Do you have a tough time choosing whether you like brownies or blondies more? Well, good news, friends, with this recipe you don't have to! That's right, these dessert squares have it all – a dense, chocolaty brownie base, a creamy pumpkin blondie filling, and a decadent chocolate ganache topping. Yum!

Brownie-Crusted Pumpkin Blondies [Vegan]

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Serves

12

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Ingredients

For the Brownie Base:

  • 1 3-ounce package of vegan dark chocolate, 70-72 percent cacao
  • 2 tablespoons semi-solid coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup organic light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 tablespoons pure cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • A pinch of salt

For the Blondies:

  • 3/4 cup baked, mashed pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup mild-tasting extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup organic light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecan nuts

For the Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 4-ounce package of vegan dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons coconut nectar or maple syrup
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Preparation

To Make the Dark Chocolate Ganache:

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the almond milk and once it begins to boil, remove from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Add in the coconut syrup and mix with a spatula until the chocolate is melted and the ganache looks glossy and smooth.
  2. Set aside at room temperature and allow the ganache to cool and thicken.

To Make the Brownie Base:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a square brownie pan with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and stir in the coconut oil (it's important to measure the coconut oil while it's still solid or semi-solid).
  3. Add in the sugar, almond milk, and vanilla extract. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix with a rubber spatula until smooth and spread into the prepared pan, make sure the top is even. Set aside.

To Make the Pumpkin Blondies:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the mashed pumpkin, oil, sugar, almond milk, and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Add in the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Mix just until combined and stir in the chopped pecans. Be careful not to overmix the batter.
  3. Pour the mixture on top of the brownie layer and smooth the top with a spatula (or by gently tapping with the palm of your hands). Bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the blondies cool almost completely in the pan. Then slice into 12 squares. To get perfectly cut portions it is very important that you let the blondies (also applicable to brownies) cool completely and, even better, let them rest overnight.

To Top the Blondies:

  1. Use a small offset spatula to glaze the blondies with the chocolate ganache, making sure they are completely cold.
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