I wrote this post in partnership with HERSHEY chocolate. It is a delicious, chocoately partnership, and I’m so glad to have them in my kitchen today.
If we’re going to do Fall right, we’re going to reach for a can of pumpkin. We’re also going to have a heavier hand with spices and cocoa powder in general, because it’s the season for baking and I couldn’t be happier!
You guys probably know this, but…I work really hard. I work every day of the week, and almost every hour of the day. As soon as I wake and until the last minute before I fall asleep, I’m doing some form of work. I’m constantly facing challenges in my career path, and I feel like I’m constantly dodging bullets, juggling new skills, and fielding new information. It’s overwhelming at times, yes. But you know what? I don’t really think of it as ‘work.’ People that are close to me say ‘you work too much,’ but I don’t really hear that. It’s true that I’m always plugged in, my brain is always in the creative space, and I’m probably on my phone too much.
The thing is, it doesn’t really feel like WORK. It feels like something I am obsessed with and allowed to pursue with gusto. I would describe it as a love affair that shows no signs of slowing. A love that consumes me, fills me up, but leaves me begging for more.
I love baking, I love photography, and I love writing cookbooks, so I would happily do it 24 hours a day. It never gets old to me; its allure never fades. I feel lucky that I get to fill the hours of the day with these things that make me so happy.
There are times when I get overwhelmed and frustrated. There are times when I know I need to take a break, go on vacation, and turn off my phone. But do you know what I do when I feel that way? I BAKE. I get in the kitchen and bake. It’s technically still ‘work,’ but it has never felt that way.
I bake small batches of desserts because it makes me happy. I love that it doesn’t use too many ingredients (I can make something fabulous even when my fridge is bare and only has 1 egg). I love that I don’t have leftovers, both for my waistline, but also so that I have an excuse to bake the next day, too. It’s almost indescribable why two brownies make me happier than 22. Or why six cookies make me smile more than three dozen. It’s just the way I’m made.
I love that small batch desserts make you happy, too. But truthfully, if they didn’t, I’d still be here in this space, writing and sharing small batch desserts. If no one read my words or baked my recipes, I would still be here, baking two brownies in a loaf pan. One for me and one for you. (I would just have to eat your serving).
I’ve had a lot of cool things come into my life because of my passion. Writing three cookbooks has definitely been the highlight, but I’ve also had a lot of brands come to me and ask me to use their products in my baking. And I have, here and there. I’m careful who I let into my space. I’m always guarding the door, making sure this job never becomes work.
But when Hershey’s Kitchens asked me to talk about why I love baking, I let the door swing wide open. Their products are already nestled into my baking shelf in the pantry. Their love of baking is as fierce as mine.
So, I wanted to let you guys know that for the next 10 weeks or so, I’ll be partnering with Hershey’s to share recipes that I’ve made exclusively for them.
I used their Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (which already has a permanent home in my pantry). I swirled in pumpkin because Fall baking makes me happiest. I baked the brownies in a loaf pan for two large bakery-sized servings. And now I’m sharing them with you.
If you’re here right now, you love to bake, too. Why do you love to bake? Why is the kitchen your happy place? Why does your favorite whisk bring you such calmness? I’d love to share this passion with you even more. Is there a favorite recipe that you always turn to? Or, do you like to try something new?
Oh, how I wish you could be in the kitchen right next to me ❤️
If you share your words here with me in the comment section, that’s incredible. But if you hop over to my Facebook page and share why you bake, you are entered for a chance to win Hershey’s kitchens products to stock your baking shelf, too! Let’s be sweet together!
Yields 2 brownies
Brownies for two made in a loaf pan...with a pumpkin swirl!
15 minPrep Time
40 minCook Time
55 minTotal Time
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup Hershey’s natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- For the pumpkin swirl:
- 1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat the oven to 325, and line a 9x5” bread loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving enough excess to use as handles for lifting the brownies out of the pan when done baking.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter, cocoa powder, 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of sugar. Microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds.
- Stop, stir, and repeat for another 30 seconds.
- Let the mixture stand for 1 minute.
- Stir in the vanilla, salt and egg.
- Finally, add the flour and stir vigorously for 1 minute, or so, or about 50 strokes.
- Next, combine the pumpkin swirl ingredients in a bowl: stir together the pumpkin, sugar, egg yolk and pumpkin pie spice.
- Spread the brownie batter in the pan evenly, and top with dots of the pumpkin swirl batter. Using a toothpick (or fork) to swirl the mixtures together.
- Bake for about 40 minutes—a toothpick inserted should have lots of wet crumbs clinging to it, but no wet batter.
- Let the brownies cool completely in the pan, lift out and slice to serve.