Butternut Squash Blondies with Caramel

22 Oct

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that yesterday included some stress baking. Some people drink heavily, others clean — I bake when I’m feeling the pressure. I’d been planning to make a squash-based treat for a couple of weeks now, and Sunday’s moments of “ahhhhhh!” prompted me to get it underway.

Look at that spicy, gooey goodness. I scoured the web for a tweakable recipe and ended up with this one from the Tasty Kitchen. Below is my vegan version.

Butternut Squash Blondies with Caramel

  • 2/3 recipe of Easy Caramel Sauce
  • 6 tablespoons of liquid coconut oil (can sub in melted Earth Balance)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (depending on your preferred level of sweetness)
  • 1/2 cup cooked butternut squash, mashed or pureed (or sub in canned pumpkin)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or use 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg)
  • 1 cup flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt

First prepare the vegan caramel sauce recipe above. I’m linking to it because I followed it to a T, loved it, and wouldn’t change a thing. Just a note — you can find cans of coconut cream at Trader Joe’s, if you’d rather use that than the full-fat coconut milk method. If you do, you can skip the first step of refrigerating it for four hours and get right to the caramel-making. Let the completed sauce cool in the fridge for about two hours.

Preheat the oven to 350° F and grease or spray an 8×8″ baking dish. In a large bowl, cream the coconut oil and sugar. I used 1/2 cup, but it’s VERY sweet, so I would probably use 1/3 cup next time. Now add the cooked butternut squash, vanilla, and spice and mix just until combined. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until combined. Spread about 2/3 of it in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Remove caramel sauce from the fridge and reheat it over a medium flame, stirring constantly, for a couple of minutes, until it’s pourable. Spread about 2/3 of it on top of the blondie batter. (Save the rest for ice cream, coffee, eating by the spoonful, whatever you prefer.)

Now top with the rest of the batter, spreading it as much as you can to cover. Mine wasn’t perfect and looked like this:

Bake for 25 minutes, or until it’s golden and a toothpick inserted comes out batter-free (though the melty caramel with leave a trace). Eat it immediately if you don’t mind the sticky mess or let it cool completely to get a more solid blondie, like in the picture above. Both options taste amazing.

This recipe is not at all healthy, but it’s delicious and vegan! You could use pumpkin, as noted, but it’s also a great use for any kind of leftover roasted winter squash — well, probably not spaghetti squash, but you get the idea.

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