Here’s an easy fall recipe that celebrates my very favorite vegetable, red kuri squash! Its French name is potimarron, which describes its unique flavor – a cross between pumpkin (potiron) and chestnut (marron). But if you can’t find it, you can also use pumpkin, butternut or another non-stringy squash for this recipe, working either with a prepared purée or one that you make yourself.
These yummy, cozytime-comfort cookies with warming spices are relatively low in sugar, but in my opinion the chocolate chunks make up for that. Feel free to add a bit more sugar than the amounts given below if you have a sweet tooth.
Red kuri squash cookies
Makes 15-18 cookies, depending on size
Wet ingredient mixture
1¼ cup squash purée (red kuri squash, pumpkin, butternut squash etc.)
½ cup coconut oil, other vegetable oil or margarine
⅓ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dry ingredient mixture
2½ cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
½ to ¾ cup chocolate, roughly chopped
Since prepared squash purées are few and far between in France (you can get pumpkin purée imported from the US, but it’s super expensive), I just make my own. I love red kuri squash for this because its skin is so fine that there’s no need to remove it, especially if it’s organic.
To make a red kuri squash purée, I usually bake it in a shallow glass baking dish with water, as shown above, after removing the seeds. Around an hour at 400°F (200°C) should do it. You can of course do this step a day or two before making the cookies. Otherwise, lower the temperature to 350°F (180°C) to prepare the oven for the cookies.
After the squash is baked, you ideally blend it in a food processor, skin and all, along with the rest of the wet mixture ingredients (oil, sugars, vanilla extract). In my case, having moved so recently, I couldn’t find the blade for my processor and had to mash it by hand using a fork. I left out some of the skin, since it’s harder to mash this way. But I like the way the dark orange flecks of skin look in the finished cookies.
After the squash and wet mixture ingredients are blended together, transfer them to a large mixing bowl and add the dry ingredients. At this point you may find it easier to mix and knead it together with your hands, taking care not to work it too much so the dough won’t be tough.
Finally, roughly chop your chocolate – either a chocolate bar, large chips such as these hazelnut ones from the Vegó brand (available at Vegami in Paris or online), or regular small chips – and mix them into the dough.
Form evenly sized balls with the dough and flatten slightly. For me, the balls didn’t really spread while baking, so you can probably place them fairly close together. Put in your oven, preheated to 350°F (180°C), and bake for around 15 minutes. Ovens vary though, so check earlier than this to see if yours bake faster.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Enjoy them with some tea!