Prepare a 9×13 baking dish by lining with parchment paper or foil and then spraying with non-stick cooking spray. Or just spray the pan.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally. The butter will foam up, then back down and start forming brown-colored milk solids or “bits”. When it is a nice light brown and it starts to smell like you could drink it straight, that’s when you know it’s done.*
While your butter is browning, combine sugar, cocoa, and salt in a bowl or stand mixer.
Once the butter is nice and brown, immediately pour the butter into the bowl with the sugar and cocoa (so that it stops cooking. You don’t want it to burn). Beat the mixture until it is smooth, almost creamy.
Add the water and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in between each addition.
Add the flour and chocolate ships and mix until just incorporated. Batter will be about the consistency of cement. Have a taste. It’s awesome.
Use a sturdy rubber spatula to spread batter into the prepared pan.
To make the cream cheese swirl:
In a separate (or rinsed) bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is smooth. Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and sugar, and beat until smooth.
Add orange food coloring to get whatever level of orange you want. (I prefer gel food coloring so that it doesn't mess with the liquid level in the recipe.)
Pour the pumpkin mixture over the brownies and spread to the edges.
Now for the fun part: use a spatula or butter knife to make swirls. This is actually kind of tricky because the brownie batter is so thick, but just do your best.
Bake at 350 for 45-48 minutes. The brownies are done when a toothpick comes out clean and the center doesn't wiggle when you shake it.
Let the brownies cool before cutting. I like them warm, but they are good room temperature or chilled as well.
*Note that you don't HAVE to brown the butter if you don't want to. You could just melt it...but you will be missing out. :)