do you know what i love so, so, so very much?
pulling a fast one over my mister.
you see, he claims to not like butternut squash. actually, he says he hates it. loathes it. abhors it.
i’m pretty sure he’s crazy.
i’m not sure if you know, but i’m quite fond of conducting kitchen tests and analyses. i’m practically a scientist, guys. my experiments always seem to revolve around delicious baked goods made with slightly wacky ingredients.
the goal is always the same: make Ryan eat something he proclaims to be delicious, then reveal the crazy secret ingredient.
the desired reaction from him is also always the same: he’ll be shocked and surprised at first, and then he’ll immediately praise my culinary prowess and stand staring in awe of me. naturally.
that’s exactly what happened with these butternut squash blondies. don’t you love it when a plan comes together?
i really want you to make these blondies. like, today. they’re wonderfully moist, slightly chewy and beautifully spiced. i start off by roasting cubes of butternut squash with brown sugar and a melange of spices until tender and caramelized. once roasted, i puree the squash and swirl it into the batter. holy yum.
oh, did i forget to mention that these blondies are also chock full of brown butter (my one true love), white chocolate chips, cranberries and pumpkin seeds? because they are.
i’m convinced that these are the perfect blondies for autumn. i mean, check out all of those fall flavors! and that gorgeous fallen leaf hue!
butternut squash blondies: crazy delicious, surprising, and so good they’ll make any squash-hater a convert. true story!
butternut squash blondies
Yield: 24 blondies
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
for the roasted butternut squash puree
1 butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1" pieces (about 1 1/2 cups worth)
1 tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt, to taste
freshly cracked pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoon light brown sugar
for the blondies
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 tablespoons brown butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups butternut squash puree
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (substitute pure vanilla extract if you don't have paste)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
allow me to briefly explain how to peel and cube a butternut squash…you’d think it’s pretty easy, right? nope. butternut squash is not very nice. it’s oddly shaped, has thick skin, and equally thick flesh, making cutting this baby a slightly dangerous undertaking. but with a sharp knife and a steady hand, it’s a piece of cake! well, really it’s a piece of squash. anyway. i digress.
using the base of your knife, NOT the tip, cut the top and bottom off the squash so you have a nice, even playing field to work with.
the butternut squash has a peculiar shape, am i right? it’s skinny up top, and fatter on the bottom; i like to say that it looks like a curvy lady. anyhow, cut the squash in half, seperating the skinny top part from the bulbous bottom.
peel the outer skin off both pieces of squash and discard.
for the skinnier piece, just cut in half and then dice.
for the rounder bottom, cut this piece in half and scoop of the seeds and stringy flesh. feel free to rinse the seeds and roast them as you would pumpkin seeds…delicious! after you’ve scraped the flesh clean, dice it up, and you’re good to go!
for the roasted butternut squash puree
preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, with a rack in the center of the oven.
place the diced butternut squash onto a large baking sheet and add the olive oil, salt, pepper, cinnamon, ginger and brown sugar. use your hands to toss the squash, making sure it's evenly coated with the rest of the ingredients.
transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
after 15 minutes, use a spatula to flip the squash around on the baking sheet.
return to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes.
toss the squash around on the baking sheet again.
repeat this process for a total of approximately 45 minutes, or until the squash is burnished and brown and soft.
remove from the oven and either transfer to a food processor or a large bowl.
if using a food processor, pulse the squash until smooth and pureed.
if you don't have a food processor, mash the squash by hand using a potato masher. if might be a little chunky, but that's totally okay.
transfer the pureed squash to an airtight container and leave uncovered until cooled to room temperature.
when the squash puree is cool, you can use immediately to make the blondies, or pop the lid on and transfer to the fridge, where it can be stored for up to a week.
for the brown butter
place butter in a small saucepan and place over medium heat.
allow the butter to melt, and then begin stirring the pan slowly but constantly.
the butter will begin to foam up and bubble, and you will notice it change color slightly from yellow to very light brown. this may take about 3 minutes.
as soon as the butter smells nutty, turn off the heat and remove it from the stove. allow it to cool slightly while you prepare the blondies.
for the blondies
preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, with a rack in the center.
butter and flour an 8" x 8" square baking pan and set aside.
sift the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg into a medium bowl. set aside.
in a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar until pale in color and thickened, about 2 minutes.
switch to using a spatula, and add the cooled brown butter, butternut squash puree, vanilla bean paste and salt. mix until combined and smooth, about 30 seconds.
add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until just combined and all the flour is dissolved, about 30 seconds.
fold in the white chocolate chips, cranberries and pumpkin seeds. mix until just incorporated into the batter.
pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the spatula.
bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the blondies comes out clean.
remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire baking rack.
once the blondies are at room temperature, you can slice them into squares and enjoy!
the blondies will keep, stored in an airtight container either in the fridge or at room temperature for up to three days.