gather ingredients and measure them out about 5 minutes before making the recipe
Gingerbread Brownie Base
Combine the butter, dark brown sugar, and blackstrap molasses in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. This takes about 8-10 minutes. Turn off heat and allow the mixture to cool for about 15-20 minutes. This is a great time to prepare your pan and also whip up the pumpkin cheesecake mixture for the swirl.
When you are ready to add the eggs to the brown sugar mixture, it's important that the mixture isn't so hot that it will start to cook the eggs when they are added.What I do is turn the mixer on for about 3-5 minutes with the brown sugar mixture and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment so it cools down quicker.
With the mixer on low speed, add in the vanilla extract and add one egg at time and beat on low until combined.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and spices. Mix well.
Add in ⅓ flour mixture and continue to beat on low until flour is incorporated into batter. Repeat until all flour is incorporated into batter.
If you haven't already done this, prepare your 9x13 pan by either lining with parchment paper, spraying with baking spray or using butter and flour to lightly coat the pan.
Pour the gingerbread brownie mixture into the pan and spread it so it covers the entire bottom.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl
Add the room temperature cream cheese, sugar, and spices to the bowl of a stand mixer or a medium size mixing bowl if using a hand held electric mixer.
Mix on low to medium speed until the ingredients are well combined.
Add in the pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla extract and blend on low speed until smooth. The mixture will not be as thick as a traditional cheesecake mixture, it will have the consistency of a pumpkin pie filling.
Transfer the pumpkin cheesecake batter to a small bowl and refrigerate until you are ready to use it.
Topping the Gingerbread Brownies with a Pumpkin & Molasses Swirl
Using a large scoop that is about 3 Tablespoons, scoop the pumpkin cheesecake batter on top of the gingerbread brownie batter. You will usually get about 3 down and 3 or 4 across. Try to get close to the edges of the pan with the cheesecake batter, but not touching the pan.
Take a butter knife and swirl the pumpkin cheesecake batter into the gingerbread brownie batter in a criss cross motion.
Drizzle 1 Tablespoon of blackstrap molasses on top and using a butter knife, swirl the molasses into the pumpkin cheesecake batter to create a design.
Place the pan into a preheated oven on 325℉/160℃ and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top is set and not jiggly. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack.
Cutting & Decorating
Once the brownies are cool, cut them into the size you want them. I like to cut the first brownie with a small nylon spatula because my cake pan is non-stick. Once the first 1-2 brownies are out, I remove the a block of the brownies and finish cutting them on my cutting board.
Melt some white chocolate wafters and add about ½ teaspoon of avocado oil to thin out the chocolate.
Drizzle the top of each brownie with the white chocolate. Allow to sit so the chocolate hardens some. If you are going to store and serve later, hold off on the chocolate drizzle until you are ready to serve them. Especially if you plan on freezing them.
Serve and Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
I actually tried making this recipe with a gingerbread cake mix and wasn't thrilled with the results. The brownies end up much more cake like than brownie like.
Yes, they freeze just fine. I do suggest not adding the chocolate drizzle before freezing because it tends to fall off when moved around in the freezer.
Make sure the brownies are completely cool before freezing. You can either freeze in a block or as individual brownies.
For the best results freeze on parchment lined tray and then transfer to an airtight container for storage. This way the softer cheesecake tops won't get messed up.
More Brownie & Cookie Recipes
I'm always looking for different kinds of recipes that I can make to serve at parties, cookouts, or at holiday celebrations. Here are some of my favorites!
Ginger Pumpkin Brownies
- 10 Tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup blackstrap molasses
- 2 cups dark brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 2 Cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine grind sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Batter
- 4 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fine grind sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg room temperate
- 1 Tablespoon Blackstrap Molasses
- ½ cup white chocolate melting wafers
- Prep 9x13 pan by lightly buttering and flouring, or lining with parchment paper, or use a baking spray.
- Preheat Oven to 325°F/160°C
- In a small saucepan, melt shortening and butter over low heat. Add brown sugars and molasses, stir to combine and heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Allow to cool. *You can skip down to making the pumpkin cheesecake batter while it cools.
- Combine flour, spices, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Place butter/sugar mixture into bowl of stand mixer, add in vanilla extract and mix on low while adding 1 egg at a time until 3 eggs are incorporated into batter.
- Add in ⅓ flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix on low until incorporated. Add in another third of flour mixture, mix on low to combine. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl. Repeat with remaining flour mixture.
- Pour gingerbread batter into prepared 9x13 pan. If your Pumpkin Cheesecake Batter is made you can skip down to Assembling the Brownies.
Pumpkin Cheese Cake Batter
- Add sugar, spices, and cream cheese to a medium mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth.
- Add pumpkin puree, spices, salt and vanilla extract, mix on low until combined.
- Add egg and mix on low until incorporated
Adding the Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl & Molasses
- Using a medium scoop or a large spoon, place pumpkin mixture on top of gingerbread mixture. 3 Dollops across and 3 Dollops down.
- Take butter knife and swirl pumpkin into gingerbread batter using a back and forth movement with the butter knife.
- Drizzle one Tablespoon of molasses on top and using a butter knife swirl the molasses into the gingerbread/pumpkin batter using the same back and forth motion. I swirled it going across the pan and then again up and down which made a pretty design on the top of the brownies.
- Bake at 325°F/ 160°C for 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and place pan on wire rack to cool. Brownies should be completely cool before adding melted chocolate.
- In a microwave safe bowl, heat the white chocolate melting wafers in 30 second intervals. Make sure to stir in between each 30 second interval. It should only take 60-90 seconds to melt the chocolate. If it is too thick to drizzle, you can add in a touch of avocado oil or coconut oil to thin it out.
- When the brownies have cooled completely, cut them into squares and drizzle the tops with white chocolate. Serve & Enjoy
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
She published her first cookbook in the Fall of 2018 and is very interested in writing several more.
Louise is also the creator of an online Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooking Course with over 100 instructional step-by-step videos. People absolutely rave about the course and all the value they have received from it.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can. Get more Information about Louise & contact information
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