Brownies have a very, very special place in my heart. They’re my ultimate childhood sleepover food. I have many a special memory making brownies out of the box in the middle of the night and eating the entire pan…man, a 12-year-old metabolism sure is incredible. But brownies must not be absent from our lives! Brownies must live on forever! Childhood sleepover nostalgia will reign! Those three (very important) mantras popped into my head pretty much the second after I took my first bite of these bad boys.
There is always hope for brownies, even when you go Paleo. And these aren’t just naughty treats that fit under the Paleo umbrella–they’re actually good for you. Full of nutrients, good carbohydrates & a heavy-hitter for antibacterials & antioxidants, you can even eat these for breakfast.
I birthed these brownies (ew, gross phrasing) when I saw a recipe online for some pretty simple brownies made with sweet potatoes by Naomi The Sweetest Potato. I was all pumped to make them, convinced I had sweet potatoes sitting in the pantry, only to discover I actually had a lone smushy moldy one. Super. What I did have though is butternut squash, which is sorta the same but really not really at all so I kinda had to start from scratch to make it work. I wanted something with very few ingredients, super simple to make, nutritious & not loaded with heavy nut flours or a ton of sweetener. Easy, breezy, healthy brownies.
A few attempts later, and I came up with these babies:
Oh yeah. They make me feel warm & fuzzy too. Something I learned: these are so much better after refrigeration. They firm up into fudgey, chewy, beautiful deliciousness and I highly recommend you eat them this way. Don’t get me wrong, they still taste great after setting for a bit out of the oven (that’s how they’re pictured here), but due to the nature of the ingredients they don’t firm up all the way through until they’re refrigerated. Just keep that in mind.
4-Ingredient Paleo Butternut Squash Brownies
- 2 1/2 cups butternut squash cubed
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 3 tbsp raw organic honey
- 2 tbsp tapioca starch
- liquid stevia drops optional
- 1 tsp sea salt optional
- paleo chocolate chips optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Boil or steam cubed butternut squash until soft (i.e. you can smash it with a fork).
If boiled, drain the water and remove the butternut squash from the pot.
Purée the cooked butternut squash in a blender or with a stick blender.
Add cacao powder & tapioca starch. Blend.
Add honey & blend.
Taste for sweetness. Add more honey or optional liquid stevia drops if desired to taste.
Optional: If using, fold in sea salt & chocolate chips (I highly recommend adding chocolate chips, because chocolate chips. Duh. Also, the sea salt makes it taste fabulous. So use that, too.)
Grease an 8×8 pan with grass-fed butter/olive oil/coconut oil, whatever you have.
Pour batter into the pan and spread out evenly. Batter will be similar to the texture of pudding.
Bake for 45 min-1 hour. The top will get dark fast (but doesn’t burn easily so no worries), but the inside needs time to set a little bit. They will not cook all the way through completely–the inside will still be mushy, and that’s perfect! There’s hardly any flour in this and the butternut squash is quite watery, so that’s why. Feel free to cook longer, but know that they will set up in the fridge beautifully at this bake.
Remove from the oven & let cool for 15 minutes.
Recommended: Refrigerate and enjoy cold!
The tapioca starch is used to make the edges nice & crispy. You can add more if you want your brownies more typical to the texture of normal brownies; you can also omit it & it will probably be fine, but do definitely refrigerate if that’s the case.
Feel free to go crazy with adding extra stuff–cold brew coffee, peppermint oil, nuts, whatever floats your brownie boat! Fly free!
I really really hope you give these a go & please let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your opinions and how you customize these to make them your own.
Have a pretty miraculous brownie-baking session,
P.S. What do you think of the new site?! I’m so, so pumped about it and so inspired to continue creating more content. I hope you enjoy!