Remember Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction – “That’s a tasty burger!”? I had the exact same reaction when I tried these: That’s a tasty fall cookie! I mean, really tasty. Makes me wonder why everyone isn’t making acorn squash cookies all the time tasty. Seriously, make these. They will damn well catapult you into a glorious put on a sweater and jump into a pile of leaves fall feeling.
I got an acorn squash from a friend’s garden last week, and naturally my first thought was, can I make cookies out of this? It turns out yes, and quite amazing cookies they are. I’ve never been an enormous fan of that kind of buttery-sweetish-nutty squash flavor when it’s in squash form, but in a cookie it’s magic. Fall magic. Gives pumpkin pie a run for it’s money magic. I will actually buy acorn squash to make these again, soon. I’m bummed that they’re all gone!
What makes these healthy, other than acorn squash? They’re very low fat, and thanks to the squash’s natural sweetness, you don’t have to overdo the sugar. There’s absolutely no reason not to make these vegan – why use an egg when peanut butter will do a tastier job? – and their overall flavor/mood just begs for 100% whole wheat flour. Some healthier cookies wish they weren’t, you can tell, but these are like, “I’m healthy and proud of it! My healthiness makes me yum!” Now, that’s a good sport cookie. Makes you want to give them little hugs.
Spiced Acorn Squash Cookies
with a little help from, bizarrely enough, Seattle and King County’s Public Health Department
makes 16 hefty cookies
1/2 of a medium acorn squash, roasted and then peeled (I followed these directions from The Hungry Artist – yes, save those seeds and roast them, too!)
1/4 cup milk (I used light soymilk…I think any milk will do)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp clove
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup dried cranberries (or any dried fruit you like…cranberries are really nice though)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Have a cookie sheet and a silicone liner or cooking spray handy.
2. In a large bowl, mash the roasted acorn squash. Once it’s mashed, add the milk and use an electric mixer to cream them together. Stir in the rest of the wet ingredients.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet. The dough will be very stiff. Use your hands to knead the cranberries into the dough.
4. Prepare the cookie sheet with either a silicone liner or cooking spray. Scoop sizeable portions of the dough, like the size of large walnuts, roll them into balls and place them about 2″ apart on the cookie sheet. Flatten the cookies into thick discs by pressing them down lightly with the bottom of a glass which has been lightly squirted with nonstick spray. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until the cookies turn golden brown on the bottom. Let the cookies cool on a rack while you prep and bake the remaining dough.
These keep for a week. I know because I made myself leave two alone as an experiment. I also found out these taste even better a day or two out of the oven; the spices really go on record and the cookie is at it’s moistest. So if you can stand waiting a little to enjoy these, you will be rewarded.
Per cookie, roughly 44g: 82 calories; 1.7g fat (0g trans); 0mg cholesterol; 56mg sodium; 15.4g carbohydrates; 2.0g protein; 1.1g fiber