Smoked Pumpkin Cheesecake & Bourbon Brownies

Are we sitting comfortably? Yes? Good…because here’s another pumpkin recipe. In the spirit of the season, and let’s face it impending CV-19 induced re-lockdown, I’m going to be trying out the wide and various ways of using that seasonal wonder that is pumpkin. You lucky, lucky people! I’ll say right away that they’ll all be sweet bakes – well that’s the plan at the moment, so if you’re holding out for an orgasmic recipe for pumpkin risotto I’m afraid you’re out of luck.

If you follow my blog and recipes you’ll know that brownies are near and dear to my heart. Some people have comfort blankies ala Linus, I have brownies. So it was only right that I should try weave together in kitchen mysticism (it is Halloween season after all!) my love the fudgey (never cakey) traybakes and that bulbous orange cucurbit.

Using pumpkin in the cheesecake element of these brownies instantly renders them fudgey and decadent. I wanted to add another layer there, something to counter thought of sugar-laden PSL. So why not introduce a smokey element- camp-fires, late night and extra complex earthiness working to counter any lingering memories of saccharine heavy beverages.

And why not make them a little more grown up too? These are, after all, brownies for the aficionado. Let’s chuck in some bourbon while we’re at it! For me the flavors of the sweet whiskey go so well with chocolate that it’s too good an opportunity to miss. I’ve also used some chocolate extract here as I really wanted to elevate the chocolate intensity too – like I said these ain’t no five ‘n’ dime brownies. To really bring out the texture of these brownies I find they taste so much better when served straight form the fridge.

So yes- buckle up people…I’ve got 4 weeks of pumpkin recipes left and so far it’s brownies and nanaimo bars down. Any guesses what’s next?


Brownie Batter

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp chocolate extract, eg Nielsen Massey (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp Bourbon
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa, Dutched
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt

Cheesecake Batter

  • 8oz pack full fat cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke

*All ingredients to be at room temperature unless otherwise stated


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees. Spray a 9×9 inch baking pan with cooking oil then line it with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, add the cream cheese and beat it until smooth and creamy. Add the rest of the cheesecake batter ingredients mix until well combined and smooth. Set aside until needed later
  3. In a small bowl a bowl set over simmering water, combine the butter and chocolate chips to melt, stirring them together to combine. Once fully melted remove the bowl from the heat and set aside to cool
  4. In a large bowl if a stand mixer, combine the eggs and sugar and whisk at high speed until pale, fluffy and increased in volume
  5. While you eggs are whisking in a bowl combine the AP flour, cocoa and salt
  6. Into the melted chocolate/ butter mixture add the chocolate extract and bourbon. Stir well to combine. Add these wet ingredients into your whisked egg mixture. Gently fold in until fully combined and uniform in appearance
  7. Sift in the dry ingredients and again gently fold in until well combined and uniform in appearance
  8. Pour about 2/3 of the chocolate batter into the prepared pan and smooth it out. Spread the cheesecake batter over the brownie batter. Dollop the remaining brownie batter over cheesecake batter by spoonfuls. Swirl the batters together by running aknife or a skewer back and forth through the pan
  9. Place the baking pan in the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until center is set. Using a cake tester or skewer test the centre of the brownie pan – it should come out with few crumbs or a little mixture still on it. The brownies will continue to cook once removed from the oven
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on wire rack and chill before cutting and serving. I usually cut mine in to 4 x 3 giving me 12 brownies. They’re quite rich so I’ve found this to be the ideal size

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