Linking, once again, to Katherine at I Am Begging My Mother Not To Read This Blog, because she writes, more beautifully than I could ever hope to, about the pressing issues of working in theater/the arts.
After a whirlwind, but rejuvenating trip up north for the holidays, I am home and diving back into the swing of things. We are one week out from our first promo event, and two weeks away from the show, which means every spare moment is beginning to fill up with costume-making and set-painting and the countless other tasks, big and small, that must be done by the performance deadline. I feel like I’m constantly adding to one of the half dozen To-Do lists I carry with me: start programs, make microphones, fix splashes (radio plays…live sound effects are fun to watch, but a gargantuan effort to create…). I intended to be pleasantly productive (more blog posts!) while we were in Massachusetts, but it didn’t quite happen. I caught up with cousins, some of whom I haven’t seen in 3+ years, and the rest of my family. I haven’t been to either of my family’s homes in almost two years, and I seem to have forgotten how restorative it can be to visit those old, unchanging homes that carry the ease of familiarity. There is a certain abandon, I think, in the company of cousins and those people you have known for all of your life. Laughter is a little bit less restrained, old jokes and memories are rehashed, arguments are entered into with knowledge that all the same points have been debated before. I got a head start on some Christmas gifts, which with definitely make an appearance on here (as vaguely as possible, in case their recipients wander over onto this blog) since I am trying to have a–mostly–handmade Christmas. What do you think: Kaity Crafts On: Christmas Edition?
And, between the family, the crafts, the parade, and the food, I read. As a child, I powered through a book or more a day, discovering new worlds and stories, and returning to the welcome comfort of reread tales. I read the first three Harry Potter books more than thirty times before the Goblet of Fire was released, until my well-worn copy of the Prisoner of Azkaban fell apart in my hands. Books were my security and my love through high school. With college, homework and rehearsals were soon elbowing out the time for pleasure reading, but I would find myself binging on my breaks. When I graduated, one of my intents was to bring back pleasure reading as a more constant part of my life. I have done well-enough in that aspect–slowly and steadily making my way through a list of talked-about books as well as more random, free nook books that have crossed my path. For a long time, Veronica Roth and her Divergent series have been acclaimed and praised, and the series sat on my “To Read” list for some time. The books sat in my nook library for several months, always pushed off for one reason or another. But on Black Friday, I began Divergent…and plummeted into a book binge that I have not experienced for years. E had finally gotten around to reading the Hunger Games (after I purchased them for her two Christmases ago), so I count myself lucky that my family is quite used to our reading habits and was not offended that the both of us spent the rest of the vacation with our noses in books. Divergent is captivating and incredible (I’m still working my way through Allegiant whenever I have a free moment–no spoilers!), a series that I could praise for a long, long time. But I won’t say any more, beyond advising you to read the series immediately. I’m rather proud that one of my friends immediately picked up the books due to my slightly-rabid social media postings on the topic.
But I didn’t come here to write about books today. I wanted to share brownies with you. The most unassuming of desserts, a good fudgy brownie is one of the best reminders that simple can still be incredible. I know that with the pumpkin explosion in October, we have added pumpkin to everything under the sun, but (a) I like pumpkin and (b) I really like these brownies (and (c) I might have bought the triple pack of pureed pumpkin from Costco). Needless to say, I am not done with pumpkin–and you don’t have to be either! The chocolate flavor still comes through the most in these brownies. The pumpkin-cream-cheese swirl gives a pleasant tang and a wonderful boost in fudge goodness. They are also exceptionally easy to pull together, and can be mixed and in the oven in 10 to 15 minutes. I store them in the fridge due the the dairy content, and they are equally delicious cold or warmed slightly.
Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
Adapted from Gluten Free Girl
Serves: 24 | Prep: 15 minutes | Cook: 40 minutes
For the brownie base
- 2/3 c. + 3 Tbsp. teff flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
- 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
- 1/3 c. bittersweet chocolate chips + 1/2 c. bittersweet chocolate chips, divided
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
For the Pumpkin Swirl
- 1/2 c. pumpkin puree
- 1/3 c. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 3 Tbsp. teff flour
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Dash each, cinnamon and nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Line a 9×13″ pan with parchment paper, leaving edges to run up the sides. Grease pan and paper well.
Mix dry ingredients for the brownie base. Thoroughly combine teff flour, salt, and cocoa powder in small bowl. Melt 1/3 cup of chocolate chips with butter for 30-second intervals in large bowl in the microwave. Stir well in between microwaving, until the chips are melted. Allow to chocolate-butter mixture to cool. Stir in sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs, mixing thoroughly after each ingredient. Add dry ingredients and stir well.
In small bowl, combine pumpkin puree, softened cream cheese, egg, and lemon juice. Mix well. Add in teff flour, spices, and sugar and mix until combined.
Pour about 1/2-3/4 of the brownie base mixture into prepared pan. Spread evenly. Drop spoonfuls of pumpkin mixture in equal intervals over top. Spoon remaining brownie base mix into intervals between pumpkin mixture. Run a clean butter knife in diagonal swirls from one corner of the pan to the opposite corner. Repeat with other corners to create a diagonal, cross-hatched pattern. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out mostly clean.