Brownies have always been one of my favorite desserts. They deliver the intense chocolate dose that, let's be honest, we all need now and again, except they don't get crunchy and dry like cookies can and they are easier to cart around to picnics and bake sales than a moist chocolate cake. Also, easier to cart around from the oven to my mouth.
The only downside is that they are tricky little devils to get right. Especially vegan brownies. I like them chewy and fudgey but a common side effect is that sometimes you're left with an oily mess on your hands. Literally, oil all over your hands. Which I usually just treat as extra moisturizer.
These vegan butternut squash brownies didn't do that though. They're moist, not too oily, not sickeningly sweet, simultaneously fudgey and light.
I started out my days in the kitchen more inclined towards cooking than baking. I'm just not that much of a rule follower, what can I say? So, in true form, when I had the wild notion that led me to spontaneously make brownies on a Tuesday afternoon for absolutely no reason, all rules went out the window.
"Dear Mr. Butternut Squash, perched so cutely on the counter, would you kindly accept this invitation to my brownie party?" I talk to my produce. It usually only gets awkward once you want to eat it. (He said yes, by the way. We only deal with consensual confections around here.)
Let's talk about making butternut squash puree. Chop off the ends. Scoop out the inards. Peel off the skin, via knife or vegetable peeler. Cut into rough 1 inch cubes.
Now that I anthropomorphized this squash, it's feeling creepier than ever to write about cutting it up.
Coat squash cubes with a tablespoon of coconut oil, spread on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350° oven for 25 minutes.
Transfer your cooked butternut squash cubes to a food processor and process until you have this golden squashy puree.
Like many baking recipes that came before and many that will follow, combine dry ingredients in one bowl, stir wet ingredients and sugar in another and then carefully combine together. See, I follow more rules than I let on.
Once you find yourself with a sticky batter, fold in the chocolate chips.
In a square pan - I used a 9x9 but I reckon 8x8 would work too - lined with parchment paper, plop that batter in the middle and with a little effort spread it evenly to all four corners.
The effort will be worth it. Press in a couple leftover chocolate chips for visual effect.
After just 15 minutes in the oven, I now pronounce you beautiful vegan butternut squash brownies.
Apparently I'm not very good at cutting even squares. The one in the upper left is mine.
Yield: 9 square brownies