From home baking basics to fancy techniques, all of Johnny Iuzzini’s are equally drool-worthy in his cookbook, Sugar Rush.
There are really no rules on what you can and can’t use in a great dessert, and I find that vegetables offer flavors, textures, and colors that work well in the sweet environment. They also can add tons of moisture to a dessert, as the squash does for these blondies. Here the rich, moist squash eliminates the need for the heavy, flavorless corn syrup usually found in blondie recipes.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put the squash halves on it, cut side down. Roast until the fl esh is fork-tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, scoop the fl esh from the skins into a food processor and purée until smooth.
- Transfer the squash to a saucepan and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes to remove excess moisture. Remove from the heat, measure 1 cup for the blondies, and reserve the remaining purée for another use.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Grease an 8 × 11-inch baking dish or cake pan with butter and coat it generously with the Demerara sugar, tapping out the excess.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, toss the ¾ cup butter and the brown sugar together with your hands until the butter is coated. Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until lightened and no clumps of butter remain. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula between additions. Add the syrup and vanilla and mix well.
- Sift the fl our, baking powder, cumin, ginger, and mace together; sprinkle the salt over the top. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients, a little at a time, mixing until just combined. Add the cooled squash and mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in two thirds of the white chocolate pieces.
- Evenly spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining chocolate pieces evenly over the top. Bake on the center rack until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
- Cool completely in the pan on a rack before cutting into 12 equal-sized pieces.
Reprinted from Sugar Rush. Copyright © 2014 by Johnny Iuzzini. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Johnny Iuzzini and Michael Spain-Smith. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.