Fudgy Pumpkin Cheater Brownies (Vegan)

Holy cow, I have accidently made something vegan. We add the fresh eggs from Abba’s chickens to just about everything, especially when baking sweet treats. Vegan we are not – except by happenstance.DSC_1399

This recipe is low-fat, rudimentary, straightforward – and, yes, Vegan! I occasionally take short-cuts when baking – only if the final product tastes great, of course. These fudgy and moist “cheater” brownies have only five ingredients: brownie mix, unsweetened cocoa, pumpkin puree, vanilla and espresso powder.


The cocoa and espresso powders enhance the earthy, dark chocolate flavor. Low-calorie, vitamin-rich pumpkin adds moistness without fat, cholesterol. Complex, deep notes of sweet, pure vanilla is a secret weapon in any brownie arsenal.


Shocking: realizing how decadent and rich these brownies taste. Embarrassing:  admitting I did not make them from scratch, as is the norm.

DSC_1397Abba and Littlest Guy are passionate, dedicated eaters of all things cocoa. These brownies put bright, big smiles on their faces. Chocoholic endorsement, check.

DSC_1423I feel somewhat guilty about the extreme ease of preparation. There is next to no work required – and fabulous results.

Oh, well, please pass me a second. I shall not will wallow in my woes, but indulge in copious amounts of semi-salubrious, satisfying chocolate squares instead.


Click Here to Print Recipe

Low-fat Pumpkin Cheater Brownies

Only five ingredients – how easy is that?


1, 18.3 oz. box of fudgy brownie mix (choose a vegan variety, if desired)

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp. instant espresso powder

1, 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix!)

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (60-70% cocoa content)

1.) Pre-heat oven to 350°F or 177°C

2.) Mix all ingredients except the dark chocolate chips in a large bowl. Place the mixture in a greased, 8×8 inch metal pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the batter evenly with chocolate chips.

3.) Bake for 25-30 minutes on the center rack of your oven, or until just set. Avoid over-baking. My brownies took exactly 30 minutes.

4.) Cool, cut into squares and enjoy!


©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.


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30 thoughts on “Fudgy Pumpkin Cheater Brownies (Vegan)

    1. Thank you, Chef Janet. 🙂 You always leave the nicest comments. I appreciate you stopping by!

      I was completely shocked – and quite pleased – by how great they tasted. Easy AND vegan? Yes, please.

      MMM, chocolate.

  1. hey is betty crocker vegan though? I mean…the brownie mix itself. My friend has a difficult time trying to find vegan desserts that aren’t too sweet or too rich. Was surprised that it was BC mix.

  2. Yum! I’ve made brownies before by simply mixing brownie mix with pumpkin puree–it turned out pretty good 😀 The addition of cocoa and and espresso powder is a great idea! Might have to make vegan brownies soon with these additions 🙂

    1. I hope you do! Yay! Also, try to add pure vanilla or almond extract. Your right – adding the extra three ingredients other than the mix and pumpkin adds a lot of flavor (and takes no time at all!).

      Oh, and if you don’t have instant espresso powder, you could probably use a little instant coffee or even very finely ground coffee in it’s place. I learned from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, that a little bit of coffee flavor really highlights the notes of chocolate in any recipe.

      Happy baking, Ada. Thank you for stopping by. I love your comments. They are so positive, helpful and warm!

  3. I’ve heard of being a poet without knowing it but a Vegan? Well, if the results are brownies as rich as these, then maybe there’s more to this Vegan stuff than I thought. 🙂
    These really do look good, Shanna. For proof, I didn’t need to look any further than the smiles of 2 of your biggest fans.

    1. Thank you, John! Oh my gosh, you always say the nicest things. I appreciate the compliments! And, yes, those guys “like” chocolate, to put it mildly. Some double chocolate oat cookies are coming out of the oven now – to replace the empty brownie supply!

      Who knew brownies without eggs, butter or cream could be this good? I am still in shock. The Accidental Vegan. 😉 Have a great day – and a happy Halloween, John.

      1. Yeah, i agree! Ahah, Italians are a bit “obsessed” by espresso coffee. Maybe cause abroad we can’t find it, and in a day we drink two or three coffee usually 🙂

      2. I love espresso. They had good espresso in Spain… though much more cafe con leche than espresso. We has espresso in America, but most Americans just drink plain coffee (Americano – ha!). I love at least two cups of strong, good quality coffee in the morning. It takes longer to drink than an espresso… 😦 Ha.

      3. oh yeah, you have such big plastic glasses in America, i can’t never finish it! Plain coffee in Italy is made with lot of water and a small cup of espresso, so you can dilute the coffee as you will…

    1. This one really surprised me. I made it again this week, this time putting the dark chocolate chips inside the brownie. The only problem is, I end up eating them all. Rocking my black spandex pants this week – HA! 🙂 My little girl loves making these with me. Have a wonderful day – and thank you so much for your lovely comment. Best – Shanna

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