Next, best, most

All I have to say to Food & Wine's Butternut Squash and Chocolate Brownies from October of 2005 is that I am sorry it took me so long.

I'm so sorry for getting distracted, for taking up with that very handsome blond man on Cape Cod and missing all my Friday classes in Vermont and spending my Sundays driving back and forth and back and forth from the Green Mountains to this windblown stretch of sand. I'm sorry for choosing him over you, and for all of those afternoons spent talking and walking Newcomb's Hollow when what I really should have been doing was studying your recipe again and again and again.

It was worth it, I hope you'll see (he did, after all, just marry me), but in putting you off, I have made a big mistake. Because after that man, you are without a doubt the next best most soul-shattering, wonderfully comforting thing. You are dark and moist and rich, and you fill the house with the deepest sort of earthy scent. You are good hot, and equally delightful cold. You practically bring me to tears alongside a glass of creamy milk. You have pockets of melted chocolate and a damp, cakey base, and you leave just a hint of butternut lurking about on the edges of my breath. You are, in other words, perfect.

I promise not to forget that again.


Adapted from the recipe for Butternut Squash and Chocolate Brownies in Food & Wine, October 2005

Does it count as a vegetable serving if you eat two squash brownies for lunch? I certainly hope so. If it takes more like three or four, well then, so be it. I think you'll find these are well worth splurging for. The best part is that they're even easier to make than they are to eat.

5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons sea-salted butter
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 and 1/4 cups butternut squash puree (sugar pumpkin and other similar squashes will also work)
1 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour*
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup high-quality, dark chocolate chips, like Ghiradelli's 60% Cacao

[*I haven't experimented yet with whole-wheat flour, but I plan to do half-and-half next time. Because the squash makes these brownies so moist and the chocolate makes them so rich, I have a hunch it's going to work. If you give it a try first, let us know.]

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and butter and flour a 10- x 10-inch casserole dish or baking pan. In the top pot of a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter. Turn the heat off and set the mixture aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture is pale, light, and creamy. Add in the squash and the butter-chocolate mixture, and stir until well-mixed. Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a mixing cup and gently fold them into the chocolate mixture until everything is just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared pan.

(Do not, DO NOT, forget to lick the bowl. And the beaters. And the spatula.)

Bake the brownies for about 20-25 minutes, depending on whether or not you like them fully cooked or slightly underdone. I tend to be in the underdone camp, but these brownies are so moist that over-cooking them isn't quite the catastrophe that it can be with drier baked goods.

Serve warm or at room temperature, with a tall glass of milk.


Anna said...

Yum! I must say, no brownie recipe is easier than Katherine Hepburn's, but these look quite a bit healthier and equally delicious!

Elspeth said...


i agree with you on the merits of katherine hepburn's brownies. these are sort of in a separate category. not really to be compared---much more moist, if you can imagine that. plus, yes, a bit healthier, although i'm not sure how much.


Anonymous said...

i am going to try these asap. just have to add that I made kh's brownies a few days ago, to take to the vickerys for dinner, and i cooked them to perfection -- just the right amount of gooey-ness, but solid enough to cut into pieces and pick up easily. light as a feather, too. yum! i still have quite a bit of squash that i froze from our garden last summer. this looks like a great way to use it. i'll report back xo, mama

Adrie said...

Ok, you've convinced me. I clearly need these in my life.

Elspeth said...

Yes, Adrie. Yes you do.

And Mama, you'll have to let me know!

All the best,

Sarah {edible living} said...

What a beautiful love story. One that's tempting me....

Elspeth said...


I know. We just ate the last of them, and I am thinking we may need another batch. I noticed that this week was the first week in a long time that we were able to go through our full half-gallon of milk, a feat I am fairly certain was linked directly to brownie consumption. Maybe an unanticipated health benefit?

All the best,

Bie said...

Elspeth; someday you will have to send me some of these brownies.They sound so yummy.Hugs biee

Emily said...

I made these with Anna Haigh, and they were AMAZING! Quite possibly the best brownies I have ever tasted. The only disappointment was that so little puree comes out of one squash. Worth it, though.

Elspeth said...

Emily, I would have to agree. I think ours ate up one and a half...maybe even two? But so, so worth it. (And you can then convince yourself that you are not just eating a pound of brownies, but actually maybe a whole squash in the process!)

Glad they were such a success.


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