This month, the secret ingredient for the National Cookie Baking Network Challenge was squash, or pumpkin, as I'm used to calling it. Here's what I came up with:
Dark Chocolate, Squash and Cranberry Cookies
· 125g unsalted butter, softened
· 200g caster sugar
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 1 egg
· 2 cups of butternut squash (pureed)
· 300g plain flour
· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 2 teaspoons baking powder
· 1 teaspoon baking soda
· Pinch of salt
· 150g dark chocolate (roughly chopped)
· 2 handfuls of dried cranberries
· 75g roughly chopped walnuts
Cream Cheese Frosting
· 250g light cream cheese
· 1 cup of icing sugar (sifted)
· 3 teaspoons of lemon juice
Roughly chop half a butternut squash (skin off) and place in covered bowl with 4 tablespoons of water and microwave on a high setting for 10 minutes or until squash is soft. Allow squash to cool, drain any excess water then mash with a fork. (Alternatively you can puree it in a food processer).
Preheat oven to 190 C. Mix butter and caster sugar together in a large bowl with an electric beater until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract, egg and butternut squash. Sift in flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and baking soda, and stir well to combine. Stir in cranberries, walnuts and dark chocolate pieces. Place spoonfuls of mixture onto lined baking trays, and bake for 15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.
To make the frosting, whisk cream cheese, lemon juice and icing sugar together in a bowl until smooth. To achieve a runnier consistency (if desired) add more lemon juice, a little bit at a time. Drizzle the frosting over the cookies once they are cool, then decorate by sprinkling on some extra dried cranberries and chopped walnuts.
The cookies are especially delicious when served warm. Yum!
Happy baking x