Vegan pecan-topped pumpkin brownies

Vegan pumpkin brownie

Today, I am thankful for having the next few days off to spend with family, doing family things, and generally reflecting on life and love. In the meantime, here is my contribution to Matt’s family dinner: vegan pumpkin brownies.

Every year, for the past few years, I’ve made the pumpkin brownies with pecans recipe from Baking Bites, and have gotten rave reviews. This year, with some minor tweaks, I made a vegan version by switching out the butter with Earth Balance and the eggs with applesauce. They came out just as delicious!

I also made individual brownies using cupcake liners in a muffin tin, mostly because I was hopelessly unsuccessful in finding baking tins—any baking tins, disposable or otherwise!—at my local Whole Foods. Without time to run down to the next closest grocery store, I made due with supplies I already had.

I was tempted to get a can of sweet potato instead of pumpkin, but then I remembered someone (Matt’s mom, perhaps?) doesn’t like sweet potatoes. I went with what I knew would work, but I’m keeping that in mind for next time.

I’ve baked these with walnuts before, with good results, as they are usually cheaper than pecans. This year, however, I splurged. I get my nuts and most of my grains from Nuts to You back home in Philadelphia. Their prices are super reasonable! On one of my recent trips home, I stopped into the store near Broad and Walnut, and for barely $18 walked out with half-pound pecans, three pounds of steel-cut oats, and one pound each old-fashioned oats, quinoa, grits, basmati rice, and whole wheat flour.

But now, back to the task at hand! My recipe makes a lot of brownies, three dozen if using the muffin tins! You may be better off following or adapting the original Baking Bites recipe if you’d like to feed a smaller crowd, or just want a few around the house for a cozy fall weekend.

Vegan pecan-topped pumpkin brownies

adapted from a recipe at Baking Bites
recipes yields 36 brownies, if baking in muffin tins

Ingredients

What you will need

  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) vegan buttery baking sticks, softened at room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • about 1/2 cup pecans (I didn’t accurately measure these)

Ready for the oven

How you will make this

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. An in-oven thermometer can come in handy for this, if your oven temperature is off. I need to set mine to 380-385F to get my temps at 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the buttery sticks and sugar until fluffy. I used my KitchenAid stand mixer for this step, but in the past I’ve had no troubles using my hand-mixer.
  3. Add the pumpkin pie spice, salt, and applesauce, and beat until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add the canned pumpkin to the bowl, and beat until well-combined.
  5. Sift the flour into the bowl, and stir or slowly mix to combine. It’s easier to do this in batches of 3/4 cup each.
  6. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners. Generously spoon in the mix. Since the brownies are dense and will not rise like cakes would, you can fill the cups as much or as little as you’d like.
  7. Top each cup with pecans. Some I used a lot, some a little. One batch of brownies went completely bare of pecans, for those who do not like nuts.
  8. Bake for about 20-25 minutes on the center rack. They may not look done, since they are dense and moist, but the edges will be a little darker and will pull away easily from the sides.
  9. Let cool a few minutes in the tins, then transfer to a wire sheet to completely cool.

Ready to serve

Serve and enjoy! Those are some tasty-looking treats right here.

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