Gluten free pumpkin brownies, with pumpkin butter baked right in, topped with easy homemade pumpkin spice marshmallows
I bet you could make these gluten free pumpkin brownies into apple brownies. Just swap out the pumpkin butter for apple butter, and the pumpkin pie spice for apple pie spice (or even just for cinnamon – apple pie spice is mostly cinnamon). Don't you think that would work?
You can leave off the fresh homemade marshmallows, but why would you want to do that? Don't worry that I'm asking you to cook sugar! All you really need is a super simple candy/deep fry thermometer.
These brownies are based on my recipe for gluten free super fudgy brownies, but I actually think I like this recipe better. And not just because of the pumpkin. It's hard to explain.
They're so thick and toothsome. These are the sort of brownies you bite into and leave tooth marks.
The pumpkin-spiced homemade marshmallow layer is clearly optional. But if you're looking to impress, get out that thermometer and learn how easy it is to cook sugar to the softball stage and then add it to some softened gelatin (you can even buy that healthy gelatin that seems to be the darling of the Paleo world), then whip whip whip beat beat beat and see what happens.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Brownies with Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, chopped
4 ounces pumpkin butter
3/4 cup (105 g) basic gum-free gluten-free flour blend
3/4 cup (60 g) cocoa powder (I have tried the recipe with both Dutch-processed and natural cocoa powders – I prefer the Dutched, but the natural works fine, too)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
2 eggs (120 g, out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 packet (1 scant tablespoon) unflavored powdered gelatin
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz.) cool water
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (See Recipe Notes)
2 tablespoons pumpkin butter (optional)
To make your own pumpkin pie spice, combine 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon + 1 teaspoon ground ginger + 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves + 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch x 9-inch baking sheet, line with crisscrossed sheets of unbleached parchment paper, both sheets long enough to overhang the sides of the pan and greased in between. These will be the “handles” you use to lift the brownies out of the pan. Set the pan aside.
Make the brownie layer. In a small, heat-safe bowl, place the chopped chocolate and butter over a small saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat, and stir in the pumpkin butter. Set the bowl aside to cool briefly.
In a large bowl, place the flour blend, cocoa powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then add the chocolate-butter-pumpkin mixture, the eggs and the vanilla, mixing well after each addition. The batter will be thick but smooth. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and tap briskly on the counter to break any trapped air bubbles trapped in the batter. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 19 to 21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with, at most, a few moist crumbs attached. Allow to cool completely in the pan.
Make the marshmallow layer. In a small bowl, place the gelatin and 1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) water and mix to combine well. Set the bowl aside and allow the gelatin to swell as it stands. Once the gelatin has swelled, transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl to use with a hand mixer).
In a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan, place the remaining 1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) water, sugar and cream of tartar, and whisk to combine well. Cook the sugar mixture over medium-high heat until it reaches the softball stage, between 238°F and 240°F, on an instant read thermometer. Remove the saucepan from the heat immediately, and pour the cooked sugar mixture down the side of the bowl of the stand mixer into the gelatin mixture. Whisk to combine and allow the mixture to cool briefly. It will bubble. Add the vanilla and salt, and beat the mixture on medium-high speed with the whisk attachment (or with a hand mixer) until the mixture is white, thick and glossy. It should nearly triple in size. It is ready when the mixture pours off the whisk (or beaters) very slowly when the attachment is raised. Add the pumpkin pie spice and the (optional) pumpkin butter, and beat again with the whisk until well-combined. The marshmallow layer will soften a bit if you have added the pumpkin butter, which is fine. Scrape the marshmallow mixture onto the chilled brownies, and spread into an even layer. Place in the refrigerator until set (about 3 hours).
Once the marshmallow layer is set, remove the brownies from the pan by lifting up on the overhung pieces of parchment paper. Slice into either 9 or 12 squares with a large, moistened, serrated knife before serving.