Marbled Pumpkin Cream Cheese Squares
These Marbled Pumpkin Cream Cheese Squares are an original recipe that I created back in the 90’s when I used to bake desserts for Salon Salon’s Hard Bean Cafe. Now there’s a blast from the past! If you are local, you might remember the cool, pioneering coffee shop in West Reading. I used to walk there with my kids from our old house. When they would ask three-year-old Nicholas if he wanted a cookie, he’d reply, “Actually, I’ll have a cappuccino,” and I would have to quickly add “Decaf, please!”
This was before Google, of course, and so if you didn’t know anyone with a recipe you wanted, and it wasn’t in any of your cookbooks, you had to make it up yourself. I haven’t made these for years and the handwritten recipe card called for a 13×9 pan AND a 9×9 pan, which made me laugh because I have always made recipes that outgrew the pan or pot that it starts out in. Today, I decided to use one jellyroll pan, for the sake of sharing the recipe, and am happy to report that it worked out well! If you need a new pan for the holiday season, you can order this one here. (or they have a great deal on set of 2, here.)
I am sharing this recipe today because I’m joining 80+ other bloggers from all around the world in a Virtual Pumpkin Party, created by Sara Cornelius of Cake over Steak, to celebrate a favorite season for many foodies, Fall. (By the way, local friends, Sara has a really great blog post up right now on the Best Pizza in Lancaster! She’s from Lebanon, PA.) What better way to celebrate fall than pumpkins. Whether you are an omnivore or a vegan, gluten or sugar-free, I am sure there will be plenty of recipes for you to drool over. (I will definitely be pinning my favorites on my “Fallin” Pinterest board, so check it out, and also I’d love to hear what your favorites are.)
If you’ve never made a “Marbled” brownie before, no worries, the process is simple and fun. First you pour the cake batter into the pan and spread it out evenly. The second batter gets “dolloped” by spoonful on top of the first and then you take a knife and drag it through both batters, meandering throughout the pan, creating a marbled effect, before baking it. It is that easy. (see above photo.)
Before popping these in the oven I sprinkled chopped salted pistachios on top. I have made them with pecans before, or you could skip the nuts if you don’t like nuts. Likewise with the currants, you could use raisins, cranberries, or no fruit at all. I considered chocolate chips (which were so good in the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Donut Muffins) but haven’t tried that yet.
Another great thing about a marbled brownie, is that it has the luxurious, multi-layered qualities of an iced brownie, without the additional fuss. Once they are baked, all you have to do is wait for them to cool….literally, the hardest part of this recipe. They cut like a dream with a sharp knife and are a very attractive and portable dessert. I made these to take on a girls’ weekend away and they were devoured early in the morning, late at night and several other times between.
This is a crowd-pleaser recipe and would make a wonderful addition to any fall celebration, from a tail-gate party to Thanksgiving. I am so glad that I found out about this pumpkin party and remembered this recipe because I had forgotten how delicious they are.
If you are curious about these vintage looking graphic linens that I use all the time, they are hand silk-screened by my friend Rachael, Open Eyes Press, in Baltimore. We went to art school together in Lancaster, and I am absolutely addicted to these towels and also, her napkins. They are like works of art that you can use over and over again. You can find them for sale online here.
Let’s make this virtual party an actual party and whip up some treats.
- 1 15oz can pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used safflower)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup dried currants
- 2 - 8oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup chopped shelled pistachios
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Whisk together pumpkin and buttermilk till blended. Beat in eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla until completely combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Sift directly into the batter, mix until just combined. Fold in the currants.
- Pour into a greased and floured (or sprayed) 12 x 17" jellyroll pan.
- Combine cream cheese, sugar and eggs until smooth. Drop by large spoons full (about 1/4 cup), evenly spaced, onto the pumpkin batter. Swirl with a knife. Sprinkle with pistachios.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until firm in the center. Cool completely before cutting into squares.