Butternut-Maple Blondies with Cumin

Every year we travel to Hot Springs, Arkansas to attend the Arkansas Derby.   (You can see about our most recent trips here and here.) We always meet the in-laws there and have a great time seeing horses that will probably make an appearance at the Kentucky Derby and beyond.   (Of course last year, we were lucky enough to see the Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah.)

The Hubs’ parents first introduced us to horse racing about 18 or so years ago.   They were traveling to Hot Springs and Oaklawn Park long before then.   They love the horses and the FiL loves to try to beat the system. 🙂

Last year for their 50th wedding anniversary, The Hubs and all his siblings pitched in to send them to the Kentucky Derby, a lifelong dream of theirs.   These siblings did it up right and even purchased tickets to the Taste of the Derby.  I think the MiL might have had more fun there than at the actually races.   She made a point of remembering all the food to report back to me.    I was envious with chefs like Debbie Gold, Tim Love, and Kevin Gillepsie (among others) representing.   My MiL was most taken with Chef Johnny Iuzzini, who had just recently authored Sugar Rush.

sugar rush

She wanted to get me an autographed copy, but Iuzzini had just sold out when she visited his table.   Because she is a sweetheart, she ordered one for me as soon as she got home.

She did get me his autograph in the Taste of Derby program.

sugar rush_NEW

Johnny Iuzzini’s flourished autograph.

 

As she regaled me with descriptions of the food at last year’s Taste of the Derby, she kept going on about the most delicious chocolate shot glasses filled with Kentucky bourbon.   I don’t know if these little chocolaty shots of goodness were at Iuzzini’s table or not, but I found her descriptions hilarious.  My MiL is not a drinker.

So in honor of the upcoming Run for the Roses, I want to thank my MiL for the kind gift of Sugar Rush by making one of Iuzzini’s recipes.

by Eliot's Eats

Butternut-Maple Blondies

 

Butternut-Maple Blondies 
slightly adapted from Johnny Iuzzini’s Sugar Rush

2 c. butternut squash puree
3/4 c. cold butter, diced, plus more for the pan
2-3 T. Turbinado sugar, for the pan
1 c. packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 T. pure maple syrup
1 t. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2  t. ground cumin
3/4 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. kosher salt
1 c. high quality white chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350 F.   Butter an 8 x 11-inch baking pan and coat it generously with the turbinado sugar, tapping out the excess.

by Eliot's Eats

A great technique for coating pans for bar cookies!

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment,beat 3/4 c. butter with brown sugar. 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 will.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cumin, ginger, nutmeg and salt  together.  With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients, a little at time, mixing until just combined.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in 2/3 c. of the white chocolate chips.

Evenly spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining white chocolate chips 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.

I made a few adaptations to the original recipe.  First, I decreased the amount of cumin by 1/4 t.  (The original recipe called for 3/4 t. cumin.  I felt like that was a bit too much.)   The cumin does add an interesting note and makes these bars quite unique.

The original recipe also called for mace.  Not having any, I subbed in nutmeg.  It worked well.

Finally, Demerara  sugar was called for to coat the pan.  Again, not having any, I subbed in Turbinado sugar.   I really liked this technique and will be coating my other bar-cookie pans with sugar.

by Eliot's Eats

Loved the texture the Turbinado sugar gave to these brownies.

 

Rest assured that Sugar Rush is not just a cookie and brownie book.  Iuzzini’s book is full of techniques and every pastry recipe you would ever need including instructions for custards, meringues, caramel, cakes, muffins, tarts, pies, and yeast doughs.

I actually took these brownies along with his Spiced Apple and Pistachio Streusel Muffins for this year’s trip to the Arkansas Derby.

by Eliot's Eats

Spiced Apple and Pistachio Streusel Muffins

 

These and those super moist squash bars traveled well.  We had the bars for desserts and the mufifns for breakfasts.  (I think the FiL may have snuck a few more.)

Did we see the Kentucky Derby winner and potential Triple Crown winner this year?

by Eliot's Eats

Cupid, pre-race at Arkansas Derby, April 16, 2016

 

Cupid was the favorite and really disappointed.   The winner was Creator.   Other horses we saw that might have a shot are Suddenbreakingnews and Whitmore.   You know, it is really a crap shoot.

 

 

18 comments to Butternut-Maple Blondies with Cumin

Leave a Reply to Chris Scheuer Cancel reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

  

  

  

My Favorite Reads

Eat, Pray, Love
Running with Scissors
SantaLand Diaries
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Angela's Ashes
Naked
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
My Life in France
Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living
Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise
A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table
Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table
The Liars' Club
Code Name Verity
The Paris Wife
The Shoemaker's Wife
The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo: A Novel
Brother of the More Famous Jack
Burying the Honeysuckle Girls


Debra's favorite books »