This recipe is by Michelle Lyon, Kimball Jones's pastry chef at the Carneros Inn in Napa Valley. Mixing butternut squash puree into the batter gives these brownielike squares a subtle earthy flavor and supermoist texture. They are great on their own or even better in an ice cream sundae.
1/2 medium butternut squash (1 1/2 pounds)—peeled, seeded and cut into 4 pieces
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 375°. Pour 1/2 inch of water into an 8-inch square baking pan. Add the squash, cover with foil and roast for 1 hour, or until tender. Turn down the oven temperature to 350°. Drain the squash and puree it in a food processor; you should have 1 1/2 cups.
Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper; butter the paper. Bring 1 inch of water to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan. Set a medium heatproof bowl over the saucepan and add the chocolate and butter. Let melt, stirring frequently. Set aside and let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar, vanilla and salt at medium speed, until pale and thick, about 2 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate and the squash. At low speed, beat in the flour and baking powder. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool completely before cutting into squares.