My friend KM brought back some ginormous acorn squash from her Fall wanderings to the hinterland (OK, maybe not hinterland - up in Minnesota or Wisconsin or one of those chilly states)...she described them as Dolly Parton boob-sized squash. She wasn't joking! These are no b-cup size squash.
So, I have never used squash this big - I'm used to little acorn squash...and I knew the teen wouldn't eat any and my hubby won't be back home for a bit - so I decided I would roast them and use my handy dandy Food Saver to package smaller packets of squash for baking and soup and other yummy things. I washed them and vented them by stabbing them with a sharp knife and roasted them at 350 for 90 minutes...whole, on a cookie sheet with a silpat on it. My house smelled like Thanksgiving. That's a really happy smell! After they cooled down I sliced the top off and cut them lengthwise, scooped the seeds and stringy stuff out, then scooped the good stuff out, mashed it and packaged in 1 and 2 cup sizes. I got about 8 cups. Popped it in the freezer - ready for future goodness.
I started Googling some recipes for pumpkin and squash and found lots of ideas - but I found one that sounded particularly perfect because I was in the mood to make some Halloween themed cookies. The Recipe is Pumpkin Sugar Cookie presented by The Washington School Inn - and I found it on a bed and breakfast online recipe sharing site. B&B food is generally pretty yummy so I hoped, substituting the squash would work...and yum, it did!
1/2 cup roasted acorn squash pulp - squeezed very dry*
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
Cream butter and sugar in stand mixer until light and fluffy.
Add squeezed-dry squash (*I let mine drain over paper towels in a colander - then replaced the paper towels and squished them until it was as dry as possible) and egg.
Add vanilla, and spices.
Mix flour, baking powder and salt together, then add gradually to mixer bowl to form a stiff dough.
Chill for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out dough with some bench flour mixed with a bit of sifted confectioner's sugar (a great trick for not making your cut sugar cookies taste floury - they taste sweet inside and out) and cut with your favorite shaped cookie cutters (or just do round if you want to make it easy on yourself).
Bake on a silpat covered cookie sheet 7-8 minutes. Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.
Baked Pumpkins (not much color change)
I decorated with a stiff cream cheese frosting so I could pipe the designs I wanted on the pumpkins and sprinkle some sprinkles on them for the eyes, nose, and mouth (sprinkle quickly - the frosting dried faster than I expected)... and I just wanted to frost the ghosts and make eyes with a couple of those "currants", I brought home from Central Market in Austin, and a little piece of chocolate that I cut out with the bottom of a metal decorating tip and pushed out with a toothpick for a woooooo mouth. You could easily make a basic powdered sugar and milk frosting (as the original recipe called for). I would also love to use a nice royal icing if I wanted the icing to harden and hold the design. Royal icing is challenging down here at the coast - royal icing and humidity are not friends :-) I found that out the hard way last Christmas!
Frankly, the teen and I tasted a cookie unfrosted after a brief cool down. They were great with NOTHING on them. They are a delicious cookie (can they count as a vegetable???) and I would recommend them highly for an addition to your Fall cookie repertoire!