One of the best things about autumn is what comes out of the kitchen! Using this season’s root vegetables or winter squash, you can create some wonderful, vitamin rich, hearty meals around your table. Recently I made my first squash pie using a 4 pound butternut. It came out delicious – shall I dare say better than a pumpkin pie?! – and with some squash leftover, those harvest wheels started turning around in my brain. If squash can be fantastic in a pie shell, why not make its equal to the best cookies? So I researched some butternut squash cookie recipes and found them to be lacking. There are plenty of pumpkin cookie recipes, but few squash. The reason for this is simple. Canned pumpkin is so readily available in the grocery store that it’s just more convenient to make pumpkin cookies. BUT… if one has leftover fresh squash sitting in their fridge, why not, my friends?
To get the base for my squash cookies, I found my favorite pumpkin cookie recipe created by a company called Hallelujah Acres. I utilize them a lot because all of their recipes are naturally dairy and egg free (great for our daughter who is allergic to both!) Next, I subbed in squash in a higher quantity and added in some extra spices like ginger and cloves. I also subbed honey for the agave nectar and for punch, included some molasses too. The result was a delicious, soft and flavorful cookie. Yet another reminder of why I love autumn!
Come on in to my kitchen!
Here are the ingredients. Keep in mind that you don’t have to go dairy or egg free with this! That little bowl in front is ground flax seed to make two “flax eggs”, but you can definitely use regular eggs here. The recipe also calls for 1 cup of melted butter or oil. I have pictured regular butter sticks here, but will be substituting my daughter’s special diary free butter. Otherwise, the ingredients are very standard.
First, toast those nuts! Walnuts are my favorite nut to use in fall desserts because of their earthy flavor. Simply put ½ cup whole walnuts on a cookie sheet and bake them at 325 degrees for 6-8 minutes until golden, but not brown. Then chop and set aside.
Get out a big ‘ol bowl and measure out 2 cups whole wheat flour (can sub white!), 1 cup rolled oats, 1 t. each of baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and cloves, ½ t. salt and ¼ cup ground flax seed. This amount of ground flax is separate from the “flax eggs” if you are going that route. If you don’t have any ground flax, simply leave it out. Most recipes include it to enhance the nutrition of the cookie or give way to more texture, but it doesn’t really affect the taste.
The original Hallelujiah Acres recipe calls for only a cup of pumpkin, but after making these cookies a dozen times, we like them better with more and use the entire can. In this case, pour the equivalent amount of 15 oz. of butternut squash into a smaller bowl. Prepare your 1 cup of melted butter or oil, 1 cup of honey and 1 ½ T. molasses. Just look at those colors! It may seem like a lot of honey in this recipe, but that is one of these things that make these cookies soooo good. There is something special about cookies that have no refined sugar in them. Consider it liberating!
Mix it all together and add your two flax eggs or regular beaten eggs at the very end.
Gently pour the sweet squash mixture into your big ‘ol bowl of dry ingredients and stir until it’s all well combined.
Finally, stir in your chopped walnuts and put the entire bowl of dough into your refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. If you need to bake the cookies now, you certainly can, but this step will allow the dough to thicken up and be less sticky when you handle it.
Using a small scoop, add your dough balls onto a greased baking sheet or one covered with parchment paper. I’ve really taken a liking to parchment because it avoids the oily residue from canned sprays and let’s face it, it’s less clean up!!
Bake your cookies in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12 minutes or until they spring back at you when you touch the top of the cookie. Allow them to sit on the pan for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
Beautiful, soft, and full of flavor butternut squash cookies. Suitable for a breakfast, snack or dessert, they are bound to bring smiles when you come out of the kitchen.
Butternut Squash Cookies
- ½ cup whole walnuts
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup ground flax seed
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 15 oz. cooked butternut squash
- 1 cup butter melted
- 1 cup honey
- 1 ½ Tablespoon molasses
- 2 eggs beaten
- Toast ½ cup whole walnuts in a 325 degree oven for 6-8 minutes until golden, but not brown; chop and set aside.
- In a big bowl, stir together 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup rolled oats, ¼ cup ground flax seed, 1 t. each of baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger and ground cloves and ½ t. salt.
- In a smaller bowl,whisk together 15 oz. of butternut squash, 1 cup of melted butter or oil, 1 cup of honey,1 ½ T. molasses and either two "flax eggs' or two regular eggs.
- Gently pour the squash mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
- Stir in your chopped walnuts and put the entire bowl of dough into your refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Using a small scoop, add your dough balls onto a greased baking sheet or one covered with parchment paper.
- Bake the cookies in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12 minutes or until they spring back at you when you touch the tops. Allow them to sit on the pan for a few minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.
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