Fudgy brownies with a crackly paper thin top, stuffed with pumpkin cheesecake batter and topped with crunchy, salty pretzels. The ultimate salty-sweet fall-flavored treat!
Brownies and cheesecake. Two recipes I have been perfecting for years and years. They are separately my husbands two favorite desserts. So, because of my need to make the absolute best of both (in his opinion at least) and get his stamp of approval, I’ve tested both probably hundreds of times. He’s always loved my cheesecakes best, but he’s been harder on my brownies – always too cakey, too fudgy, not quiiiiite there. BUT! Recently, he FINALLY said my brownies were the best he’s ever had. Praise be.
Anyway, all of that to prove to you that when it comes to brownies and cheesecake, I know what I’m doin’. This mashup of his two favorites is really the perfect fall treat. They’re fudgy, sweet, salty, and slightly tangy from the cream cheese. Then with that little crunch from the pretzel – pure perfection my friends! I tested this recipe several times and finally got it just right, and I actually attempted to do a video of this one and think it actually turned out pretty good! Check that out below! Let’s get to it!
How to Make Pumpkin Cheesecake Pretzel Brownies
Make the Pumpkin Cheesecake Batter
Start by making the pumpkin cheesecake batter. Using room temperature ingredients is of the upmost importance when making cheesecake. Truly the only way you’re going to get a smooth cheesecake with no lumps of cream cheese. I leave my cream cheese on the counter for AT LEAST 3 hours before making it – with every cheesecake recipe, not just this one.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese alone for 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Turn the mixer on low and slowly pour in the sugar, then mix for another 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, mix. Then, add the pumpkin puree, mix. Add the flour, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Mix to combine. Set aside.
Make the Brownie Batter
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a square baking pan with parchment paper. I use a metal 9X9 like this one. Leave an overhang with the parchment so that you can easily lift the pumpkin cheesecake pretzel brownies from the pan to slice after they’ve cooled.
In a small saucepan, brown the butter. Heat the butter over medium until it is melted, then swirl it around and continue to cook until it is browned to an amber color and smells nutty. The butter will start to crackle and pop while browning and that’s good! Let it do its thing. You’ll know it’s done when it quiets down and starts to foam up. Add the chocolate chips into the hot browned butter and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, egg white, sugar, and vanilla for 5 minutes. It’s an arm workout, but it’s how we do two very important things –
- It incorporates air into the batter and allows the brownies to rise. We aren’t using and baking powder or baking soda in this recipe, so whipping air into the egg whites is what causes the rise.
- It creates that coveted shiny, crackly, paper-thin top that makes these brownies so perfect. This is mostly because of that extra egg white we added. Whipping air into the eggs creates that shiny top!
The egg/sugar mixture should be pale in color run off of a whisk in a nice smooth ribbon when it’s ready. While continuing to whisk, slowly pour in the melted chocolate/browned butter mixture. Pour slow and whisk fast to prevent the warm chocolate from cooking the eggs.
Add in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Fold together with a rubber spatula until just combined. Don’t over mix.
Assemble and Bake
Pour 1/2 of the brownie batter into your prepared pan. Use an offset spatula to spread it evenly all the way to the edges. Pour in the pumpkin cheesecake batter and spread into an even layer, then top with the remaining brownie batter. It’s easier to spread that last layer of brownie batter without making a mess and getting cheesecake batter swirled in if you use a cookie scoop to scoop the batter and dollop it all around the top, then spread using an offset spatula.
Top with pretzels. I like to use some whole and some broken pieces. Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes. This seems like a long time, but these babies are thick and especially the cheesecake center needs that extra time. Cool completely, then slice and serve.Print
Extra fudgy brownies with a shiny paper thin top, stuffed with pumpkin cheesecake brownies, and topped with crunchy, salty pretzels. The perfect salty-sweet fall-flavored treat!
For the Pumpkin Cheesecake
- 8 oz Cream Cheese, at room temperature (1 block)
- 1/4 C Granulated Sugar
- 1 Lg Egg, at room temperature
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 C Pumpkin Puree, at room temperature
- 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1/3 C All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 tsp Salt
For the Brownies
- 3/4 C Unsalted Butter (12 TBSP or 1 1/2 Sticks)
- 1 1/4 C Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 3 Lg Eggs +1 Egg White, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 C Granulated Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 3/4 C All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 C Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 C Pretzels
For the Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment for 5 minutes. Scrape bowl as needed.
- While mixing on low, pour in sugar, then mix an additional 3 minutes.
- Add in egg and vanilla, mix to combine.
- Add in pumpkin puree, mix.
- Add flour, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Mix to combine, then set aside.
For the Brownies
- Preheat the oven to 350 and line a 9X9 square baking pan with parchment.
- In a medium saucepan, brown the butter over medium heat, then stir in the chocolate chips until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, egg white, sugar and vanilla for 5 minutes, until pale in color.
- While whisking, slowly pour in the melted chocolate/butter mixture. Whisk until well combined.
- Fold in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Don’t over mix.
- Pour 1/2 the brownie batter in the bottom of the pan, spread evenly. Add the cheesecake batter and spread evenly. Top with remaining brownie batter and spread evenly.
- Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes. Cool completely, slice, and serve.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Pretzel Brownies will keep at room temperature for 2 days or up to a week in the fridge.
Keywords: pumpkin cheesecake brownies, pumpkin desserts, pumpkin stuffed brownies